I’ve had a pretty busy few weeks pottering about as multi-instrumentalist… Most notably spent sitting in the pit for a production of The Addams Family. Ideal for Halloween, I think you’ll agree!
My part (Reed 1) was for piccolo, flute, clarinet and alto saxophone. I also had the pleasure of sitting with a friend of mine (also called Emily, who also plays woodwind instruments… it’s all very confusing) who was playing Reed 2. Her part was flute, clarinet, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone and bass clarinet. So 9 instruments between 2 Emilys.
There’s really nothing like the joy of being surrounded by so many instruments. You have to be switched on when you only have a few bars rest to change from one to the next. It really challenges the brain, lips and fingers… And you get a huge sense of satisfaction from being able to play so many different styles of music in such a short space of time.
I highly recommend picking up a second instrument if you are already fairly confident on another. Especially because most musical theatre pits aren’t big enough for one player per instrument. Every musical director is delighted when they meet a multi-instrumentalist, so if you want the gigs, prepare to be flexible!
However, do be careful to watch your embouchure if you’re planning to pick up multiple woodwind instruments. You don’t want to pick up a saxophone for the first time, only to find you can no longer play your oboe a few weeks later! The trick to it is to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.
And most importantly, enjoy 🙂