MusicProfessor Spotlight: Noelle Fabian, Saxophone Extraordinaire

MusicProfessor Spotlight: Noelle Fabian, Saxophone Extraordinaire

We’re featuring one of our saxophone instructors, Noelle Fabian, a highly distinguished and sought-after performer from north Texas. She’s played in the Disneyland All-American College Band, performed with multiple north Texas orchestras, and currently holds the chair of Principal Saxophone in the newly formed Dallas Civic Wind Ensemble. 

1. How long have you been playing the saxophone, and why did you choose to become a saxophone player?

I started playing the summer before 6th grade. My parents are both professional musicians and saxophone was the coolest instrument we had in the house.

2. What has been your favorite experience as a saxophone player so far?

Playing in the 2009 Disneyland All-American College Band. We spent the summer performing choreographed shows in Disneyland Resort with incredible musicians and clinicians every week.

3. What brand of reeds do you like to use?

I am a huge advocate of the Legere Signature series ( I actually recorded MP’s etudes with one last year). There have been huge advances in the world of synthetic reeds where you can’t even tell the difference between a wood and synthetic.  One Legere reed can last at least 6 months if you take care of them. I do use wood reeds on occasion and am a fan of the  Rico Reserve Classic reeds and the Vandoren V12s. 

4. What practice methods do you find most effective for beginning sax players?

For beginners, the best technique one can employ is chunking (taking small sections of music) and repeating them over and over. If a student is learning Twinkle Twinkle Little Star but was having trouble getting the first measure under their fingers, I would have them repeat that first measure (or even the first interval) until they could get it 5 times in a row correctly. This technique is also fun to do with pennies as bench markers (ie. moving a penny from one end of the stand to the other with every correct pass).  

5. What is one of the most challenging issues that you’ve faced as a musician and how did you, or how are you working to, overcome it?

I would have to say sight-reading. In high school, I never really saw it’s importance (because in Texas, we would often spend 3 months working on the same music) so I never practiced it. As a working professional though, almost everything I do is based on sight-reading. It is very common to go to a gig never having seen the music. Now, it is something I practice often.

6. Do you have any favorite performances you’d like to share with us?

This is a recent solo performance with the Dallas Civic Wind Ensemble. The piece is called “Catch Me If You Can”.