Three high school jazz bands from the NYC metropolitan area participated in a clinic on big band playing presented by Dr. Edward Joffe at Local 802 on 11/2/17. This clinic was open to the public and funded by Music for a Sound Future and The Council for Living Music. This particular session featured music associated with the Count Basie Orchestra. Each school was sent one big band chart to prepare for the clinic composed/arranged by artists whose work is largely associated with the Basie Band tradition—Frank Foster, Ernie Wilkins and Sammy Nestico. All of the charts emphasized the concept of “swing”—the most essential element of the jazz discipline. Continue reading
This video shows excerpts from a presentation I gave at the 2017 International Clarinet Association Conference in Orlando, Florida entitled “The Clarinet Doubler on Broadway.” I was accompanied by three woodwind doubler friends who have all performed in numerous Broadway musicals: Rick Heckman, John Cipolla & Devin DiMauro. We explained how the work scene has evolved for the clarinet doubler, with particular emphasis on the last 50 years. An up-to-date accounting of the use of the clarinet on Broadway in the 2016/2017 season is referenced along with a comparison of the use of clarinet doubling chairs versus straight clarinet chairs. There is information provided about the various physical similarities and differences between the clarinet and other woodwinds as well as the benefits of woodwind doubling. Finally, there are several demonstrations of clarinet doubling referencing Broadway musicals performed by the quartet of woodwind doublers.
This video shows excerpts from a clinic I presented at Local 802, AFM in New York on 9/21/16 entitled “The Art of Woodwind Doubling.” During this session, I worked with three different saxophone sections—one from LaGuardia HS of Music & Art; another from Purchase College; and a group of young professional New York doublers. We touched on a variety of topics relevant to woodwind doubling and saxophone section performance including posture, breathing, volume, section blend, embouchure, equipment, in addition to how to practice doubling. I hope you’ll find the video enjoyable and helpful.
“Ed, my kids came in today and were really poppin. The whole band noticed. You brought them so much in a very brief amount of time. Thank you so much!” —Kevin Blanq, Jazz Band Director-LaGuardia HS of Music & Art, September, 2016
Part of the Ed Joffe Woodwind Doubling Masterclass Series, The Art of Doubling is a demonstration and discussion involving specific tips to improve one’s performance when switching quickly from one woodwind to another. Music from jazz, commercial and classical settings will be referenced.
This class will look at actual parts that doublers have had to perform, both as section players and as soloists.
Participants will be asked to play in both types of settings with music taken from Broadway shows, recording dates and concert repertoire.
The inherent problems presented by the musical selections including stylistic considerations, equipment choices, embouchure accommodations, subtleties of pitch and dynamics, etc. will be discussed and solutions offered.
Additional time will be spent on the differences the performer must attend to when performing in a pit scenario vs. a recording studio vs. on-stage concert performances.
Part of the Ed Joffe Woodwind Doubling Masterclass Series, The Doubles of the Doubles will include discussions and demonstrations of the secondary woodwind doubles including piccolo & alto flute; Eb & bass clarinets; and soprano saxophone. The class will detail the special considerations one must attend to with some of the more esoteric members of the saxophone, clarinet, and flute family of instruments. Music from commercial, jazz and orchestral scenarios will be performed in order to emphasize the special qualities that composers and arrangers utilize when writing for these instruments.
Part of the Ed Joffe Woodwind Doubling Masterclass Series, Sax Section Performance for Pros is a clinic concerning ways to improve one’s ability to function successfully within a saxophone section. A variety of charts from a diverse group of arrangers including Benny Carter, Fletcher Henderson, Manny Albam, Marion Evans, Frank Foster and Thad Jones are used as playing examples of the types of musical requirements saxophonists will likely encounter when performing in sax sections in big bands, musical theater and/or behind singers. The demands of each chair in a traditional 5-person section (AATTB) and various approaches to playing each chair is demonstrated. Listening examples from many of the great saxophone sections are employed as reference guides during the class. Equipment choices for playing in a sax section vs. combo/solo settings are discussed along with techniques for playing different vibrato speeds and articulating in different registers at varying dynamics.
Part of Ed Joffe’s Woodwind Doubling Masterclass Series, Reed Solutions is a demonstration of equipment and techniques to improve the reed’s efficiency along with a discussion of diverse approaches for adjusting reeds. An examination of older and newer reed adjustment publications will allow the participants to gain a better understanding of the different methods that can be employed to make reeds more playable and sustainable. Contrasting musical examples of varying musical styles are provided as ideal ways to gauge a reed’s potential. Class attendees are encouraged to view “Seven Days to Reed Heaven” on the Articles page of Joffewoodwinds.com prior to the class.
All participants are requested to bring a saxophone and/or clarinet with the reeds and reed equipment tools that they currently use.
