Monday, June 15, 2009

A Career In The Music Industry

A Career in the Music Industry
6-15-09
Mike Zucek-Regional Sales Manager
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Like many of you, I once dreamed of playing my instrument for a living, but reality set-in after I left college and realized the tremendously competitive nature of such a proposition. Fortunately, in addition to my love of music, I also had a keen interest in what we made music with; in other words, the instruments and related equipment of our art.

So one day I walked into a small band instrument repair shop and talked the two proprietors into hiring me as an apprentice repair tech. At that moment, my life’s direction changed, although I hadn’t yet realized it. I abandoned the thought of becoming a professional horn player, as well as a band director (my “backup” career choice) and embarked on a successful life-long career in the music products industry.

The experience I gained learning to repair musical instruments at that little shop led to a position with a larger company. When an opportunity opened up in the sales dept, I took it. When I had an offer from a downstate music store that would double my meager salary, I took that. The experience I gained there led to an offer from a major west coast company, Rico, which just happened to be the world’s largest maker of woodwind reeds, among other things, so I took that. After 21 great years there (and an MBA with Rico’s help) my wife and I moved back home to the Mid-west and I worked as a District Manager for Yamaha for nine years. This, in turn, led to my current position at D’Addario, when they decided to purchase…. Rico!!

So what’s the point of all this? Simply that one can have a great career in Music without playing for a living. Did I play at all? You bet! For most of my career I played in a great variety of local orchestras, opera companies, church groups and bands. Along the way “rubbing shoulders” with some pretty well known artists and continuing to enjoy the thrill of making music. And if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Looking for the perfect reed…

With the new Reserve baritone, Rico is completing this month the launch of the whole Reserve line particularly dedicated to classical saxophonists (of course, it doesn’t mean that other players cannot use it. Just try it!).
After my experience of 10 years working for Henri Selmer Paris and now 3 years as Market Development manager for Rico / D’Addario, I had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with many key classical saxophonists.
But what means being a classical saxophonist? Do they have specific “needs” in terms of reed set-up?

All is about looking for the perfect reed… for the «magical» reed with the perfect sound «ready to play”!
· A warm and full sound with a lot of resonance,
· A good articulation on the whole range of dynamics and for all styles and techniques,
· Longevity as being sure that the selected reed will go thru the all concert is an imperative.

But let’s never forget that weather conditions and human factor could change so many things!
Therefore, despite the high quality of reeds, musicians have no choice but learning about how to select the real good reeds that will give them comfort in each different situations.

Some musicians may advice to constantly listen to your “voice”… The sound that is in your ears and one good reed will indeed help you to find your sound. It is a very challenging balance to find but feeling comfortable remains the most important. The reed is therefore a kind of “second nature” for classical saxophonists.
The Rico « Reserve » saxophone reed line really helps the musician to find a great sound quality.
Great cane selection, specific design for classical repertoires, strength consistency especially if you protect your reed with ReedVitalizer tools.
Then, be confident in your reed to build Your sound!
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