A New Approach to Jazz Improvisation Lessons
One of the fastest ways to master jazz improvisation, no matter what instrument you play, is to start with one scale in one key and really learn to hear all the melodies and patterns in the scale.
You don’t need worry about all the other keys in the beginning. Yes, of course eventually you will need to learn them to really be fluent as an improviser. In the beginning though, you need to eliminate as much theory and thinking as possible. As you will see below, your brain and body can do amazing things if you don’t over think what you’re trying to train it to do.
Many people, myself included in the beginning, think that they can’t improvise because they don’t know enough scales and harmonic knowledge. That kind of thinking will just hold you back. Jazz improvisation is most quickly learned “by ear”. Listening to other saxophone players that you like and learning to HEAR the lines they are playing is how almost all of the great jazz musicians from the beginning of jazz up until the 1960’s learned how to improvise. In the 50’s and 60’s many great jazz teachers took up residency in the various colleges and began writing books on it. But the best improvisers learned by ear. Too much theory slows down the process.
If you want to see proof of how you can learn much faster by ear, just check out any of these videos. In each one, these students have never played the saxophone before starting the method, they learned how to get a decent sound and learned only minimal reading. The method teaches you how to master one scale in one key so that your brain doesn’t get overloaded. The next step is to memorize 6 simple approach note pairs that resolve to target notes in each chord on a simple blues progression. There are many teachers who teach the blues scale and have their students learn a few licks or just let them wander around, but this method absolute teaches you to hear the chord changes and know exactly where you are at all times. Just take a listen to these students and notice how they are hitting all the chord changes. They are not reading anything except the chord symbols.
Their are no tricks in the method. Just a straight forward system of teaching that eliminates reading and theory and just trains your ear properly. And it’s not a dead end. It’s only the beginning of training your ear so that you can continue to build on the foundation that it lays.
So if you're interested in trying out your improvisation skills, we offer online lessons with limited in person lessons. You can contact us with any of the links below.
What recommendations do you have for a professional jazz sax player and plastic reeds?
There are a number of plastic reeds on the market these days. I can remember my first experience with Bari synthetic reeds 25 years ago when the reed actually made my lips bleed. The sound was super bright and without much color so it was basically unusable (although a few pros did get through the bleeding and learned how to play them).
Then there was the Fibercell reeds that were a little better and I used them for practicing but never on a gig. And about 5 years ago heard about the Legere Reeds. I tried them and they played pretty good but still had that plastic, bright and not much warmth kind of sound.
I never tried them again until about 3 years ago at the NAMM show and I was completely blown away about how much they improved and from that time on I’ve been hooked and even endorse the reeds now. Legere reeds are not only incredibly consistent from reed to reed but they play as good as my BEST cane reeds. The reeds are really responsive in all registers of the horn and have a warm, rich sound and uniform clarity from the bottom to top of the horn. Best of all, I know it’s going to feel and sound the same every time I play it, I don’t have to break it in and don’t have to worry about my reed drying out and warping while I’m playing one of my other saxophones or clarinet especially when I’m playing an outdoor event. In short, this is an amazing reed by any standard and I recommend them to every reed player I know.” Premium Synthetic Woodwind Reeds | Légère Reeds
The Birth of Jazz was somewhere around the 1910’s. The saxophone was patented in 1846 and by the 1850’s lots of saxophonists began to play the instrument in the European military bands because of the considerable volume it could produce compared to the other woodwind instruments. At the same time, classical musicians, picked up the new woodwind instrument and began to write for it and play it in a classical style.
One of the earliest classical pieces written for the saxophone was in 1860, called “Fantasie for Saxophone and Piano”, by Jules Demersseman, who was an early virtuoso on the instrument. It took a while for more serious classical composers to begin to use it in their works, but Debussy used the saxophone in 1901 and Ravel in 1903, which was several years before jazz was born.
