I am currently a Professor at Berklee College of Music, and a faculty member of the New England Conservatory in Boston. I am available to teach masterclasses, private saxophone and composition lessons.
Masterclasses for music students and (semi) professional musicians
In addition to my positions as faculty member at various higher education music institutions, I have been teaching guest master classes at conservatories in Europe and the North America. Mostly these sessions are targeted towards jazz and pop students and semi professional musicians, however classical musicians with an interest in improvisation are welcome to attend as well. Currently I offer a few different master classes, which in most cases I will adapt to the specific students and departments, depending on the time available, the possibility of a recital to work towards, and the amount of students. Master classes can range from one hour to 4 days, and can target an already working jazz ensemble, a colorful collection of music students from different departments or a full big band. The first two master classes are non style-specific, and focus on maximizing the musical expression, presentation and clarity, regardless of style.
1: Workshop Group Improvisation (3-6 hours). This workshop will explore the collective improvisational challenges that exist within a small to medium ensemble (6-12 people), and will focus on improvisational strategies other than the classic soloist/accompaniment model. I usually start the session with a set of ear training exercises in circle format that work on listening skills and interaction, and put the students in a state of collective musical awareness and focus. Then we will work on a set of specific ensemble exercises that build confidence, improve the group sound, and maximize expression through dynamics and form. We will also learn how to collectively arrange a tune on the spot, by using instant orchestration and cueing techniques. I use a set of very easy to learn compositions as a starting point, with and without chord changes. Students are encouraged to discuss their experiences at all times.
2: Duos (2-4 hours plus preparation time). Based on the Duo Ensemble I taught at the New England Conservatory for many years, I assign sets of two students to arrange and rehearse a tune. The choice of tunes can be based on themes such as The Great American Songbook, Open Form tunes (Ornette), Free Improv, or “A tune from home”. Through thorough analysis of their performance and their decisions during their rehearsal process, we discuss the specific challenges that playing in duo format pose. What if you can’t rely on the drummer for the pulse or the piano for the chords? Do singers have other options for improvising than scat vocals? What if the drummer plays the melody and the sax player the beat? Peer discussion and critique is a crucial part of this workshop.
3: The Music of Steve Lacy (min 3 hours): The late soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy’s compositions are unique because of their strong programmatic character; most tunes are “about” something. How do we collectively play a rain storm as in his composition Rain? How do we make the tune “The Oil” really thick and slippery, as mentioned in Lacy’s notes? How do we take his compositions as a spring board for open improvisations without a form or chord changes? We will also study a few of his pieces, analyze his evolution as a jazz composer and practitioner, and explore his fascination with text and language. My experience with Lacy’s music is based on decades of studying and playing his music (notably with my group The Whammies play Steve Lacy, with 3 CD releases) and my lessons with him.
4: Saxophone and analog electronics (1-2 hours): During this lecture/demonstration I will play a short set of my live saxophone and electronics improvisations and explain my musical and technical decisions afterwards. I will also talk about the challenges of live processing acoustic instruments, and about the Lyricon, a vintage analog wind synthesizer I play.
I have taught master classes and workshops at the following institutions:
Jazz Institut Berlin, Germany
Berklee Valencia, Spain
Kungliga Musikhögskolan Stockholm, Sweden
Musikhögskolan Malmö, Sweden
Rhythmic Conservatory Copenhagen, Denmark
Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, UK
Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Universidade Lusíada, Lisbon, Portugal
Conservatório de Música de Coimbra, Portugal
ESMUC Barcelona, Spain
Conservatory of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Royal Conservatory The Hague, Netherlands
Fontys Conservatory Tilburg, Netherlands
Artez Conservatory Arnhem, Netherlands
Artez Conservatory Zwolle, Netherlands
Royal Conservatory Antwerpen, Belgium
Berklee College of Music, Boston MA
New England Conservatory of Music, Boston MA
Longy School of Music, Cambridge, MA
Schulich School of Music, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
University of Minnesota St. Cloud, MN
Escola de Música de URFN, Natal, Brazil
Faculdad de Música de la UNAM, Mexico City
North Central College, Naperville IL
Lawrence University Appleton WI
Jazz Festival Vancouver BC, Canada
University of Arizona, Tempe AZ
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy NY