For NSU student Daniel Scott, instrumental versatility is second nature

When it comes to musical instruments, saying Daniel Scott is versatile is quite an understatement.

Scott, a junior music education major at Northwestern State University, will be featured on four different instruments when the NSU Jazz Orchestra performs on Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Seating is limited and is for NSU students only. Masks are required in keeping with School of Creative and Performing Arts guidelines. The concert will be livestreamed for the general public at Scott will play clarinet, cornet, saxophone and flute during the concert.

Scott, who is from Benton, began playing the saxophone and over the years became proficient on other instruments.

“I picked up flute in high school because I wanted to be more hireable and versatile as a jazz musician in the future,” said Scott. “We play a lot of Latin charts here in the NSU Jazz Orchestra so I really dig flute. Of course, us being Louisiana, brass band and second line music is popular so clarinet just fell in my wheelhouse too. Later, I also want to play in the pit theatre orchestra for musicals and shows.”

At NSU, Scott performs with the Monday Night Jazz Combo Band, The NSU Jazz Orchestra, and the Spirit of Northwestern Marching Band. Outside of the university, he performs regularly in Natchitoches and Shreveport-Bossier City.

Scott’s primary instrument is the tenor saxophone, but he plays all the other saxophones, soprano, alto and baritone. He says the flute is his favorite non-primary instrument.

“The flute’s fingering system is very similar to saxophone and the sound is super unique,” said Scott. “I feel like it can fit in a lot of musical settings outside of just classical music as in hip hop, R&B, jazz, Latin etc. I feel like the breathiness of the tone is more intimate than that of a saxophone and it really works well for me in smaller ensemble settings.”

Scott says the clarinet is a different matter.

“Clarinet is a beast because the fingering system and corresponding notes are different to that of a saxophone,” he said. “As a sax player, I have to do a bit of mental gymnastics when remembering what notes I’m playing on the clarinet.”

Scott agrees his versatility makes him a better musician.

“Because I’m playing so many different instruments, I have to kind of be a chameleon when I’m playing certain genres,” said Scott. “That means when I’m playing flute, I’m a flute player and the same for clarinet and sax. I think as a musician if you can fit into multiple styles and genres of music, there is definitely more work and you get a lot of enjoyment out of it because it’s not always the same thing. You never know what to expect.”

Coming to NSU was an easy choice for Scott because of the influence of his teachers at Benton High School and contact with Northwestern music faculty.

“All of the music faculty at Benton were alumni of NSU so they spoke highly of the music program,” said Scott. “(Assistant Director of Bands) Dan McDonald would come and talk to us every year about the opportunity of joining the marching band and of course I had friends in the music program here. The Causey Big Band, a big band that performed in Shreveport had many faculty playing in the jazz band so I got really familiar with all of them and soon enough I made my choice for NSU.”

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