Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, Oboe & Bassoon
When did you begin playing woodwinds, and why?I first began playing woodwinds at 9 years old with the saxophone. It was recommended to me by my music teacher at the time after being successful in recorder class, and back then I thought the sound of the saxophone was cool through rock recordings I would hear on the radio. In general, I always enjoyed listening to music and wanted to be more involved in actually being a part of making the music itself.
What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?I would go on to pick up the clarinet in middle school, then the flute in high school, piccolo and oboe at the beginning of college, and just last summer I picked up bassoon.
What are your personal goals as a musician?I’d love to be able to freelance around the east coast and beyond as much as I can as a woodwind multi-instrumentalist, whether it be with my personal projects or with other people’s projects. I’ve grown to love private teaching students and always want to maintain a strong studio where I’m constantly helping others on woodwinds. Other potential future plans include working for a music radio station to promote other artists who I know on the scene.
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?As I started spending more time properly practicing and jamming with drummers and percussionists, not only did I begin to lock in more with the concepts that they typically do, but my internal sense of time and rhythm, without having to rely on a drummer, became so strong that I felt like I practically became a drummer/percussionist of my own!
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?It’s all about playing with feeling and what you feel. Sound/time/rhythm always come first.
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?Overtones without a DOUBT. Overtones are key to developing proper control over as wide of a range of any wind instrument as possible, and anything can happen with how you shape your throat, etc.
What is your biggest musical achievement?Just before the covid pandemic, I got to play on TV for Good Day PA Harrisburg ABC27 with Philly-based Americana folk-rock band Stella Ruze! We were clearly tired as it was first thing in the morning, but it was worth every minute.
Favorite thing about teaching?Growth. I always learn more and more about myself and my instruments the way my students learn more about themselves and their instruments, and it’s amazing how music, like any language, really pulls us together and allows us to communicate in that regard.
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?No matter your background or skill level, there’s always going to be something out there for you as a musician. Never stop exploring!
Personal music projects:My main project at the moment is my electric trio (soprano sax/flute, keys, drums), GPS, which stands for Gabe Preston Sounds/Sessions. Since the quarantine, GPS has also been capable of solo sets using live loops and whatnot.
My secondary project is the Gabe Preston Quartet (bari sax/flute, trumpet, bass, drums), which is purely acoustic in contrast to GPS.
Also currently a sideman for a number of projects in the Philly area, including the previously mentioned Stella Ruze as well as You Do You