Besides Adolphe Sax himself, there were a number of saxophone players who made the saxophone famous before jazz. For example, this is rare footage of a couple of saxophone virtuosos (Rudy Wiedoeft and Benny Krueger) who were playing saxophone in a Classical/Ragtime style. For anyone who has an interest in the beginning stages of the saxophone, this is guaranteed to make you smile!
Is it a good choice to have a go with a recorder like JSax or Venova before jumping to the mighty tenor sax?
Unless this question is for a child under 10 years old I would not recommend wasting your money on lessons on a recorder type instrument. If you want to learn about the basics about reading notes and counting rhythms and a few other foundational aspects of music with some free lessons online, playing a recorder or some other basic 6 hole woodwind may make your beginning lessons with the tenor sax a little easier to comprehend. But having said that, if you know you want to play tenor sax then find a good teacher with good reviews and study the tenor sax. Saxophone is one of the easiest wind instruments to learn, (although it does take just as much time to “really play” it as any other instrument) but it’s an instrument that you can “have fun” on in a much shorter time then other wind instruments. If you want to start on an easier instrument than the tenor sax, I usually recommend the alto sax just because it’s easier to handle, get a decent sound and there’s more of them on the market, so you can usually find a little better deal on a used horn. Switching from alto to tenor is pretty easy once you get good on the alto, and if you buy a good used saxophone you can usually get most if not all all of your money back when you sell it.
Los Angeles Music Teachers - Call 818-902-1233 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I studied the clarinet after learning the saxophone and I think the main issue that is important to stress is the extra resistance that you get on the clarinet (even on the bass clarinet) which is partially due to the cylindrical bore (the sax is a conical bore and has a more loose embouchure and freer blowing airflow). Along with that, is that the saxophone fingerings are far the easiest and most logically designed of all the woodwinds. Also, because the clarinet over blows at an octave and a 5th it requires a whole 5th of awkward fingerings in the so called “throat” register which are not only difficult to master but also difficult to get a full sound like the rest of the instrument.
Los Angeles Music Teachers - Email: email@example.com or call: 818-902-1233
Making yourself known is the best way of finding other musicians.
1. Go to jazz clubs, jam sessions and anywhere you can meet other musicians. Make sure you introduce yourself to as many people there as you can including the musicians in the band. For all the people in the audience, chances are that they are there because they either play or really love jazz. If they don’t play themselves, they probably have friends that play. Give your phone number to everyone you can and tell them to call you if they ever want to jam.
2. Put up flyers on bulletin boards at colleges and rehearsal spaces. The more musicians who know about you, the more are your chances of someone calling you to play.
3. If you join the Musicians Union in your town, you can meet hundreds of musicians by showing up for rehearsal bands rehearsals which happen everyday all day. You need to let EVERYONE you know that you play an instrument and you’re looking for other people to play with.
4. Set up your own Youtube and Facebook and or Instagram channel and make quality videos of you jamming to play-a-long records and then start getting people to listen and comment on them.
5. Join groups on Facebook which are Jazz oriented or (there’s hundreds of them) and post that you are looking for other musicians to play jazz.
6. If you take some jazz improvisation lessons at a local music school, you will meet lots of people there and you can also ask your teacher if he knows of anyone looking for other musicians to play.
Making yourself known is the key element of finding people to play jazz with. It may seem obvious, but the reason that many musicians sit home alone and never play with others is that they are too introverted or too lazy to put the energy out there and meet people. If you are good or even semi good, let people know and you will start to finding people with the same interest. There are so many more people just like you who are asking the same question. They’d love to be able to play in a band but they don’t know how to find other musicians. They may be your colleagues at work or your neighbors, so tell EVERYONE!!
Instructor spotlight - Rick Rossi
This week, our featured instructor is the one and only owner of our school; jazz improvisation LA teacher Rick Rossi. An all-around woodwind master, Rick has been nominated multiple times for a Grammy and won when he was a member of the Brian Setzer Orchestra. His compositions and arrangements have appeared in TV and film, as well as studio recordings. His endorsements include Legere Reeds for use on all his saxophones and clarinets.
