Interested students may contact me by e-mail.
For a long period of time my teaching was simply the result of casual lessons given to those who asked. However in recent years I’ve increasingly been invited to be guest lecturer by a growing number of universities and music seminars in the US and Europe, affording the opportunity to more seriously consider the art of teaching and translate my years of performing experience into an interactive presentation of musical concepts.
Being based in New York City since 1983 I've developed a private teaching practice working with regularly returning students as well as visiting students who typically take a one-time, comprehensive lesson. In addition, I also give private lessons through various local institutions such as The New School, Mannes College and City University. These programs allow students to choose an instructor based in NYC that is not otherwise on the faculty of that school.
In the case of improvisation lessons, musicians on any instrument are welcome. For saxophone students special emphasis is given to sound production and issues specific to the instrument. All levels of musicianship are welcome. Lessons are tailored to the needs of individual students however certain themes often arise, such as...
Playing What You Hear - Acquired knowledge (such as scales and patterns) is essential to developing a language as an improvising musician, however it is one's ear that guides the music. Rhythm and phrasing are explored as they relate to melody and harmony, the goal being to create spontaneous melodic lines and development of the ability to interact with other musicians in real time with clarity and intention.
Discovering how change playing (improvising over chord changes) and freer playing (improvising with no predetermined harmonic form or structure) have much more in common than you may think. I offer specific methods for improvising on tunes and harmonic structures as well as strategies for organizing your musical ideas in freer situations. This is beneficial no matter what style of music you play. I find that these methods open up one's ideas and inventiveness when playing tunes and provide much greater focus, depth and coherency to freer improvising.
Observation and investigation, how to create a line of inquiry in one’s practice. Presently there are countless books and resources available to musicians of all levels. But might this be too much of a good thing? In order to truly learn these materials they need to be internalized in an experiential way, not simply from the page. Essentially we discover things which have been discovered by others before us. But by doing the work ourselves (using primarily the ear) we personalize the material, making it our own. Only then can we develop an individual creative path that is meaningful to who we are. Towards this end we discuss and develop the skill of asking the right questions.
Directors of college and university programs are invited to contact me regarding master-classes and workshops in order to work with your band, student group or faculty ensemble. It may also be possible for me to bring my own working ensemble to provide deeper insight into the process of leading a band and developing one’s own music. During these workshops I offer specific strategies for individual and group improvising. Students are encouraged to play as much as possible.
References are available. Please feel free to contact me directly for more information via e-mail. A partial list of institutions where I have taught include: SIM (School for Improvisational Music) Summer Intensive at New York University, University of Michigan, Bard College, Youngstown State University, University of Northern Iowa, James Madison University, University of Tennessee Knoxville, University of Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, University of California Berkeley, Towson University, The New School, Jazz & Improvised Music Salzburg (Austria), Ecole de Musique Bordeaux (France), Jazz program at Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz (Austria), Artesis Hogeschool Antwerpen - Koninklijk Conservatorium (Belgium), Hochschule f Musik "K.M.v. Weber" Dresden (Germany), MusikHochschule Luzern (Switzerland), Hobart Conservatorium (Tasmania), Sydney Conservatorium (Australia), Monash University (Melbourne, Australia), the Sibelius Academy (Finland) and the Zürich University of the Arts (Switzerland).