Part of Ed Joffe’s Woodwind Doubling Masterclass Series, The Total Saxophone is a clinic devoted to an approach that integrates classical, jazz, commercial and pop styles of saxophone playing in one’s practice. Selected etudes from the works of Bozza, Karg-Elert, Koechlin, Mintzer, Fishman and Snidero will serve as a means for discussing various challenges that all saxophonists must attend to on a daily basis. A demonstration of the commercial recordings and individual styles of some of the great Hollywood saxophonists including Les Robinson, Ronnie Lang, Plas Johnson, Gary Foster and Dan Higgins will follow. Additional work focuses on the Pop/Rock/R&B saxophonists King Curtis, Hank Crawford and Dave Sanborn.
Part of the Ed Joffe Woodwind Doubling Masterclass Series, The Total Clarinet masterclass will use selected classical and jazz etudes from Rose, Cavellini, and Artie Shaw as a means for discussing various challenges that all doubling clarinetists must attend to on a daily basis. These include legato finger technique; resonant articulations; flexibility and uniformity of tone; stylistic integrity; and equipment needs for classical, commercial and jazz performance. The influences of Daniel Bonade, Benny Goodman and Buddy DeFranco will be examined.
Part of Ed Joffe’s Woodwind Doubling Masterclass Series, this class uses the classical etudes of Taffanel-Gaubert, Anderson and Karg-Elert along with selected solos by Frank Wess and Hubert Laws as a means for discussing various problems that all doubling flutists must attend to on a daily basis. These include developing a legato finger technique, attacks and releases, quick register changes, tone colors and uniformity of sound. The influences of the French School of flute playing upon American classical, commercial and jazz flutists will be explored.
Auditions to enter undergraduate or graduate school for music is always a harrowing time and experience. Oftentimes, the crucial factor in being accepted or rejected from any school is based upon one’s preparation more so than one’s talent or ability. As a student, performer, and ultimately a music educator, I have experienced and witnessed the successes and failures associated with the audition process. As a result, I have created a master class format to address the most salient issues associated with an audition. Topics to be addressed include:
- Preparation Prior to the Audition Day
- How to Proceed on Audition Day
- Repertoire Requirements for the Audition
- Audition Committees and Expectations
- How to Choose the Right School
The music business is a rapidly changing industry that requires its employees to become knowledgeable entrepreneurs. This presentation provides individuals with functional techniques and strategies that enable them to turn their passion into their business. Universities impart tremendous artistic and technical knowledge to their students throughout their training. This clinic complements that training by teaching students how to build their careers outside of school and thus offers a bridge between the academic life and the professional life.
I have taught music business courses for 15 years and found that students need this type of information in order to work independently and in groups while developing their promotional materials and organizational skills. The topics I will address include:
- Preparing For A Career In Music
- The Recording Industry
- Music and the Media
- Symphonic and Musical Theater Work
- Music Publishing, Copyright & Licensing
- Music Education
- The Retail Music Business
- Artist Management & Marketing
I have directed the jazz studies department at New Jersey City University for 20 years. During that time, I have created undergraduate and graduate jazz performance degree programs that have been lauded by some of the most respected names in jazz; hired a faculty of top New York professionals; brought world renowned guest artists to perform with and for the students; taught courses in jazz improvisation, jazz history, jazz pedagogy, big band and jazz combo; instituted a high school jazz festival; and performed at jazz conferences and high schools throughout the northeast. All of these have allowed me to gain greater insight into the components that constitute a successful jazz program.
This presentation is designed to acquaint music majors, music educators and jazz performers alike with the materials and courses needed to implement such a jazz program in a school system or college. Any jazz educator wishing to improve their one–one studio teaching can also use the information offered. The topics to be discussed can include any one or combinations of all of the following:
- A Rationale for Jazz in the Classroom
- Establishing a Jazz Curriculum
- How to Recruit, Build & Promote a Jazz Program
- How to Teach the Jazz Concept— Swing, Phrasing & Articulation
- How to Teach Jazz Improvisation
- Teaching Jazz History
- The Small Jazz Ensemble: Instrumentation, Selecting the Repertoire, and Rehearsal Techniques
- The Large Jazz Ensemble: Instrumentation, Selecting the Repertoire, and Rehearsal Techniques
- Concert Preparations, Competitions, Jazz Festivals and Tours
The development of the saxophone family in the mid-19th century led to its initial use in a number of ensembles where sections of saxophones were employed—military bands, orchestras, saxophone ensembles and wind bands. In the 20th century, vaudeville orchestras, musical theater orchestras and jazz big bands continued to make use of saxophone sections and added to the instrument’s popularity. Today, the use of saxophone sections is most often heard in school and professional jazz big bands, saxophone ensembles as well as in musical theater orchestras.
My approach to building and developing the saxophone section level of performance is multifold. It involves a demonstration of the equipment (mouthpieces, reeds, horns, etc.) that can best serve the musical situation from classical to jazz to pop; audio and video presentations of legendary saxophone sections from different musical styles; a presentation of study materials that can improve any saxophone section’s performance; and performances of various saxophone ensemble works designed to increase the performer’s awareness of the saxophone’s capabilities and the saxophonist’s responsibilities within an ensemble.
