Artist In The Making: Saxophonist Hunter Diamond

Jazz major Hunter Diamond likes a challenge, which might be why he is spending a significant amount of practice time learning two new instruments.

Hunter Diamond plays tenor saxophone

Photo: Annie Corrigan/WFIU

Hunter Diamond plays tenor saxophone under the watchful eye of his John Coltrane poster. The image shows Coltrane examining a flute with his saxophone resting on his lap.

Practice Makes Perfect

It’s been a challenge for Hunter Diamond to learn to play the flute. The embouchure it requires is so foreign to that of his primary instrument, the saxophone, that he says it was tough to get any sound at all when he first started.

After three semesters of studying both flute and clarinet with graduate student instructors at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, this senior jazz major can now masterfully whip through etudes on both instruments.

His goal is to get to the point where he improvises on flute and clarinet as effortlessly as he does on saxophone, but for now, he’s still learning basic technique.

A Musician Of Many Instruments

As Diamond approached the end of his time at Indiana University, he realized that many more doors would open for him for post-college employment if he played multiple instruments. “Unless you’re really at the top of your field as a jazz saxophonist,” he says, “you have to take some gigs that aren’t always in the top jazz club, playing your own music, with your favorite musicians.”

He’s hoping his skills on multiple instruments will eventually land him commercial gigs or even a position playing in a pit for musical theater performances.

His first opportunity to land a job is coming next month when he auditions to be a musician on a cruise ship. “I’ve kind of idealized it as a Masters in Performance in Woodwinds in a non-conventional kind of way,” he says. “I’ll be playing every day, and I’ll be constantly required to step-up my game on these instruments I’m less familiar with.”

Breaking Free Of Academia

After four years of studying jazz, he’s excited to continue his education in a “non-conventional” way by trying his luck on the performance scene.

Admittedly, he’s nervous.

“Jazz musicians don’t find regular work that easily anymore, and more and more highly trained and amazing jazz musicians are coming out at a younger and younger age it seems,” he says.

Nevertheless, he has a plan for differentiating himself from other young musicians. “The most important thing now is to find something unique about my playing that I can market in a positive way.”

More: See photos of Diamond performing with his Black Diamond Quartet at a recent gig at the Pour House Café (Bloomington, Indiana).

Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media Arts & Music:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search Arts and Music

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media Arts & Music:

Recent Jazz Stories

Jazz & Blues Events RSS icon

More Events »Submit Your Event »

Arts & Music is on Twitter

Find Us on Facebook

This Week on Night Lights

At The Jazz Corner Of The World: Live From Birdland

The entrance to the Birdland nightclub in New York City.

Birdland was known as “the jazz corner of the world,” and from 1949 to 1965 it played host to some of the greatest names on the modern jazz scene.

Read more »

Night Lights is WFIU's weekly program of classic jazz hosted by David Brent Johnson.

More from Night Lights »

This Week on Afterglow

Where The Rainbow Hits The Ground: Hoagy Carmichael In Hollywood

Still photo of Hoagy Carmichael and Lauren Bacall in the 1944 film TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT.

Hoagy Carmichael was already a successful songwriter when he moved to Hollywood in 1936, but it was the movies that made him a familiar face to millions.

Read more »

Afterglow is WFIU's weekly program of jazz and American popular song hosted by David Brent Johnson.

More from Afterglow »

This Week on Earth Eats

Vermont Senate Passes GMO Labeling Law


Vermont's bill differs from bills passed in Connecticut and Maine as it doesn't contain a clause that requires other states to pass similar measures.

Read more »

Earth Eats is a podcast, radio program and blog of the freshest news and recipes inspired by local food and sustainable agriculture.

More from Earth Eats »

This Week on Focus on Flowers

Spring Beauty

spring beauty

This wildflower self-seeds and spreads well.

Read more »

Focus on Flowers is a weekly program about flower gardening hosted by master gardener Moya Andews.

More from Focus on Flowers »