Indiana University

Department of Woodwinds

Saxophone Area

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How many saxophone students are there at Indiana University?

A. Typically there are 35 to 40 music major saxophonists.

Q. How many saxophonists audition for admission each year and how many are accepted?

A.  In recent years, as many as 90 saxophone students audition for Indiana University each year. For this reason, we are now requiring all auditioning students to send a screening CD. In-person auditions will be by invitation based on the recording. The number of students admitted each year varies from approximately 15 to 25.  The number of new students who enroll each year varies from approximately 7 to 15.

Q. Do all students study with faculty or do some study with a graduate assistant?

A. Currently all students do study with faculty each week. At times, we have had some freshmen and sophomores spend 30 minutes each week with an Associate Instructor and 30-60 minutes with a faculty member.  All students attend master classes with faculty members as well.

Q. Are there guest artists that visit IU?

A. We have had numerous high-profile guest artists representing both classical and jazz idioms.  Classical guest artists have included Joseph Lulloff, Jean-Yves Fourmeau, Yoshiyuki Hattori, William Street and Jean-Marie Londeix, Joseph Wytko, the Zagreb Saxophone Quartet, and Nobuya Sugawa. Jazz guest artists have included David Liebman, Greg Osby, Dick Oatts, Joshua Redman, Chris Potter, Kenny Garrett, Jim Snidero, Eric Alexander, Ron Blake, and Tony Dagradi.  The jazz department is able to bring in several guest artists each year by collaborating with the local jazz society, Jazz from Bloomington, as well as other local/regional concert presenters.  Other guest artists have included John Scofield, Danilo Perez, John Abercrombie, Christian McBride, Dave Holland, Dave Douglas, David Berkman, Ingrid Jensen, Astral Project, and more.

Q. What do your students do once they leave IU?

A. Saxophonists who have attended the IU School of Music can be found around the world teaching, performing, and working in various facets of the music business. IU saxophonists are found in the top military bands (jazz and classical), in university teaching positions, touring as musicians playing in a variety of styles (jazz, classical, rock, etc.), playing on Broadway, touring with Broadway shows, teaching in the public schools, and working as free-lance musicians and private lesson teachers.

Q. What do you teach in your lessons?

Professor Murphy: I teach fundamentals; I focus on scales, scale patterns, tone production, vibrato, intonation, and articulation, as well as extended techniques.  Each week students prepare etudes and solo repertoire.  They regularly prepare repertoire with piano accompaniment.  Students also study orchestral excerpts, sight reading, and duets.  I play with the students often in their lessons. I feel it is important to emphasize that every student is taught as an individual.

Professor Walsh: My jazz students--in addition to focusing on fundamentals of the saxophone (tone, vibrato, articulation, and technical issues)--work on memorizing jazz tunes, transcribing solos by master players, sightreading, styles (jazz, classical, rock, funk, etc.), classical etudes and pieces, technical materials (scales, arpeggios, and other patterns), ear training, and various improvisational concepts.  Aside from developing a strong foundation on the saxophone, I feel that one of the most important things for me to teach my students is the essence of the creative process--in other words, how to develop an individual voice.

Q. Are there saxophone master classes?

A. Yes. Professor Murphy teaches regular classical master classes and Professor Walsh teaches regular jazz master classes.  Master classes are an opportunity for students to perform for each other and for faculty and students to give presentations on special topics such as reed working, repertoire, saxophone history, etc.