I can provide musical materials for saxophone quartets, large saxophone ensembles, jazz band saxophone sections from 1920-present, and saxophone ensembles involving woodwind doubling. The levels of difficulty of these works range from high school through professional.
Playing a wind instrument often requires us to have more air available than is normally necessary in order to generate sound. Furthermore, a more efficient use of the air is required in order to play for long periods of time without a new breath. In fact, many of the difficulties that arise in wind playing—a non-resonant tone, overblowing and/or squeaking, poor pitch playing, non-legato finger technique, inability to sustain long phrases, etc.—are a result of a poor breathing technique. All wind instrumentalists and singers need to gain an understanding of the breathing process in order to achieve their best musical results.
My presentation will help to provide the student with a thorough understanding of the inhalation/exhalation process. A detailed discussion of the functions of the thoracic cavity, lungs, ribs and abdominal regiona during breathing will lead to specific exercises designed to improve one’s awareness of the specific muscles involved. I will also introduce various tools specifically designed to aid in the breathing process. Musical examples and exercises will be offered that can allow one to measure the effectiveness of one’s breathing capacity and efficiency. Finally, audio and video examples of great wind players and singers who demonstrate this type of approach to breathing as it influences their musical artistry will be played.
The emergence of the “woodwind doubler” in American music began in the 19th century. While many people first associate this type of unusually skilled performer with the players in Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra of the 1920s, multiple wind players have been in existence for centuries. The new sound reproducing inventions of the 20th Century (radio, audio recordings, movies); America’s changing musical tastes,; public dancing as a socially acceptable form of expression; and the emergence of the saxophone as a popular instrument helped provide a playing field for saxophonists. Those saxophone players who were equally adept on other woodwind instruments found themselves in great demand in the big bands, recording studios, musical theater, and symphonic world. That need for woodwind doublers still exists today. While very few schools offer degrees catering to this specialty, the need for saxophonists and other woodwind players to “double” is crucial in school and professional big band performances as well as musical theater productions. For many, it is often the deciding factor if one is to have a career in the music industry.
I have created a series of 8 master classes, each lasting several hours, dedicated to woodwind doubling on the three basic instrumental families required of all woodwind doublers—saxophone, clarinet and flute. They can be presented as a group or combined into fewer classes for shorter durations, depending on the needs of the school music director. The topics that are covered in these classes include:
Joe Allard was one of the most important woodwind performers and teachers during his lifetime, 1910—1991. As a clarinet, bass clarinet and saxophone instructor at The Juilliard School, The New England Conservatory, The Manhattan School of Music, The Mannes School and at his studios in New York and New Jersey for 40 yrs., he literally influenced generations of woodwind artists. Mr. Allard himself was a student of a cross-section of some of the major artist/performers of the first half of the twentieth century: Ralph McLean, Chester Hazlitt, Gaston Hamelin, Daniel Bonade, Augustin Duques, Edmondo Allegra and Rudy Weidoeft. His performances as a clarinetist and saxophonist with every major freelance orchestra in New York as well as the NBC Symphony, Symphony of the Air, The Bell Telephone Hour Orchestra, The Band of America, The Voice of Firestone Orchestra, The Dupont Calvalcade Orchestra, and The Red Nichols and Red Norvo Orchestras allowed him to interact with a variety of instrumentalists and singers who helped cement his philosophies regarding music and woodwind pedagogy.
Mr. Allard’s philosophies and teaching methodology are the basis for the type of woodwind instruction I have offered in my teaching over the past 40 years. Please refer to the Articles page for a more extensive view of Joe Allard’s career presented in “Remembering Joseph Allard.”
Tom Nyfenger (1936-1990) was one of the most respected flutists, teachers and clinicians of his generation. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he established himself as that rare musician who could seemingly solve any musical problem and help others find their path. After a brief stint as solo piccolo player with the Indianapolis Symphony (1961–1963), he moved to New York City in 1963 where he quickly gained a formidable reputation as a free-lance player and teacher. Ultimately, he was hired as a regular member of the New York City Ballet Orchestra and began long-term associations with the Aeolian Chamber Players, the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, the Festival Winds, and the New York Woodwind Quintet. He served as the principal flute of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, the New York Chamber Symphony (originally the Y Chamber Symphony of New York), the Mostly Mozart and Casals Festival Orchestras, and the New York Chamber Soloists. As an educator, he taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Sarah Lawrence College, Vassar College, Rutgers College, S.U.N.Y. Purchase College, Queens College, the Mannes College of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, and Yale University, where he served as chairman of the wind department. In 1986, he published his first book, Music And The Flute. A double CD of several of his live performances was released in 1992 entitled The Flutistry of Thomas Nyfenger. I edited and help publish a second book entitled Beyond the Notes—Musical Thoughts and Analyses in 2009.
My master class incorporates Mr. Nyfenger’s approach to embouchure development, articulation, vibrato production, finger technique, tone colors, and as he would say, “prescriptions” for more efficient playing. I offer audio and video performances by Nyfenger and other flutists to further demonstrate the concepts that I will offer.