[Report] Pedagogical Meetings for the Saxophone 2022
The evolution of teaching and transmission
Claude DELANGLE - Professor at the Paris Conservatory
After a concert by the Versailles ensemble, Claude Delangle inaugurated the day of interventions by evoking the close links between his pedagogy and the spaces which saw him evolve.
“When I was appointed, the Paris Conservatory was still located rue de Madrid, and I spent my first two years of teaching in the building on rue d'Édimbourg, where we felt like musical pariahs! So I lived intensely the move to La Villette in 1991, and it is in the new building designed by Christian de Portzamparc that my teaching took shape, in these classrooms, rehearsal or production rooms with their ever-changing geometries, in these musical streets and convivial spaces. On a deeper level, the mission I had set myself to renew the repertoire, to solicit the creativity of the artists entrusted to me, found an extremely favorable framework in this architecture.”
Seven directors succeeded one another during his activity in Paris. Each one has given a new impetus to the higher education establishment.
Claude Delangle also noted how the proliferation of international competitions affects teaching.
Finally, he emphasized the social role of the performer-teacher, "missionary" of music. Today, the durability of the vision of art, and of music in particular, in all its existential reality is at stake. This is the only dimension that can still alarm the political personnel about its necessity in our societies in search of meaning.
Trends: figures, teachers and students
Thomas LEHEMBRE - Director of the Municipal School of Music of Hem in the Hauts de France
Following Covid, Thomas has seen a gloomy atmosphere settle in. For him, it is important to get the students back into the habit of going on stage, because digital services have increased during this period, making it possible to continue classes with the students.
He conducted a survey to present us with some figures on the numbers of music school teachers and students:
- 50% of the schools have seen their enrollment increase since the health crisis.
- 40% of the schools have had stable staffing levels since the health crisis.
- 47% of the teams are recruited with difficulty, which raises the question of who is trained and the direction to follow.
- 12% of students have been lost for the majority of the schools. Nevertheless, the number gained is higher.
Higher education: history, syllabus and perspectives
Gilles TRESSOS - Professor and coordinator of the Aliénor higher education center
Jean-Charles RICHARD - Head of the specialized jazz and improvised music class at the CRR of Paris
Gilles and Jean-Charles talked about the transformations in higher education. At the beginning, France was a pilot in musical education but the creation of art schools in other countries marked a fracture with our country. The diplomas were not international and not recognized worldwide. The Bologna process was the starting point for these changes. Four countries came together to create a European higher education area…
Originally, France had a very centralizing organization with the Conservatories being defined as a branch. In the 1980's, awareness was raised and this gradually led to a stronger territorial concern.
Sylvain MALEZIEUX - Saxophone teacher at the Conservatoire of Evreux
Thomas DHUVETTERE - Saxophone teacher at the CRD of Alençon
Sylvain & Thomas have chosen to create a private structure with a follow-up and a particular attention for adult amateur musicians: Musiques à brac. The objective: to create a pedagogical offer (training course, online courses) for adults who are sometimes isolated in their artistic practice.
The association, created fifteen years ago, organizes several workshops in France, originally intended for adult amateur saxophonists and today also accessible to clarinettists. The workshops welcome amateur musicians of all levels and backgrounds (including beginners), and thus offer a complement or alternative to music school courses that are sometimes more difficult for adults to access.
Jérôme LARAN - Professor at the Conservatoire du Centre et du 12e arrondissement de Paris and President of ASAX
Created in 1977 by Jean-Marie Londeix, ASAX supports and organizes numerous competitions in France. Its objective is reaching out to young people and to involve them in the influence of the saxophone. Last March, ASAX organized the National Interpretation Competition for Young Saxophonists, the final of which was held with the Republican Guard Band.
Philippe GEISS - Professor at the CRR of Strasbourg & Instructor at the CNSMDP for hybrid teaching
If the first form of distance learning dates back to the 19th century with courses by mail, since the Covid health crisis, distance learning courses are more and more used.
Philippe Geiss presented doozzoo, a software designed by musicians for musicians. Doozzoo benefits from practical tools, exchanges are fast, the aspect of the course is lively and the audio quality is irreproachable.
This application is free for students. Each of them has a media library where their file is located, which allows the teacher to send scores and other documents. In addition, doozzoo has several subscription options to suit the needs and desires of all teachers.
Feel free to view the démo.
Valentine MICHAUD - Teacher at the Conservatoire Populaire de Musique de Genève
Valentine talks about her experience and wonders how to prepare students for a career start. According to her, the fact of being a profile that allows one to manage to make it through is not sufficiently addressed during the teaching.
The saxophonist evokes the concept of the “Artist statement”, an artistic approach, a text in which one must be able to talk about oneself, to find the words for one's practice. This text is the first interlocutor between an artist and his public. It answers the questions: Why do I play this music? Why this repertoire? Why do I get up in the morning and play the saxophone? The goal is to create a starting point for one's career because being the best saxophonist in the world is not enough… One must stand out.
