SAXOPHONES, FLUTE, CLARINET, BAGPIPES, STEEL DRUM
In an age where the highly-trained musician is more and more challenged in their attempts to find work, saxophonist Dave Becker has…well…found work. He is a walking embodiment of the diverse, comprehensive musician that the students of today must strive to become tomorrow. He can do it and he can teach it.
Following his graduation from the University of Florida with a Master of Music degree in Music Education in 2014, Dave Becker returned to the Central Coast of California and is now on faculty at Allan Hancock College, where he teaches all theory classes, recording arts, electronic music, and music appreciation. He also teaches applied music at Cuesta College and California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly). He is pursuing an additional Masters degree from the University of Florida (online) in Digital Art and Science.
In addition to his teaching and live ensemble work in an array of settings from big bands to orchestras to cruise ships to theme parks to concert halls, Becker is also a force “on both sides of the glass.” A skilled studio musician – his many credits include the full package of doubles and then some (woodwinds plus steel drum and bagpipes!) – he is also an experienced producer and recording engineer. Add to that the ability to deliver high-quality, on-demand arrangements and compositions in any number of styles and the image that emerges is one of an artist and craftsman that is eminently hirable. And that is what he is able to impart to his students, both through his example and through his skilled delivery as an educator.
Dave Becker earned his undergraduate degree in Music Education at the University of Florida before embarking on the professional career that would continue to develop the diversity of his skill set. Following stints as a bandleader, musician, and arranger for Princess Cruise Lines, Cunard Cruise Lines, Universal Studios and Disney, he settled on the West Coast teaching applied woodwinds and recording arts at Cuesta College then later joining the faculty of California Polytechnic State University as well. Becker became an in-demand studio player and bandleader along California’s central coast, writing arrangements for the San Luis Obispo Symphony’s Pops concerts, arranging, directing and performing in a production of West Side Story with the San Luis Obispo Civic Ballet, and performing and recording Broadway shows for the PCPA Repertory Theatre Company in Santa Maria, CA.
Becker’s drive to stay at the forefront of the technologies that continue to revolutionize every facet of the music industry led him to return to the University of Florida for graduate studies. In addition to playing lead alto in the University of Florida Jazz Ensemble, writing arrangements for the UF Marching Band, and teaching Jazz Arranging and Applied Jazz Saxophone as part of his studies under department chair Scott Wilson, Becker was deeply involved in the university’s three-year-long endeavor to create a musical database as part of the State of Florida Educators for Arts Assessment K-12. He wrote, arranged and recorded more than 300 pieces of music illustrating various styles of jazz, pop, rock, ethnic, and world music for the project through the University’s Digital Worlds Institute. This work displays the ultimate integration of the many skills Becker has developed and serves as the perfect example of career diversification for the students that he seeks to inspire.
In addition to his past and current college teaching experience at Allan Hancock College, Cuesta College and Cal Poly, Dave Becker has also been a clinician at the Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band Camp and other camps and schools throughout Florida and along the West Coast. He has performed with artists including Wayne Bergeron, Eric Marienthal, Sal Lazano, Pete Christlieb, Gordon Goodwin, Bobby Shew, Andy Martin, Bernie Dresel, Bob McChesney, Dianne Shuur, Ernie Watts, Sam Rivers, John Allred, Ron Miles, Matt Cattingub, Jack Jones, Jeff Miley, James Miley, George Stone, Bob Sheppard, Wynton Marsalis, Marcus Printup, Joe Barati, Manhattan Transfer, The Temptations, and Marvin Hamlish.