Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

I started playing jazz around March this year and I really enjoyed it, but it's like impossible to find a teacher. It's starting to really make me want to switch to sax but I just spent a lot of my summer job's pay to buy a new clarinet. The jazz community for saxophones is clearly vastly larger and everything seems more convenient like in this forum. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? I'm pretty sure most people here already play the sax though =.="

Thanks
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,620 Posts
I am a long-time clarinet player, and I started playing sax in large part because there is a lot more stuff you can play on sax, such as funk and R&B. Even a lot of big bands that at one time might have used clarinet now often have things scored just for saxes. There is some good stuff for clarinet, but yes, the opportunities and repertoire tend to be more limited.

Since you don't indicate where you are at, it is hard for folks on here to give recommendations for teachers they may know near you. But if you are mostly interested in learning the structure and theory and phrasing of jazz, you don't need a clarinet-specific (or sax-specific) teacher - there are some really good jazz theory and performance teachers out there who cut across instruments.
 

·
Über Geek, Forum Contributor 2010 Distinguished SO
Joined
·
3,841 Posts
+1 on what Artstove said. Also, if you can't find either a teacher or the opportunities you want to play jazz on clarinet, I'd encourage you to think in terms of *adding* sax instead of switching to it. Clarinet chops aren't easy to come by, being able to play both clarinet and sax well opens up a lot of playing that you can't do if you don't double.

Also, before you write off the sax players as potential teachers, make sure they don't also play clarinet. Lots of cats who aren't necessarily known specifically as clarinet players, do, in fact, play the instrument very well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I live in Richmond Hill, ON which is near Toronto. I've been sending e-mails left and right but with no luck really. Most clarinet teachers focus just on classical music and most of the teachers that doubled on the clarinet were often too far, as they lived near Downtown. I really don't have much chops on the clarinet, so I wanted a teacher that could teach me jazz theory and performance as well as clarinet fundamentals; I'm almost certain my embouchure is just terrible.

Anyhow, after listening to more clarinet and playing it for a bit, it makes me want to stay on the instrument, at least for now. I'm in senior year of HS now but I'm worried I won't have enough time to play two instruments, let alone one, in university, so I don't want to waste money.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,582 Posts
Phil Nimmons is still playing (I saw his gig here the year before last with David Braid). He's emeritus at the U of T so I don't know if he's taking students or not, but you can't do much better than Phil for jazz on clarinet. Even if he isn't taking students he would know who is available.

 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
14,442 Posts
denkii: I think it is important to define what you mean by "jazz." True, most jazz being played today seems much more suited for saxophone and one bringing a clarinet to a jam session would be well advised to be a heck of a player to hold his/her own in such a setting.

But if by "jazz" you are including the original jazz of the early 20th century, you'll be welcomed with open arms, assuming you can conform to that style of phrasing (many youngsters view old-tyme jazz the same way as I view modern jazz - impossible and don't understand it).

And, like others said, you don't have to give up one to play the other. When I play my gigs, I bring soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, and clarinet and play all three (many times during the same tune) all day long. I enjoy the variety and it adds another dimension to the band's sound.

Lastly, if you have the ear for improve (essential in any jazz environment), you'd be better off developing the fundamentals and let your ear take to you to improv. DAVE
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
2,323 Posts
denkii: Don't let anyone tell you you can't play modern jazz on the clarinet. Listen to Don Byron. His "Romance with the Unseen" disc is a wonderful example of virtuosic clarinet technique applied to modern jazz. He has played in a wide variety of contexts from klezmer to the music of Mikey Katz to Ellington. But this said there are advantages and disadvantages to operating in a "low influence" zone. Without easy role models it is hard to find your way. You need to be strong and have your own vision of the musician you want to become and the drive to take yourself there. Some would argue that saxophone has a couple of role models that have completely dominated how the instrument is played and what people's tastes are. The clarinet does not have that problem but exchanges that for the problem that it isn't taken seriously by a lot of other players.
Good Luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I actually like the sound of the clarinet in modern jazz, but as you guys said, no one takes it seriously. Sometimes the instrument does seem to "not fit in", but I feel that it gives a certain uniqueness? Well, I've been asking around and I think I may be getting a teacher hopefully in the near future. I really think I'm just lacking that path and guidance (as I actually like playing Rose Etudes and Studies because it seems more direct of what I am trying to improve).

Thanks everyone on the input.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,620 Posts
If you like clarinet, and only have time for one instrument, by all means stick with it and focus on it. You can work on your chops with a clarinet teacher, preferably one who can at least give you some music theory and ear training as well, and start doing jazz-type stuff on your own with things like the Aebersold play-along books/CDs and Mark Levine's Jazz Theory book.

If nothing else, do lots of ear-training exercises (i.e. try to play back on the clarinet a short lick played by someone else or from a recording). They can only help your classical playing, and they help get you off the written page (which has been my biggest struggle). Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
151 Posts
I am a new clarinet student and my teacher in primarily a Sax player. I not only do not find this to be a problem, but, actually a help. It is far more important that the teacher takes you seriously and concentrates on the fundamentals. And since I eventually plan to add Sax it is comforting that I will be able to continue with him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
923 Posts
I live in Richmond Hill, ON which is near Toronto. I've been sending e-mails left and right but with no luck really. Most clarinet teachers focus just on classical music and most of the teachers that doubled on the clarinet were often too far, as they lived near Downtown. I really don't have much chops on the clarinet, so I wanted a teacher that could teach me jazz theory and performance as well as clarinet fundamentals; I'm almost certain my embouchure is just terrible.

Anyhow, after listening to more clarinet and playing it for a bit, it makes me want to stay on the instrument, at least for now. I'm in senior year of HS now but I'm worried I won't have enough time to play two instruments, let alone one, in university, so I don't want to waste money.
Have you gone to Cosmo Music? They're in Richmond Hill, and I'm pretty sure they offer lessons through the store. If not, I'm sure they can hook you up with someone local.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've actually found a teacher now so thanks for the help, but I find Cosmo Music and most music schools in general to be a real hassle. They make it quite inflexible, and I kept getting substitute teachers to the point where I couldn't really progress, but get multiple different people teaching me the same thing in different ways. And one of the teachers started playing Bb Blues on the piano for like 10 minutes (of my 30 minute lessons) and telling me to improvise when at the time I had no interest in because I didn't even have the embouchure down. And often freelance musicians are significantly cheaper haha. Maybe I was just someone that had bad experiences with Cosmos because it seems a lot of people learn there.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
34,733 Posts
I've actually found a teacher now so thanks for the help, but I find Cosmo Music and most music schools in general to be a real hassle. They make it quite inflexible, and I kept getting substitute teachers to the point where I couldn't really progress, but get multiple different people teaching me the same thing in different ways. And one of the teachers started playing Bb Blues on the piano for like 10 minutes (of my 30 minute lessons) and telling me to improvise when at the time I had no interest in because I didn't even have the embouchure down. And often freelance musicians are significantly cheaper haha. Maybe I was just someone that had bad experiences with Cosmos because it seems a lot of people learn there.
If you are signing up for jazz classes and don't have an embouchure, perhaps you need to readjust your expectations and work with your instructors to identify a plan of study. If you came to me for improv classes, I, too, might ask to hear you improv to determine where you are starting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well that was a few years ago and at the time I wasn't really interested in jazz (or music in general). I was just there because my music mark at school wasn't too good and I never really listened to jazz or anything and I barely know my scales, so I really didn't know what he was asking me to do (I didn't even understand the concept of improvising at the time). I ended up leaving pretty quickly because it was getting pretty annoying and I did not have anywhere near the drive to practice and learn that I have today.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top