SAXOPHONE STUDY

at the

University of Washington

School of Music

 

Michael S. Brockman, Faculty

o Private studio instruction in classical and jazz saxophone

o Alto, Tenor, Soprano, and Baritone

o Saxophone Quartet

o Studio Jazz Ensemble

o Modern Band (avant-garde jazz)

o UW Wind Ensemble

o Jazz Combos 1-6

o University Symphonic Band, Concert Band

o Training in arranging and writing for saxophone

and more!

 

Saxophonists can find outstanding opportunities to develop their professional careers at the UW School of Music. The UW saxophone studio is a select group of dedicated musicians who work together to share ideas and to challenge one another, building their individual talents as soloists, ensemble players, and leaders.

Saxophone students at UW are trained to perform in classical, jazz, and modern performance styles. They graduate with the technique, flexibility, and musical depth to pursue any musical goal of their choosing. Alumni of the UW saxophone studio are currently performing throughout the U.S. in jazz groups, rock bands, symphonic and chamber groups, and as classical recitalists. Many have also built active teaching careers in public schools, as private studio instructors, as writers/arrangers, as conductors, and as recording studio engineers.

Degrees offered for saxophonists at the UW School of Music include the Bachelor of Music (classical performance or jazz studies), the Bachelor of Arts (weighted toward liberal arts studies), the Master of Music (weighted toward classical music), and the Doctor of Musical Arts (weighted toward classical music)

Solo concert literature is strongly emphasized in the UW sax studio for classical performance majors. It is included to a lesser degree in the program of study for jazz studies majors as a solid means of building excellent technical control over all ranges of the instrument. Students are prepared in traditional French and American concert repertoire, plus 20th and 21st-century works employing contemporary techniques such as multiphonics, quarter-tones, and altissimo register notes.

Jazz Saxophonists have opportunities to build their skills as improvisers both in private instruction with Michael Brockman, and through a two-year sequence of jazz improvisation classes. Courses in arranging, composition, conducting, and MIDI techniques are also offered, and highly recommended, for the musician who wants to open the greatest number of opportunities in his/her professional life.

Alto, tenor, soprano, and baritone saxophone are all taught in the studio, and ensemble opportunities are numerous for each. Students are required to become proficient on both the alto and the tenor, and should plan to own both instruments before their final year. Students are also required to become proficient on the clarinet, and flute.

Brockman works at times as a professional composer and arranger. While these are not considered a traditional part of saxophone instruction, a substantial amount of time is spent (over the course of a degree program) introducing students to writing for the saxophone and other instruments in both jazz and contemporary/modern genres. Many UW saxophone students have discovered that they have hidden skills in writing music that can help them achieve their career goals.

 

AUDITIONS 

Admission to a degree program or to private saxophone instruction in the School of Music is by audition. The number of open slots for new saxophone students is limited, and competition is traditionally very high to get into the program. It is recommended that you contact Professor Brockman by email during the fall term, one full year prior to the term you wish to begin study at the UW, to inform him of your intent to apply, and to confer about audition pieces you will play.

All applicants are encouraged to provide Professor Brockman with a resume (REQUIRED for all graduate applicants) listing your musical activities, professional accomplishments, recordings, and significant performances. Be sure to include any non-saxophone related activities, such compositions you have written, conducting activities, travels, and any other things you feel make you an interesting person.

Auditions last less than 15 minutes per students, and this is not a very long time for our faculty to evaluate all aspects of a person's playing abilities and musicianship. You are therefore encouraged to submit to professor Brockman a CD record or 2-3 MP3 files demonstrating other aspects of your musicianship. You can submit recordings you have made with special ensembles, pieces you have written, musical genres that aren't being included in your audition (such as rock or folk), performances on other members of the saxophone family, etc.

 

AUDITION REQUIREMENTS: CLASSICAL SAXOPHONE

If you are an auditioning high school saxophonist, you must prepare the chromatic scale and all 12 major scales and 12 melodic minor scales (extended through the ENTIRE range of your instrument) plus 3-4 movements selected from a solo sonata or concerto written for saxophone (with piano accompaniment). Excellent examples of literature appropriate for undergraduate auditions include the Creston Sonata, the Bernard Heiden Sonata, the Villa Lobos Fantasia, the Tcherepnine Sonata Sportive, the Maurice Tableaux de Provence, and the piano/sax reductions of the Ibert Concertino da Camera, the Glazounov Concerto, and the Dubois Concerto. You may also be asked to sight read some music that tests your ability to read arpeggios, rhythms and accidentals.

If you are an auditioning for entrance as a graduate student, you must prepare 2 or more complete sonatas or concertos, plus a contrasting work showing added versatility. You must also submit a complete repertoire list of all works performed in concert. Standard pieces that are played by underclassmen (such as the Ibert, Creston and Glazounov) can be acceptable for auditions into a graduate performance program, but it is recommended that you choose pieces that are more challenging and show advanced training in technique and phrasing, as well as some extended techniques (such as altissimo, multiphonics, microtones, mixed meters, etc.).

