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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    New Bern, NC

    Default Finding a Teacher


    I had been taking some lessons from a friend who returned to New York. In my town in NC there is one music store and they have three folks listed as sax teachers. The guys at the store didn't favor one person over another. One of the teachers was a band instructor, and has done so for a number of years, but he is a trombone player.

    I am not sure of the qualifications of the other two. What questions should I ask them when I call, aside from the obvious about length of lesson and cost? Any advice would be helpful as I've never interviewed a music teacher before. I am 63 and have been playing for about 7 weeks (tenor sax).


  2. #2
    Forum Contributor 2014
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Louisiana, USA

    Default Re: Finding a Teacher

    You might want to ask if any of them has experience teaching adults. Most do not. I have found (I am 55 and I have been taking tenor sax lessons for two years) that it is up to the adult student to create a rapport with the teacher in order to get the most out the lesson. You might also consider taking one lesson with each of them if you are not able to make up your mind with the phone conversation.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Finding a Teacher

    Well I would choose the band teacher because to obtain a music major you need to be able to play all instruments in a band at an intermediate level. I agree with Getafix take lessons with one of each and see who suits you the best. Back to the band director, he knows music theory and music composition which you will have to learn eventually so It really doesn't matter right now but in the future I would really consider finding a teacher who specializes in tenor sax when although it will cost more. I hope this helps!

  4. #4
    Distinguished SOTW member/Official SOTW Sister bandmommy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Lake Odessa, MI

    Default Re: Finding a Teacher

    How close are you to a college or university with a music ed/performance program?
    If you want a saxophone specific teacher there are always students in their final year that are more than willing to take on a student of their own for a reasonable fee.
    Really, there isn't much difference teaching children or adults other than the adult usually has a longer attention span and better work ethic.
    The band director might be 'OK' but he won't necessarily be able to play the sax at an 'intermediate' level.
    Old reed players are like fine wine. They only get better with age. Tom Hagen

    Play the Music, not the instrument.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Finding a Teacher

    Find an instructor that specializes in sax if possible. I did a quick search based on your listed location and only found one guy -Roger Propes, you could try him but you may want to ask around and see if there are other teachers or even pros in the area that might take a student. Maybe look between where you are and Raleigh and be willing to travel a little if you find the right person. I used to drive about 35 miles each way to take lessons and it was absolutely worth it- best instructor I ever had.

    Nothing against the bone player, I play with a couple who are great musicians, or the band instructor (some of the hardest working people I know) but at 7 weeks you are liable to have embouchure issues, fingering issues, tonguing issues, voicing issues, etc.. that a trombone player or generalist (assuming the band director's main instrument is not sax or at least clarinet) are poorly equipped to help you with. You'd be better off taking a lesson every other week or once a month with a sax specialist you need to travel to see, or even an online Skype lesson with one of the pros here like Steve Neff or Tim Price.

    Just my $.02

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