Teaching people of all ages the joy of learning an instrument and seeing them develop their own means of expression on that instrument is something that gives me great joy and fulfillment. Watching these people grow inspires me as well to go beyond my own limitations and keep practicing!
In teaching the fundamentals of technique are important and need to be stressed, but each individual’s musical tastes and aspirations need to be considered and woven into the fabric of the teaching style as well. I’ve seen more talented kids quit an instrument simply because the teacher didn’t know (or simply didn’t care) how to make the process a joyful one. For example, I have one student who appears to have absolutely NO interest in playing the saxophone, BUT he loves James Bond movies and their music. So what do we do during the entire lesson? That’s right: play James Bond songs for an hour! Although that may be an extreme, the point I’m making is that it’s okay to let the student have some input into what he or she would like to do with their instrument. Therefore, I’m a strong supporter of “Two-Way” teaching where we interact and together figure out the best way(s) to become better players and get the most out of the musical adventure.
I feel this is a key word in the development of a musical artist. I personally use and recommend the Jamey Aebersold series of instruction books and play-along CD’s. In essence, this series simulates playing with a live jazz trio (piano, bass and drums) so that you can develop your own musical interpretation of jazz standards as well as the necessary improvisational skills in a methodical way. Even learning scales can be enjoyable when you play along with others, even if it is on CD’s. Feel free to e-mail me with any questions you may have regarding my teaching methods for woodwind players. For recommended books and CD’s, check out www.jazzbooks.com. And remember, you don’t need to be a Jazz player to be an improviser. J.S. Bach constantly improvised on the keyboard. Also be aware that a North Indian classical performance consists of about 90 percent improvisation! My final word to all aspiring musicians: “Find a good teacher who will inspire you to develop you own voice and nurture your creative spirit and then never stop studying, and never stop seeking!”
THE SOURCE OF MUSIC - Sri Chinmoy
CHASIN’ THE TRANE - J.C. Thomas
VOL.1: LEARN TO PLAY JAZZ AND IMPROVISE – Jamey Aebersold
MY MUSIC, MY LIFE – Ravi Shankar
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A YOGI – Paramahansa Yogananda