Rick’s live TV appearances include Conan O’Brian, David Letterman, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Regis and Kathie Lee, MTV, and VH-1. Some of the world class artists he has performed with include Shakira, Natalie Cole, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Bobby Caldwell, and Cher. TV shows and movies he has appeared and composed music for include Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, Wedding Crashers, and Monster-in-law.
Rick’s teaching experience goes back to when he was getting his master’s degree in woodwind performance at the University of Akron. There, he was an adjunct instructor of saxophone. While he was in Ohio, he also taught ensembles, methods classes and woodwinds at Muskingum College in New Concord. He was professor of woodwind classes and music history at Eubanks Conservatory of Music, and when he moved to LA he taught at the Grove School of Music as jazz improvisation instructor. He had a full studio of all woodwind instruction at Baxter Northup Music for over a decade, and since then he has maintained a private studio at his own school (Los Angeles Music Teachers).
His own jazz improvisation method in Los Angeles has been in use for decades and has helped students of every level, age and ability start improvising in just a few lessons. He has compiled videos and testimonials for many years which are proof that his method is 100% effective. His happy students stay with him for a long time and are constantly learning. Rick has written two books and has numerous free videos on his active YouTube channel, which has attracted students who saw the amazing power of the method in those videos. While he has employed traditional teaching methods in the past, he found that it is a lot more inspiring to inspire students with what they actually want to learn. They will only want to practice consistently if they are playing what they are interested in playing. He has fun breaking down difficulties for students and assessing their strengths and weaknesses. Rick is truly a diamond in the rough in LA as a woodwind and jazz improvisation teacher.
To better understand what jazz improvisation is, it helps to think of it as spontaneous composition. The improvisor is composing on the spot without the benefit of writing it down and perfecting it. So a good improvisor must practice his craft daily and spend time playing through all the various scales and exercises that it takes to master the language. There’s a lot of likeness to language and speech. When a speaker gives a speech based on a written (composed) script he can improvise around it a bit but it’s generally composed. When a speaker knows his subject but has no actual idea of what he’s going to say, then he is truly improvising, and this is essentially what a great jazz improvisor does. He has a song that he’s going to play, he knows the melody and chord changes and he improvises around that basic melody and chord structure, never knowing exactly what’s going to come out.
Jazz Improvisation’s origin can be traced back to the black slaves in the south, singing the blues in the fields. By the 1930’s, it was being performed by North Americans in cities such as Kansas City, Saint Louis, and Chicago. Becoming a professional jazz musician can take quite a long time. Learning this particular genre of music can seem very frightening and difficult for beginners. There’s so much theory and technique to be mastered before one can be fluent int the language. Another important part of a jazz improvisor's development is that an individual will need to listen to other artists like Wes Montgomery, Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Herbie Hancock, amongst others. These musicians are icons who paid their dues and were original and created new forms of playing on their respective instruments. As a result, they were highly influential in the development of jazz and created new styles that can help a young improvisor learn the language in the form of determination and steady practice. So, you too must be ready to work hard and be disciplined. It is practically impossible for one to begin to play an instrument without some form of instruction and practice. Arpeggios, scales and chord progressions - amongst others - must be learned and mastered in order to be a masterful jazz improvisor.
You must be ready to face certain difficulties when playing the saxophone, clarinet and the flute at the beginning. These instruments are a few of the main instruments involved in jazz and to play and become a pro you will need to spend a lot of hours practicing the tone production and technique. In order to master these instruments and perform with them, professional instruction can really help speed up the process.
Looking for lessons from the best jazz sax improvisation teacher in Burbank? No one does it better than Rick Rossi. Rick Rossi has grown to become a brand in jazz music. He carries his students along in his class with the systematic teaching methods he adopts. Right from the start, he simplifies his approaches, making jazz improvisation lessons easier to learn. Rick will teach you the rudiments of improvisation and how it can occur between different melodies. Rick Rossi is a name to trust in the world of music – his saxophone solos won multiple Grammy nominations; this is a rare feat among jazz music tutors. He is practically a master of all aspects of music, including music production. He got his outstanding musical skills from several renowned teachers, most notably Joe Viola (Berklee School of music) and Joe Allard (Manhattan School of Music), both master saxophone and woodwind players and amazing teachers. Just read his student reviews. If you want to take a lesson with the best jazz improvisation teacher in Burbank, just call Rick today and he will be glad to help you.