 

AUDTITION REQUIREMENTS: JAZZ SAXOPHONE

Undergraduate applicants to the Jazz Studies degree should come prepared to perform three contrasting jazz pieces from memory, demonstrating interpretive and improvisatory skills. You should play the melody, and then improvise a solo for 3-4 choruses over the chord changes. The three pieces should be 1) a jazz standard in swing time, 2) a blues, and 3) a ballad. To play these three pieces, you should bring some play-along CDs with you. We will provide a stereo sound system with CD player. Of course, if you want to bring along a rhythm section to accompany you in place of the CDs, that is an option, and it may help you to play a better audition. Excellent jazz pieces for auditions include Just Friends, Oleo, On Green Dolphin Street, I Can't Get Started, Have You Met Miss Jones, Body and Soul, Lover Man, Cherokee, All the Things You Are, and Invitation.

Alternatively, you can play two jazz tunes plus a transcription of an improvised jazz solo recorded by a major artist. Bring in a transcription that you have done of a solo that was recorded by a jazz master, providing us 4-5 copies of the written solo, and then play the solo note-for-note along with the original CD recording. Transcription must be done by the individual student applicant, and not taken from a commercially published book or other source.

Be prepared to sight read some music that we will choose, and be prepared to play your chromatic scale and all 12 major scales and 12 melodic minor scales (extended through the ENTIRE range of your instrument).

Graduate student applicants: The UW jazz studies Masters degree program emphasizes both performance and composition. You should include in your audition pieces that demonstrate your advanced skills as an improviser and as a writer.

FOR THOSE WHO PLAY BOTH CLASSICAL AND JAZZ

Applicants can audition on saxophone for entrance into both the jazz studies program and the classical performance program. This requires two separate auditions. If you gain admission into both programs, then you will have to choose one as your main area of focus for your degree. You cannot officially remain a candidate in both degree programs (however, you can switch between them in a later year, if you change your mind). Regardless of which degree you are earning, you are always free to audition for, and participate in any ensemble within the school, and you are encouraged to study both jazz and classical techniques on the saxophone throughout your degree program.

Admission into either the jazz or classical saxophone program is highly competitive--neither one is easier to get into than the other. So, you should initially focus your attention on playing your very best audition in the style that represents your best skills. Only if you feel you are equally accomplished in both jazz and classical should you sign up to audition for both areas.

A recommended path for the person with skills in both areas is to play a live audition in your STRONGEST style, and then leave a recording with Professor Brockman showing your skills in the other area. This may give you the advantage of having your broader skills considered in your admissions evaluation.

ADVICE FOR APPLICANTS IN MUSIC ED (Bachelor Degree Level)

If you are a saxophonist and want to pursue a Bachelor of Music Education, or any of the other non-performance degrees at the UW School of Music, then your entrance audition will normally be in the area of classical saxophone.

If your strongest skills are in jazz music, you should play two separate auditions: one for jazz and one for classical. The reason for this is that there are an equal number the spots for jazz saxophone students and classical saxophone students, but the Jazz Studies Division tries only to admit students who will be Jazz Studies Majors (that is, students pursuing an actual jazz studies degree). In the classical woodwinds division, they admit a student for any of the degree programs (performance, music ed, ethnomusicology, composition) based on how well the student auditions. However, you must have advanced skills in classical saxophone in order to compete for one of those spots.

SCHOLARSHIPS

School of Music Scholarship auditions take place each January at the UW School of Music. Both classical and jazz saxophonists have received excellent awards of scholarship assistance in recent years. Awards are made on the basis of talent, with consideration given to the current personnel needs of the UW Wind Ensemble and Studio Jazz Ensemble. Instrumental music scholarships are awarded based on the quality of the audition you play at the January/February auditions here on the UW campus, and most students get under $1000 per year, but some get much more.

GRADUATE TEACHING ASSISTANTSHIPS

The UW does not currently have any graduate teaching assistantships in the applied saxophone program, though some do exist in the Jazz Studies program, and inquiries regarding this should be made directly to the department chair of the Jazz Studies Division.  

 OUT-OF-STATE TUITION WAIVERS

Waivers of out-of-state tuition are possible, but they are not easy to get--and the normally go to people who play exceptional auditions and have qualified for large scholarships of around $3000 as well.  You may well be among those people, but you must play a very high level audition.

 

ABOUT MICHAEL BROCKMAN

Michael Brockman is an active classical recitalist and professional jazz performer in Seattle. He holds a Doctor or Musical Arts from the UW, a Master of Music with Distinction from the New England Conservatory, and received undergraduate training at the Berklee College of Music (jazz studies), the Musikhochschule Koln in Cologne, West Germany (composition), and Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon (classical studies). He has premiered large solo works by David Arends, Walter Hartley, James Beale, Richard Karpen, Gilbert Seeley and Susan Calkins, and presented West coast premieres of works by Gunther Schuller and David Maslanka. He has also composed and premiered several of his own solo works for saxophone.