Valentine Michaud encourages teachers to encourage their students to take multiple courses to create a concrete plan. Students need to learn how to build their resume, a portfolio, present their project… So many things that are not part of the qualifications of saxophone teachers.
Women's place in teaching and in the musical world
Eva BARTHAS - Saxophonist at the French Republican Guard Band
Lisa CAT-BERRO - Saxophonist, composer and arranger
There is a gender imbalance in the teaching and playing of the saxophone which raises questions about the place of women in the musical world.
The proportion of girls to boys in the schools is rather balanced in the beginners' classes or the first cycles. On the other hand, the higher the level and the more professional, the more imbalance is created.
Since this imbalance has been present for many years, some institutions are trying to change the situation by putting new systems in place. For example, the competition to join the Republican Guard Band is held behind a screen.
Historically, because of a societal anchoring, the saxophone may have been considered gendered. It was not appropriate for a woman to play the saxophone. In the face of inappropriate behaviour and harassment, Eva and Lisa point to apps and podcasts where women testify, helping to free up speech.
“Although things are changing, there is still a long way to go. Men have the luxury of thinking that if they're where they are it's only because of their talent, it would only be fair that the same be true for women.”
The triangle of efficiency
Christophe BOIS - Professor of saxophone at the Conservatory of Tours and author of pedagogical books published by Lemoine
During his intervention, Christophe shares with us his analysis on reading. The objective: to improve reading, to become aware of the different memories.
First of all, we must understand how the eye works. During a reading, the eye is fixed 90% of the time: the eye fixes, recognizes and continues. It will thus fix itself on another point and so on. It captures the maximum number of elements it needs. Christophe talks about anticipation: this is an exercise consisting of hiding a part of the score and when a new part is revealed, the part that has just been hidden must be repeated out loud. The global method consists in learning the word as a whole, there is an analogy with music.
Christophe discusses the different types of memories (short term and long term) and their impact. There is an importance in repetition and it is important to work on the different memories (touch, hearing, sight). By using the other memories, we manage to be marked more deeply. You must organize your time and not hesitate to regularly change the subject and come back to it afterwards to remind yourself. This allows you to gain in efficiency and confidence.
Becoming a composer
Vincent DAVID - Professor at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels and composer
The musician could not be physically present at the event, so we broadcast his intervention on video.
Vincent David made the public aware of the importance of remaining in the artistic practice while teaching. According to him, it is not enough to reproduce a teaching, it is necessary to add a touch of creativity. Through his pedagogy, he tries to always remain in the realm of the artistic. Vincent regularly proposes to his students to create a personal project. This allows them to mirror their desires and gives them a more direct reflection on their music. He also encourages them to improvise, question themselves and reshape the music so that they can break away from basic interpretation.
“It's important to try and see if there's anything to say. Composition opens a door and makes the music more important because it becomes personal. Also, playing another instrument frees up more musical creativity.”
Learning better through self-hypnosis
Geoffrey SECCO - Musician, composer, coach, author, creator of concerts under hypnosis
There are several states of consciousness and we are not constantly in the same one. Meditation and hypnosis modify this state, allowing us to explore others. Hypnosis allows you to visualize your career and ask yourself what kind of artist you want to be.
We have about 95,000 thoughts every day. The vast majority of them are the same as the day before and the same as the day after. These thoughts come from our beliefs. Hypnosis allows us to ask ourselves, “What do I really want to think about?”
Several aspects influence our state: internal suggestions (what we are experiencing) and external suggestions (our vision, what is happening around us). These two factors act on our overall feeling. The objective is then to get in touch with our unconscious. This is possible thanks to our imagination. It modifies things that cannot be modified by reason.
Hypnosis is made up of sub-modalities that must be seen as metaphors. It is thus necessary to unroll the metaphor to go further and further. The colors that we attribute to our memories vary, for example, according to our feelings: a sad memory does not have the same colors as a happy one. Hypnosis allows us to transform a sad memory and to put it away in order to free ourselves from a weight.
The electric saxophone
Guillaume PERRET - Saxophonist, composer and arranger
After a superb musical performance, Guillaume tells us about his career: from jams in which he always wanted to surprise musicians to his experience as a teacher where he encourages students to be a force of proposal. Guillaume tells the story of his electric saxophone, of his systems allowing him to play an octave higher or lower, of his will to transform the warm sound of the saxophone through filters.
Built on the same system as the electric guitar, it is through research and encounters that Guillaume was able to perfect his electric saxophone. His collaboration with Henri SELMER Paris allowed him to install a rod in which the electric wires pass. He also had a light installed in his instrument that reacts to sounds and allows some staging.
With his saxophone, his wish is to imitate the other instruments. He has never tried to learn another instrument or to orient himself towards another model of saxophone.
He is not only looking to innovate, he wants to do something personal. Guillaume draws his inspiration from everywhere, from all registers and from all eras.
During workshops, he tries to transmit to his students his vision of music, but also the fact that everyone has his own way of practicing music.
See you in 2024 for the next edition!