For more information about Rick Rossi, kindly call (818) 902-1233. A staff member will discuss your needs with you and give you the necessary guidelines.
If you want a system of improvisation that takes all the mystery and puts you on a fast track to becoming a great improvisor, call Rick and schedule your first lesson. Here is your chance to acquire knowledge from the best in town.
When I was growing up and trying to learn how to play my saxophone in the 60's there were no good jazz teachers at the time, so everything I learned, I learned by transcribing and figuring out how to play by ear. I think it was a great way to develop my ear and it forced me to listen very hard to exactly what the player was playing but I was on my own trying to figure out what scales and devices the players were using. These days, there are so many transcription books on the market as well as practically every recording ever made by every great saxophone player that a young student is overwhelmed by the amount of information and often doesn't know where to start.
What I'm going to tell you today is a secret or a tip that I would have paid big money to have understood. It would have saved me years of searchingand trying to figure out what my favorite players were playing. At that time all my training was based on major and minor scales, the modes, and the bebop scale. The kind of music that I was interested in playing was more pop oriented which was heavily influenced by R&B. Every time I tried to play a solo it didn't seem to be in the right style because I was trying to force the scales that I was familiar with into these R&B styled songs.
SO MANY OF MY STUDENTS HAVE COME TO ME OVER THE YEARS AND SAID THAT THEY STUDIED WITH ALL THESE "SO CALLED GREAT TEACHERS" THAT ARE FAMOUS PLAYERS BUT THEY DIDN'T FEEL LIKE ANY OF THEM COULD HELP THEM FIGURE OUT WHAT THEY NEEDED TO KNOW TO SOUND GOOD.
You may be already figuring out what I'm about to tell you. It doesn't matter whether you're already an improviser or a beginner saxophone player, this one piece of knowledge will help you to understand how to play in all the various styles of jazz.
Every style of jazz is based on a specific vocabulary that is derived from a scale. Bebop is based on the bebop scale, so if you're interested in playing bebop you will want to learn that scale thoroughly and the arpeggios that go along with that so that you are able to play and understand what other players are playing in that style and then analyze what catches your ear and turns you on.
With that in mind, the secret that I am going to uncover for you today is simply this: Most contemporary pop music is based on the pentatonic scale and the pentatonic/blues scale (which is the pentatonic scale with an added flat 5th). You may say to yourself, well why is that such a great secret and how can that help me become a better saxophone player? Well, I'm going to explain how by learning that scale, you will be able to easily learn how to sound really hip in the contemporary pop scene today. Just by understanding that one thing and having the technique under your fingers, you will be able to cut down the amount of time it takes you to learn how to play a burning solo in almost all contemporary music today.
Everything in the blues style is based on it. As far back as Albert Collins, BB King and other blues guitarists of the late 50s and 60s, their entire career was based on the blues scale. As music evolved, that scale continued to dominate the pop music scene through R&B music and contemporary pop. If you've ever tried to learn a pop song melody, or tried to learn a solo that you heard, if you were anything like me, you wouldn't have been able to figure out what was going on. However, by memorizing the pentatonic and the blues scale in what ever song you're trying to learn to play or improvise on you will begin to understand just how easy it can be to play without any wrong notes over most pop music chord progressions.
