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David B. "Rusty" Higgins

Saxophone Studies
Director of Jazz Workshop
Phone: (562) 547-7717
David "Rusty" Higgins is an Akron, Ohio native who attended Kent State University for four years as a bassoon major. He then traveled with different bands for five years before moving to Los Angeles, where he has served as a woodwind doubler (saxophone, clarinet, flute) for 34 years. His primary experience includes extensive recording studio, theater, and jazz concert work. In addition to teaching at APU, he has taught master classes, clinics, and jazz workshops at high schools in California and Ohio, as well as Kent State University and the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

Higgins was previously a featured sax soloist with Les Brown’s Band of Renown. He joined Captain & Tennille in 1979 and served as Toni Tennille’s symphony orchestra conductor beginning in 1984, conducting more than 70 orchestras. He played for both of Ronald Regan’s presidential inaugural balls. Additional performance experience includes playing in the bands of Gordon Goodwin (Big Phat Band), Louis Bellson, Clark Terry (Montreux Jazz Festival), Ray Anthony, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Bill Holman, Bob Florence, Tom Kubis, Wayne Bergeron, Ralph Carmichael, Nelson Riddle, Jack Sheldon, Ray Charles (Hollywood Bowl), Buddy Miles, L.A. Rams Band, and others. Higgins has also recorded and/or performed with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Mel Torme, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Rosemary Clooney, Sting, Kenny G., Arturo Sandoval, Michael Buble, Michael Feinstein, the Temptations, Diana Ross, Manhattan Transfer, Stevie Wonder, Johnny Cash, Avenged Sevenfold, and more.


  • College of Music and the Arts
  • School of Music


  • Contemporary orchestration
  • Jazz band and improvisation
  • Saxophone
  • Woodwind instruction and doubling

Courses Taught

MUS 332 – Woodwind Instrument Techniques
MUS 383 – Jazz and Commercial Ensemble
MUS 183 – Jazz and Commercial Ensemble

Office Hours

By appointment

Office Location

School of Music
Warren Music Center, East Campus