Setup/Gear/Manufacturer of Instruments:

I play on a Yamaha tenor sax with Vandoren Java 2.5, a Selmer clarinet with Rico Reserve 3 reeds, and a Selmer bass clarinet with Rico Reserve 3 reeds for classical and Vandoren Java 2.5 tenor reeds for jazz.


Clarinet (7 years), Bass Clarinet (6 years)[/twocol_one] [twocol_one_last]

Saxophonist Megan O’Donnell

Located in Fairport, NY, USA

  • Tenor Saxophone
  • 1.5 years of playing

Teen Jazz Artist Badge

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Why did you begin studying music?

All my life, my house has been filled with the music of John Coltrane, Benny Goodman, Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, and other major jazz artists. When I was about 9 years old, I went to the Rochester International Jazz Festival because my parents wanted to see a concert by some jazz dude. That night, Sonny Rollins was performing in Kodak Hall at the Eastman School of Music (the major hall for the festival) and I watched how much fun he seemed to be having and loved the way he sounded on that “brassy thing with the keys” and have been saying ever since that I wanted to play like him one day. I was determined from then on that I was going to become a famous musician. I started Clarinet in 5th grade, and bass clarinet in 6th grade. My music teachers wouldn’t let me have a saxophone no matter how much I begged, then freshman year, one of the tenor saxophonists in our jazz band had to drop, and my teacher let me borrow a tenor to try expecting me to fail at it, and now it’s my favorite instrument to play. And that’s basically how I got started with jazz.

What are you doing with music now?

At the moment, I am pursuing an advanced diploma in jazz tenor sax at the Eastman School of Music. I am in a latin jazz ensemble run by percussionist Freddy Colon and a combo run by the pianist for the Mambo Kings, Richard Delaney. Also, I am in my school’s top jazz band on tenor sax and the top classical band on bass clarinet. I am also taking courses in transcription and jazz theory at Eastman as well as being part of the clarinet choir.

Who are some of your influences?

My influences are primarily Joshua Redman, the Mambo Kings, Dave Brubeck, Sonny Rollins, John Lennon, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Eric Dolphy. Also my band director who is an outstanding jazz musician, Bill Tiberio.

Who have you studied with?

I have studied with Nancy Boone (bass clarinet), Amy Oldfield (bass clarinet and clarinet)and Mark Kreshevick (tenor and alto sax).
I currently study with Dean Keller (jazz bass clarinet and jazz tenor sax), Doug Stone (jazz tenor sax), and Alan Woy (clarinet and bass clarinet).

What would you like to do with music in the future?

In the future, I hope to double major in music performance on clarinet and jazz studies on tenor saxophone. Post-college, I would like a job with the New York Pops and to have a band that can play at some of the Jazz at Lincoln Center venues. Basically, I want to be a performer.

Anything else you would like to add?

I can’t imagine living without music. Music is my life, it’s the reason I want to get out of bed and go to school. Most kids leave a lesson without thinking of the assignment they were given. Me, I go home thinking “ok, so how can I expand on the concepts I just learned?”. I am that nerd that will do anything to get the chance to just play music. I don’t care what others think of me because of it. I am band geek and am not afraid to show it.


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Published by Shannon Kennedy

Shannon Kennedy is a vocalist and saxophonist living in Southern California. She is author of "The Album Checklist" and the founder of Teen Jazz. She has been contributing articles to music magaizines and websites since 2004.

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