Lindsey O'Connor is the Saxophone & Paraprofessional for Clark County School District, the largest fine arts department in the country with over 47,000 students enrolled in secondary music programs. CCSD is the fifth-largest school district in the nation, encompassing 356 schools. She is also an adjunct Instructor of Music at College of Southern Nevada, and an Instructor of Woodwinds & Piano at Family Music Centers Academy, Nevada's largest private music teaching institute.
Tell us a little bit about what you do.
Lindsey O'Connor: As the Saxophone & Clarinet Paraprofessional for CCS, I travel throughout the district to our 100+ middle/high school music programs to present masterclasses (15 hours/weekly) on a variety of topics. I set my own schedule, work in tandem with directors to address issues particular to their students - every day is different and fun! At College of Southern Nevada I teach three sections of Music Appreciation and the History of Rock on two separate campuses. Lastly, through Family Music Centers Academy, I maintain a studio of more than seventy private students.
Do you have any advice regarding equipment?
LO: The most important advice I can offer any student: find what works for YOU! You cannot buy a setup and expect to sound like a carbon copy of another artist, nor should you want to. Be your own artist! What works for me does not work for all of my students, or colleagues...and that's okay! Preferences of chambers, facings, and tip openings are truly an individual's choice and simply a vehicle for self-expression. Any music educator who is struggling to achieve a uniform section sound, no matter the ensemble's playing level, should strive for consistency in equipment. The great thing about Vandoren's products are that there are so many custom choices for every player, but collectively they always sound incredible together!
What products do you recommend to your students?
LO: For beginning students I LOVE JUNO reeds! I have seen and heard so many success stories, and as a result, happy students, teachers, and parents. Not only do they facilitate a much easier response, particularly when articulating, and a consistently full sound, but they are comparable in price to other student marketed reeds and are far superior in quality. As for more advancing players, on clarinet I recommend the Vandoren 13 series mouthpieces, Vandoren leather ligatures, and Vandoren V21 or Traditional reeds. My classical saxophone students have had great success with the Vandoren Optimum mouthpieces, Vandoren M|O ligatures, and Vandoren V21 and Traditional reeds. For jazz students, I highly recommend Vandoren V16 mouthpieces, Vandoren Optimum ligatures, and Vandoren ZZ reeds.