For example, before I understood this in my early days of learning to play the saxophone, I was under the misconception that every chord change needed to have a specific scale that ran through it and all my solos sounded a bit forced. What I eventually figured out was that with the pentatonic blues scale I could play over many different chord changes with that one scale, and that would be the hippest way to play over those progressions. Even when you simply trying to learn a melody of a pop tune or R&B tune, if you learn the pentatonic blues in that key you will often find that the melody is based mostly or entirely on that scale. Let's look at some examples of pop melodies and see how well that applies:
1. Let's 1st look at the new Lady Gaga tune which I transcribed the melody and recorded a couple lessons on how to play it in a youtube video. Just click the link below to see the PDF that you can download. If we start at the pre-chorus you can see that the entire pre-chorus and chorus is based on an E minor pentatonic scale. G–A-B–C#-E. Just by knowing that, that melody becomes a super easy melody to not only transcribe but to also memorize. Further, if you were to solo or improvise around the melody itself you would sound the most tasteful playing that E minor pentatonic or E minor pentatonic blues scale.
2. Next, let's take a look at "Suit and Tie" by Justin Timberlake. Download the PDF below. Again, we will analyze the pre-chorus and chorus only. Here we see in the alto sax key that almost the entire tune is based on a G sharp minor pentatonic. (G#-B-C#-D#-F#). So if you were trying to transcribe this song because of the difficulty of the key you may not recognize that it's all with in this pentatonic scale (except for 2 places where it adds in A#). So once again if we just to learn that pentatonic scale, get it under your fingers then when you are listening along to figure out the notes you would see how easy it would be to figure out the song.
3. Another's example is up to that I recorded as well as did it a lesson for you on YouTube,” Firework” by Katy Perry. Download the PDF below to follow along as I show you how the entire verse is based on a D minor pentatonic scale(D-F-G-A-C). Again just learn that scale and this is also an easy song to transcribe on your own.
4. Here's another example of an entire solo that is really recognizable. This is a pretty famous saxophone solo that is based entirely on the B minor Pentatonic scale (B-C#-D-E)
Jazz Sax Lesson Reviews
13 Five Star Reviews for Jazz Improv Teacher Rick Rossi of Los Angeles Music Teachers
Google Plus Reviews
Michael R. Feb 20, 2017
I'm a senior citizen without a shred of innate musical talent. LOL The idea of being able to improvise the blues on a saxophone was a wild and unattainable fantasy....until I met Rick. I had already checked out lots of other jazz saxophone teachers online so I knew within the first few lessons that Rick was unique. He was able to simplify my problems and help me make great progress right away. With enthusiasm, this celebrated musician took me through all the baby steps - first to get a respectable sound, and then through his ingenious system of improvisation. I'm moving at what I would say is warp speed in learning to improvise, already reaching levels of soloing that were only in my dreams. But the real bonus on top of Rick's fantastic teaching method and system is Rick the man, and the relationship this star musician forms with a student. His humility amazes me at every lesson. Knowing how valuable his time must be, the fact that he encourages me to send recordings between lessons, and sends feedback on each one, is testament to how much he truly cares about a student's progress. It's a gift he generously gives. He is also a genius at how much criticism and how much encouragement a particular student needs. Could there possibly be a better teacher than Rick Rossi? I don't think so.
Kevin Oct 3, 2016
Saxophone · In studio
I am saxophone player at an intermediate to advanced level and Rick’s lessons helped my sound and improvisation tremendously in a very short amount of time. What really sets Rick apart is that his method is unlike any other teacher I've studied with I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn how to improvise better. Let me start from the beginning.
