Advice for Solo Programming

Added on by Greg Anderson.
Hello Greg,
I am a Senior Music Education student and was wondering if you had any ideas for a senior recital program design. I play the Alto Saxophone but I thought that maybe you'll have some different aspects to bring to it.

Dear Jordan,

Gosh, I can't say I've given much thought to Alto Saxophone programs. The first programming idea that comes to mind is a group of pieces based on song, capitalizing on the lyrical nature of your instrument. You could create your own transcriptions (it's really easy - just play the vocal line). ...perhaps a Schubert song or two, Faure (Apres un reve), Rachmaninoff, even Bach. Then you could include a couple more recent songs - a jazz standard, and a sophisticated pop ballade. A friend of mine played transcriptions of Sigur Ros and Radiohead on his senior recital. Is it sacrilegious to transcribe classical songs for sax? I don't really think so. I think such a program it would highlight just how much today's pop music has in common with 18th and 19th century music.

I wouldn't recommend filling the whole program with song transcriptions - too much of a good thing! You could balance them with some virtuoso showpieces, or a meaty contemporary piece.

You should also toy with finding ways to add your friends to the recital. It's really difficult to program a solo recital that will hold an audience's attention from beginning to end. Continually changing the performing forces is an easy way to prevent monotony. It will also help bring in more audience members! A good rule of thumb is to increasingly add more people to the stage and end with the most, although sometimes the reverse can be surprisingly effective.

I wish you and your audience a wonderfully enjoyable program and performance!