Private lesson times will be arranged at the beginning of each semester. Each student will receive either a thirty-minute or sixty-minute lesson each week, depending on registration for one or two credits. The goal for each student is to become a proficient, well-rounded saxophonist, while also developing his or her skills pertaining to the intuitive and creative aspects of excellent musicianship. Technical aspects of performance will be addressed through exercises (i.e. scales, arpeggios, etc.), etudes, and standard repertoire, and will focus on the development of characteristic tone, technical facility, intonation, and sight-reading. Esthetics in musical performance will be addressed through the study of lyrical etudes, appropriate repertoire, careful examination of recordings and live performance, and performance in chamber ensembles.
Due to time constraints, all saxophone majors will focus on classical study. As time and proficiency allows, study of jazz will be incorporated into weekly lessons. Jazz lessons will focus on appropriate equipment and sound production, creative improvisation, rhythmic and stylistic interpretation of jazz literature, and jazz theory. This study is CRUCIAL to becoming a well-rounded, marketable saxophonist.
It is recommended that you attempt to build some free time into your schedule prior to your lesson, allowing for adequate time to warm up and focus your energy. Please treat each lesson as if it were a performance! One lesson each week is not much time, so you must be prepared to "perform", meaning that you have practiced, made sure that your horn and reed is in the best possible condition, and that you have the music needed for that week. Until you have prepared it will be difficult for you to make any progress as a saxophonist. It would also behoove you to tape your lessons. This is an excellent way to gain insight into your playing. I will have a tape player and microphone set up, and all you need to bring is a blank cassette. YOU NEED TO BRING ALL BOOKS, MUSIC, ETC. TO EVERY LESSON!
You cannot cram for performance! You must build practice time into your schedule as if it were a regular class, and you must set clear, specific goals for each practice session. I am not of the belief that you must practice for a certain amount of time in order to make progress. However, if your goals are high in quality and quantity, you should be spending plenty of time in the practice room! Consistency is paramount! Skipping even one day of practicing will drastically reduce your progress.
In addition to weekly lessons, all saxophone students meet periodically for a studio class. Each of these meetings will be totally different, but will mainly deal with lectures on a variety of topics, student performances, and performances by myself or visiting performers. YOU MUST ALWAYS BRING YOUR HORN, NOTEBOOK, AND ANY REQUIRED TEXTS TO REP. CLASS.
I know all to well how difficult it is to live on a student's budget, but it is important to own the proper equipment and repertoire. I understand if you do not already own these items, but expect that, with time, you will be able to invest in them, as they are all invaluable "tools of the trade." It is mandatory that you own the following:
Music: Numerous solos (assigned individually)
As many jazz and classical recordings you can afford! You must listen in order to be an informed performer!
All saxophone majors are expected to become proficient on all of the instruments in the saxophone family, with the exception of the sopranino, bass, and contrabass. Consequently, you will probably need to use a school-owned instrument. You are expected to treat it as well as you would treat your own horn, and notify me if it is in need of repairs. I will periodically play-test all school saxophones.
Phil Barham, Instructor