ABOUT MIKE VACCARO SAX & CLARINET MOUTHPIECES
A few words are in order to introduce myself as the proprietor of Mike Vaccaro Sax and Clarinet Mouthpieces, so you understand the experience that I bring to the table in sending you a ready-made mouthpiece or in performing custom mouthpiece work for you.
I started clarinet in the fourth grade with a rental instrument and the mouthpiece that came with that instrument. Needless to say it, was a struggle. That was the first time I knew that “if a professional musician can’t play on an amateur instrument and mouthpiece, how can a student expect to?” It took many years, however, to be able to articulate that fact.
In eighth grade my family purchased my first professional quality clarinet, however again, the mouthpiece did not match the quality of the clarinet.
As most musicians who have played 50 years or so, many of those years were spent finding a mouthpiece to fit our needs. Needless to say I had and have several shoeboxes full of mouthpieces.
It was also in eighth grade that my parents purchased a tenor sax for me, as I was always interested in learning more about as many instruments in the woodwind family as I could. Then again the same story: boxes of mouthpieces over the years.
In tenth or eleventh grade I picked up the flute (which might as well been a trumpet it played so differently) and when I was about 25 after many botched attempts, I started a serious study of the oboe and added it to my repertoire of instruments. The oboe, at least, had something to blow against and blow I did, Puff Puff.
In my early 50’s, after performing professionally on many woodwind instruments, I decided that if I could make an oboe reed, I could make a mouthpiece. After a few attempts at making a mouthpiece turned out well, (I still use a couple of those mouthpieces today) I decided that making mouthpieces might be a fun music-related sideline to pursue.
This is a good time to thank all of my teachers, both private and public, for their expertise, dedication and for their professional contacts which allowed me to make my living as a professional musician.
Though I have always considered myself classically trained, because of my flexibility on many instruments, after my third year in college, I set out on the road with various bands and orchestras. These included the Stan Kenton Band, the Woody Herman Band, the Paul Horn Concert Ensemble, and the American Folk Ballet.
After several years on the road, I landed in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1970. I spent four years there. Jobs included woodwind doubling in the house band at the Tropicana Hotel, the house band at the Sands Hotel, and playing 2nd clarinet with the Las Vegas Symphony and 1st clarinet with the Las Vegas Chamber Players (a modern classical music group). There could not have been a better training ground for performing with celebrities, doing production shows, playing in jazz bands late into the morning, and performing with the local classical groups.
After three years on the road and four years in Las Vegas, it was time to come back home to the Los Angeles area and reestablish myself. After a year of getting old contacts back and meeting new contacts my career in the Los Angeles area established itself.
Since I have been back in Los Angles I have performed every type of freelance classical, jazz, rock/pop music, and studio job imaginable.
I will not recite the whole resumé, however in the past 10 years, I have performed at every theater in Los Angeles and Orange County, have performed on over 30 major motion pictures (including 15 motion pictures on 1st clarinet), have played 1st clarinet with the Long Beach Opera for 10 years, performed on the utility woodwind chair in the Pageant of the Masters Orchestra, and have worked freelance in symphony and pops orchestras throughout the area. In addition, I have been the Music Contractor at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts since its opening 15 years ago.
You can purchase my most recent CD entitled A Due’ on Amazon.Com or CD Baby.Com. Other CD’s are available for your review at http://www.mikevaccaro.com/cd.html
I continue to perform on a regular basis and many of my colleagues use the mouthpieces I make.
I believe these many experiences have given me an insight into what you may be looking for in a mouthpiece. Contact me and let’s talk about it!
Mike Vaccaro - 2011