Brockman is the co-director of the award-winning Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra (named "Northwest Best Acoustic Jazz Ensemble" in 2005) which is widely acclaimed for its authentic performances of rare and often unpublished works by jazz music's greatest composers, including the annual performance of the Duke Ellington Sacred Concerts (now in its 21st year). Brockman can be heard as a soloist and section leader on the SRJO compact discs "SRJO Live" released in June 2002 (Origin Records 82399), ), "The Endless Search" released in 2010 (Origin Records 82565), "Kansas City Suite" released Novemebr 2014, and "Sacred Music of Duke Ellington" released in December 2005 (Origin Records 82456). Much of the repertoire for this ensemble must be transcribed by Michael Brockman from original recordings. Brockman has specialized in the study of early jazz works for over 20 years.

Brockman appears regularly in Seattle with his own jazz quartet, and with the Clarence Acox Sextet, which received awards for the 1992 Best Acoustic Jazz Group, and the 1992 Best NW Recording from Seattle's Earshot Jazz Magazine. He has also performed as saxophone soloist with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and the Pacific Northwest Ballet, and can be heard on CD recordings with the Seattle Symphony (Shostakovich AR 037-2) and seen television film documentaries with the Seattle Symphony. He is featured on two Clarence Acox Sextet CDs, titled Joanna's Dance (1991) and Indigenous Groove (1992), on the RSA Big Band CD released in 1991 titled The Suspect, and the Centaur recording Composers in the Computer Age. He is also heard as the soprano saxophone soloist on the MGM film "Zeus and Amanda."

Brockman has been a featured soloist in the Dubrovnik Music Festival, the Reims Music festival, the Seattle Creative Music Series, the Stanford Computer Music Festival, the Bellevue Jazz Festival, the Gig Harbor Jazz Festival, and the 10th World Saxophone Congress. In 1998 he made a four-nation tour of Europe as soprano saxophone soloist with the internationally acclaimed Oregon Repertory Singers.

While on the East coast, he was a member of the George Russell Big Band, and the renowned Medium Rare Big Band of Boston. He has performed with the Bolshoi Ballet, and with jazz greats Clark Terry, James Moody, Quincy Jones, Jimmy Heath, Frank Foster, Frank Wess, and Arturo Sandoval, pianist/singer Harry Connick, Jr., jazz pianist Jaki Byard, singers Joe Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, John Hendricks, Ernestine Anderson, Diane Shuur, the Temptations, the Four Tops, and the O'Jays.

Brockman the faculty member at the University of Washington in 1987. He instructs concert and jazz saxophone, jazz arranging and composition, improvisation, and ensembles. He studied saxophone and clarinet performance with Joseph Allard in Boston and New York, with Joe Viola and George Garzone at Berklee, and Jerry D. Luedders in Oregon. From 1982-87 he was Director of Jazz Studies/Professor of Saxophone at Shenandoah University in Virginia. Dr. Brockman is a soloist/clinician for the Selmer Company.

 

PUBLISHED INTERVIEWS AND ARTICLES

Several lengthy interviews and articles about Michael Brockman have been published in recent years:

-Saxophone Journal (Sept 1999) Cover Story "Michael Brockman" (by Dr. Boyd Phelps)

-Jazz Steps Magazine (Sept 2002) "Michael Brockman: SRJO Director a Study in Saxophonesque" Part I (by Norm Bobrow)

-Jazz Steps Magazine (Oct 2002) "Michael Brockman: SRJO Director a Study in Saxophonesque" Part II (by Norm Bobrow)

-Earshot Magainzine (Sept. 2002) "The Great American Orchestra" (by Todd Matthews)

-"An Interview with Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra's Michael Brockman" (by Todd Matthews, Sept 2002) available online at http://www.wahmee.com/brockman.html

 

INFORMATION/APPLICATION

For further information about admission and scholarships, or to obtain application materials, contact:

Office of Undergraduate and Graduate Advising

School of Music Box 353450

University of Washington

Seattle, WA 98195

Telephone (206) 543-1239

 

GUEST APPEARANCES

The UW School of Music is happy to make available Mr. Brockman's services to your school as a clinician, adjudicator, and performer:

- Saxophone Soloist with Concert Band

- Saxophone Soloist with Orchestra

- Jazz Soloist with Jazz Ensemble

- Michael Brockman/Lisa Bergman Duo in concert

- Saxophone Master Classes and Clinics (to discuss reeds, equipment, practice techniques, proper playing)

- Jazz Improvisation Clinics (a hands-on approach)

- Jazz Ensemble Rehearsal/Clinics (to help your band get ready for a special concert, or gear-up for a festival)

Repertoire

- with concert band: Maslanka Concerto; Dahl Concerto; Husa Concerto; Benson Aeolian Song; Jager Concerto

- with orchestra: Dubois Concerto; Ibert Concertino da Camera (for chamber orchestra or larger); Glazounov Concerto; Villa Lobos Fantasia (for strings, 3 horns and percussion)

- with jazz ensemble: select from 15 pieces collected to feature Brockman (including Lush Life, Mellotone, New Blues, and others) or any piece currently being prepared by your big band or combo.

To arrange a clinic or performance in your school, call Michael Brockman directly at the UW School of Music:

Tel: 206-616-6209

Fax: 206-685-9499

email: brockman@u.washington.edu