Teaching

teachingOctober 2020 Update: Alex is currently available for private lessons taught via Zoom or Skype.

Alex has lots of  experience of teaching people of all ages, and of all levels, from beginners to semi-professional players both in person and online.

Whatever your age and level, feel free to get in touch for more information and to arrange a free consultation lesson. Alex currently offers lessons in saxophone and improvisation, beginner-intermediate jazz piano, jazz theory and harmony and composition.

As one of Alex’s great current students, Sam Edenborough, says of online lessons:

“When Alex and I had to switch to online lessons via Skype, I assumed they would inevitably be a less complete experience than in-person lessons. Instead, Alex has made a virtue of the technology we use, providing helpful links and notes in the chat, and we have had some fantastic sessions that are just as rich in content, inspiring and challenging as if we had met in person. I highly recommend his teaching through this medium.”

Alex gets a lot of fulfilment from his teaching endeavours;­ he is fascinated with how different people learn and progress and consequently seeks to adapt his teaching approach to that most fitting for each individual student.

Alex is also a visiting saxophone teacher at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and Jazz School UK.

Many of Alex’s private students have gone on to great things.­ He has had students study on the undergraduate jazz course at Trinity College of Music, The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and on the undergraduate and postgraduate jazz courses at The Guildhall School of Music. Students of his have also played with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, studied internationally with world renowned players such as Mark Turner and many of them are now exciting young players in their own right. Read his teaching testimonials below.

Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

Alex has been a visiting Saxophone teacher at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama for the past 7 years. As well as giving one to one lessons, Alex leads the Transcription and Analysis module, lectures in Linear Improvisation, Harmony within the single line and also leads classes in general musicianship and ear training to undergraduate and postgraduate students. Teaching at this level is a chance to impart more specialist, high level musical knowledge and Alex encourages students to explore the natural overlaps with areas of psychology, philosophy and spirituality as well as mathematics and scientific thinking that will frequently present themselves as students delve more deeply into music.

Alex is excited to see his students grow within music and to see the musical life at RWCMD and in Cardiff continue to flourish as a result of their dedicated work and input. Read the testimonials of some recent graduates of the RWCMD, and elsewhere, below:

Testimonials

Rachel Head, Alto Sax Class of 2018 graduate of the RWCMD

I studied with Alex for 4 years, and can safely say I learnt something new in every single lesson! His lessons covered a huge range of topics, from technique to transcription, and were always tailored to me and what I needed to work on. Not only this, but I always left his lessons knowing exactly how to apply what I had just learnt in to my own practice. Throughout my time studying with Alex, I was able to discover my own sound and work out how I want to progress as a musician, and for that I am very grateful!

Joshua Heaton, Tenor Sax Class of 2018 graduate of the RWCMD

I have lessons with Alex at the RWCMD in Cardiff and he always has a lot to give in both individual and group sessions. His classes focused on ear-training and transcription are having a big impact on all the students and his insistent focus, enthusiasm and love for music and practice are encouraging. He’ll always have something good to say about anything I take to his lessons, but he’s also sure to point out things that should be improved, and suggest clear methods of practice. He’s a great teacher and a lovely guy and has been really helpful for me and everyone at college.

Rob Griffin, Tenor Sax Graduate of the Trinity College of Music Jazz Course

I have been having lessons regularly with Alex for about a year now, he is a real teacher. His lessons are always different and he tailors them to the specific individual. We find something that I want to improve on and we will go step by step on how to practice it. If you go to a lesson with Alex with nothing in mind it is also not a problem as he will pull something out of the bag which will blow your mind! Improvisation, technique, sound, composition, harmony, rhythm, repertoire, anything you want to work on he can help. A teacher that I would recommend to everyone and will continue to have lessons with!

Matthew Grenz, Tenor Sax Graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama Jazz Course

When I first met Alex, my knowledge of jazz was very limited. I was very keen but was not that confident as an improviser. In two years of lessons Alex has managed to improve my work rate, my confidence as a soloist and has inspired me to pursue playing jazz as a career. I am about to start studying jazz saxophone at a conservatoire, a situation I would never have found myself in without Alex’s dedicated, enthusiastic and personal tutoring.

Beni Bienz, Tenor Sax 3rd year mechanical engineering student, Imperial college

Alex is unlike any music teacher I’ve had before. While many others stick to the tedium of soulless study pieces and the arduous climb up the music grade ladder, Alex offers an evolving and adaptable teaching scheme that focuses more accurately on what the pupil wants to learn. While of course teaching essential playing technique and theory, he encourages his students to guide the learning to cater to pieces or styles they are especially interested in.

Our lessons often touched on complex music theory, saxophone-­related physiology, novel scale exercises, jazz history, musical philosophy and about a million ways of hitting a ii-­V-­I progression in the space of an hour. However, he was also more than willing to slow down the pace anytime I had initial difficulty in a concept, ensuring I was understanding him at all times.To anyone serious about developing their jazz improvisational skills I recommend Alex above any other teacher I know.

Nadey Hakim, Alto Sax 60 years of age, Transplant Surgeon

I have enjoyed my Jazz lessons with Alex. His patience and support have allowed me to progress fairly quickly into the world of Jazz which always felt remote. His insistence on always using the metronome has been very helpful. I am very grateful to him.