Some people take doubling lightly. I think it’s a very important part of playing . . . but you can’t treat it merely as a “double” . . . doubles need to be played as if they were the principle instrument.
A “double” in musician’s lingo (specifically sax players) is an extra instrument that you “double” on or also play, typically flute and clarinet. Big band playing requires that you can play multiple saxophones (i.e. soprano), clarinet, and flute. Occasionally you may need to play bass clarinet or oboe, or even piccolo.
Doubles are a challenge for everyone . .. after years of playing just one instrument and achieving a professional level, all of a sudden you’re required to pick up another instrument and perform in the same professional setting . . . it can be daunting.
For me, I had to treat each “double” as if I were learning a completely new instrument. Although the fingurings are similar on the clarinet and flute as they are for the saxophone, there are huge difference (like Spanish and Portuguese). Starting with simple scales and moving to more complex, I had to spend about 2 hours daily for a 6 month period on the flute before I was somewhat satisfied with my sound.
Ray Smith, my saxophone guru, told me to practice classical flut rather than jazz, that if I learned to make a good classical sound the jazz would take care of itself. I got some James Galway cds, and Dave Valentine, and the Carribbean Jazz Project cds, and dug in, transcribing and imitating their sound as best I could. I foced myself to play at least one song on the flute at my gigs . . . that made me really practice hard to have th motivation to not sound like an idiot at the gig, I learned “Girl from Ipanema” and “Wave”, and eventually started playing in a brazilian group which called for mostly flute. Performing in salsa-merengue bands required that I played high notes on th flute, something that totally eluded me for a long time.
In Costa Rica I got a cane flute for my birthday, and I fell in love. I bought a full 2.5 octave samponia (pan flute) and hve used that for recordings and for fun.
The flute was a worthy foe, and I still struggle withcertain aspects of it, but now I bring my flute to every performance.