I’ve been playing music for the past 15 years. I’ve taken lessons in drums, clarinet, and piano, while self-teaching myself piano, guitar, and bass guitar. Through the years though, I always had a desire to learn the saxophone. Never truly playing a solo instrument with jazz improvisation at its core, I started my quest for a teacher who could teach me how to improvise. I bounced around several local music shops and music conservatories, looking for a teacher that could unlock the mystery of improvisation, but I was subjected to hours upon hours of method books without ever actually being given the chance to start improvising over jazz standards. Of course, the basics are essential when improvising, but I always found myself over thinking things. I took a break for a few months, but when I was approached by my family to play saxophone for my grandparent’s 50th anniversary celebration of over 200 people, I decided that I needed to find a teacher who actually adjusted his lessons based on his student and their interests, rather than a cookie cutter lesson progression. During the first few lessons with Rick, he said that instead of focusing on the specific fingerings on the sax or the specific scales and notes I had to be playing, to really listen to the beauty of the music and just play what I hear in my head. Once I got comfortable and stopped thinking about what the “right” notes were, I stopped thinking and just played. A wall that I’ve tried to overcome for the past 5 years, was finally behind me after only a few lessons. After I got past my own thinking, Rick gave me very simple but effective methods to incorporate into my playing to create a more cohesive solo with stylistic tricks and motifs to really impress the crowd and love what you’re playing. I can without reservation, having studied with some of the top saxophone teachers/players in the Los Angeles/Orange County area, say that Rick changed my saxophone playing life and truly has the secrets to improvising on the saxophone. On top of that, even though he is a Grammy award winning artist, is one of the most humble people I’ve ever met. He is always so willing to impart knowledge from his immense amount of experience but never makes you feel like he is looking down on you or is frustrated with you. He teaches because he loves to do it, and to see his student’s eyes light up when they play their first improvised solo on saxophone, is the very reason he teaches so selflessly. That is what stood out the most to me.
Joshua Sep 23, 2016
Saxophone · In studio
What a difference! Like night & day. Josh is going to survive his first performance of the year thanks to Rick! Looking forward to next week.
Elad S. Sep 17, 2016
Saxophone · In studio
I've been taking lessons with Rick Rossi for a few years now, both through Skype and face to face. He is a true professional, extremely knowledgable, and cares deeply about his students and teaching.
He has a unique approach to learning improvisation which is as appropriate for veteran players as it is for complete beginners, and he has been a tremendous help for me in terms of technique and improving my sound.
In an era where a lot of great players can't teach, where so many teachers take a dogmatic, cookie-cutter approach, Rick Rossi's student-centered style stands out. He is serious about your learning, he doesn't try to sugarcoat or shortcut anything and gives more if you're willing to, like giving you honest progress feedback on recordings you send him, and working on particular solos and stylistic issues (bop, blues, rock, smooth jazz, pop, etc) that are individually useful and relevant to your level and goals. I'm really grateful to have found a teacher like Rick Rossi in LA.
Holly Aug 4, 2016
Saxophone · In studio
I am a teacher in the LAUSD and I know a good teacher when I encounter one. Rick is unbelievable. After his first sax lesson with Rick, my son’s tone was so rich, full, and bright. He made more progress in that first lesson than he had after months with his previous teacher. Rick has developed a system to teach his students how to improvise. My son now is able to solo at such a high level. He plays in the Jazz Ensemble at his school and the band director now refers to him as a “Monster.” The best thing about Rick is that he gets excited when he sees the growth and progress in my son. He loves to see him succeed and that’s why he works so hard to find the most direct and effective way to bring out the best in his students. I know how challenging teaching can be. Rick is one of a kind and his students are very fortunate to have him!
Jimmy Jul 11, 2016
Music Performance · In studio
Rick is a fantastic improv and just overall music teacher. As a professional guitar player I have found Rick's deep understanding of both music and the art of teaching to prove most valuable. His methodical approach taught me not only what kind of notes to choose from, but how to use my ear to decide how I want to play. I would highly recommend Rick's method for any instrument at any level!
Abby S. Mar 4, 2016
Saxophone · Online
Rick made my daughter feel comfortable and at ease, in spite of her performance anxiety. He took his time and did not rush (even went over time to finish) and my daughter learned new things the very first lesson. Very excited to see how lessons progress! Thank you!
YUKI Sep 9, 2015
Saxophone · In studio
Rick is a great saxophone and jazz improvisation teacher. I started with him from scratch a year ago. In just a couple lessons he helped me get a good sound and all my basics happening. He has a lot of experience teaching; it really shows in how clearly he is able to explain how each thing we work on works and how to practice it. I always leave each lesson with recordings of him discussing exactly what I’m supposed to work on for the week along with examples he plays on his sax for me to follow. He really cares about my success and progress each week. In fact, he coaxes me to send him recordings every night while I’m practicing so that he can help me if I’m getting something wrong or to give me the confidence of knowing that I’m doing it right or some suggestions on how I can improve it. In other words, I can get feedback every time I need it if I send a recording. That’s helped me avoid a lot of wasted time. I’m progressing so fast and I really have fun at my lessons. I joined "The Big Phat Band" Band Camp this summer and had the best experience of my life playing in the band. Rick helped me in so many ways to prepare for that and it's made me inspired to practice even more. I highly recommend taking a lesson and see for yourself what an outstanding saxophone teacher he is.
