I teach all aspects of music, including reading, theory, harmony, ear-training and jazz improvisation, paying great attention to what I call the ‘foundation techniques’ of woodwind playing: breathing, embouchure, tone, articulation and posture. It is vital that players form good habits in these areas right from the start, otherwise they will never be able advance to a higher level. If these techniques are neglected at the beginning the player will have to go back and rebuild his or her technique at a later stage.
Although my main area of expertise is in jazz, my teaching encompasses many other styles of music, such as pop/rock, bossa nova and classical. I think that the basic requirements for being a good player in any of these idioms are the same: a beautiful tone, an accurate sense of pitch, an ability to articulate and a good sense of rhythm. Musicians who wish to play jazz can learn a lot from trying to play classical music, which requires a much more disciplined approach. By the same token, a classically trained musician may derive great benefit from attempting to improvise or play by ear.
As a multi-instrumentalist who plays soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet and flute, I am well aware of the problems of ‘doubling’, and therefore particularly well-qualified to offer advice in these areas.