Gary Mulholland is a professional musician and educator from the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. He started playing saxophone at age 10 in a school instrumental music programme and 30-odd years later, music has taken him all around the world and provided many awesome opportunities. 2013 marks Gary’s 21st year in music education. He has been teaching saxophone and clarinet at All Saints Anglican School on the Gold Coast for the past 4 years. Gary was appointed Head of Bands in 2011, responsible for overseeing brass, woodwind and percussion at the school. He has also worked in several other well-regarded Queensland schools where music education has been a major part of the schools’ curriculum and school life.


Gary admits saxophone is his first-love and primary instrument. However, he also plays virtual instruments nearly as much these days with the AKAI EWI4000S and the Yamaha WX5 wind controllers. He uses an Apple MacBook Pro for all his audio and synthesis requirements, with MainStage being his performance platform.

Gary is married to “one outstanding lady”, Kim for 21 years and has one daughter, Tiahna, who is 16 years old.

Who are your influences?
You can’t be a sax player and not been influenced at some stage of your career by the sax icons Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Michael Brecker and David Sanborn. However, my primary influences over the past 15 years have been Eric Marienthal, Gerald Albright, Dave Koz and Steve Tavaglione….these guys are simply brilliant.

Having mentioned the cats above, I really need to mention a bunch of other players to whom I listen all the time: Jeff Kashiwa, Michael Lington, Boney James, Mindi Abair, Jeff Coffin, Jan Garbarek, Eric Darius, Brandon Fields, Ernie Watts, Euge Groove, Kirk Whalum, Maceo Parker, Candy Dulfer, Mark Douthit, Masato Honda, Richard Elliot, Tom Politzer (Tower of Power) and Steve Cole.

What projects are you working on?
I’m mainly a freelance live and studio musician. There are about 7 local bands/acts I regularly work with but unfortunately, the global economic downturn has greatly reduced the number of gigs I do each year. I used to play at least 2-3 nights a week but I’m lucky to be booked 2-3 times a month at the moment….everybody seems to be using DJs and duos. For the past 6 months I’ve been playing lead tenor in the Gold Coast Big Band Funk Factory which is comprised of mostly local instrumental music teachers and a few past students. This band has been fun but Big Band pay doesn’t cover many bills!

Some other local acts I regularly work with:

What are your challenges?
The main challenge I face is probably pretty much the same as every other musician: having enough time to do everything I want to do! There’s always another song to learn, another piece to transcribe, something else to configure or re-configure in MainStage (my live performance rig) or another gig to prepare for.

However, I have to admit that as I’ve gotten older, a challenge for me has been the attitudes of young musicians who want the kudos and the perks that come with this but they aren’t prepared to put in the hard yards and legwork. Something that drives me nuts is students who are too lazy to do SLOW practice and/or won’t use a metronome; there’s no shortcut to becoming technically proficient on one’s instrument. There is more technology (and cheaper technology) available today than ever before but I can’t believe how difficult it is to get students using these tools regularly, if at all. When I was in school there were no home computers, internet, email, DVD players, portable devices etc and in order to succeed, not only did you have to work long and hard but you also had to be creative and devise interesting ways to practise and overcome problems.

How does Anytune help?
If I’d had Anytune in my school years, I have absolutely no doubt that I’d have improved quicker and learned pieces far more effectively.

I can’t recommend Anytune highly enough, for beginners right through to seasoned professionals.

I use Anytune Pro every day, either for myself (practising and transcribing) or with my students (working through solo pieces, jazz improvisation, ensemble pieces, critical listening skills etc). Anytune is incredibly full-featured but what I particularly like about Anytune above other slow-downers are: multiple (named) markers, very flexible graphic EQ and the song’s waveform being visible – this makes it so much easier to find particular sections of the song.

My first “phrase trainer” was a piece of hardware called the AKAI U4 and I used it until it literally wore out! It only had 8 seconds of memory that was dumped every time the unit was turned off and the sound really wasn’t that great. It required headphones and was pretty big – certainly big enough that it couldn’t fit in your pocket! With Anytune, I can take it anywhere with me (on my iPhone) and I can also use it on my iPad to take advantage of the extra screen real estate. When the Mac version is released, I’ll be amongst the first to purchase it!