Patrick J. Sep 2, 2015
Saxophone · In studio
Had a great first lesson! Boosted my sound 30% within the first hour! Great tips and very friendly!
Jonathan Aug 20, 2015
Saxophone · In studio
I’ve been a working musician and composer in Los Angeles for the last 20 years. I’ve also spent a good deal of that time teaching piano, so I feel like I have a pretty good handle on what makes a good music teacher. Still, when I had to find a sax teacher for my son, it wasn’t easy. I knew some really great players, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be good teachers. Luckily, I found Rick. In addition to being an amazing saxophone, flute and clarinet player, he’s an unbelievable teacher. In the first lesson, he did more for my son’s tone than months of lessons had with our previous teacher. He also has his own method of teaching jazz improvisation and it really is amazing. My son is improvising at a really high level and keeps getting better all the time. Rick really gets involved with my son’s progress and he truly gets excited when he excels. The truth is no one deserves a teacher like Rick-you can only hope to get really lucky to find a teacher this good.
Manoela W. Aug 10, 2015
Saxophone · In studio
I’m a classically trained violinist and I perform many different styles of music as a freelancer in Los Angeles, however I wasn’t a very confident improviser until I started studying with Rick. It always felt like I was shooting in the dark because I had no idea how to play within the chord changes, I was just relying on my ears. Rick has a very simple system that takes you step by step so it feels very manageable to learn and you feel like you’re constantly improving. It made sense from the very beginning and I started improvising with more control and confidence right away by applying his method to my solos. Rick is a world class musician and his knowledge of improvisation and jazz/blues is inspiring and very impressive. He has also played with so many huge acts and done virtually every kind of gig so he taught me a lot of practical advice that’s helped me get work and get hired again. I owe a lot of my success to Rick, and I cannot recommend him enough as a teacher and mentor!
Rick’s main instrument is saxophone and he teaches amazing jazz improvisation lessons so for anyone who wants to learn how to improvise, there’s no better teacher. If you want jazz sax lessons, I’ve heard some of his students and they are amazing players in a short amount of time. You would be wise to at least check him out for yourself.
Daniel Aug 8, 2015
Saxophone · Online
After years of taking saxophone lessons from the so called "great teachers" in Los Angeles I was really frustrated with my progress or lack of progress. Luckily I found Rick. In only a couple of months with Rick I was improvising at a level that I couldn’t even believe was possible. He has a system that is amazing and incredibly simple to learn and to apply to all the songs I love to play.
If you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced player, Rick can elevate your playing faster than you can imagine. I can't recommend him highly enough. Rick's and his system are simply incredible.
Danny Aug 7, 2015
Saxophone · Online
I have been playing the saxophone for 26 years. After 15 years of lessons with other teachers I became a student of Rick's and have stayed with Rick ever since. I had been taking lessons from tremendous players - all of them pro's in the Los Angeles area - but in those 15 years none of them were able to have an impact on my playing like Rick. Through Rick's structured and organized "program", I learned to play the contemporary jazz and pop music that I first drew me to the saxophone - both melodies and solos!
For the first 8 years I took lessons out of Rick's house. I have since moved to Florida and have been taking lessons with Rick online for the past 2 years. What's incredible about Rick's plan is that his online instruction is equally as effective as taking classes in his house and my playing continues to improve at a rapid pace. I would strongly encourage anyone who is serious about learning to play hip, soulful and groovin' music to get in touch Rick and get started on his plan. My one regret is not starting with Rick sooner!
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