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About
the Studio

The Hartt Saxophone Studio, under the direction of Professor Carrie Koffman, is comprised of undergraduate and graduate students from across the United States and abroad. Members of the Hartt Saxophone Studio pursue the following majors:

 

Undergraduate

Saxophone Performance

Music Education

Music Production and Technology

Acoustical Engineering and Music

Music Composition

Music Management

*Double majors are also possible.

Graduate

MM-Master of Music

DMA-Doctor of Musical Arts

GPD-Graduate Professional Diploma

AD-Artist Diploma

*All graduate degrees are in Saxophone Performance,

although some select double degrees are also possible.

Hartt saxophonists perform extensively both on and off campus in a wide range of venues. Examples of off campus performances include international and national conferences and competitions such as the World Saxophone Congress, the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial and Region Conferences, the International Navy Band Saxophone Symposium, the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and the Music Teacher’s National Association Solo and Chamber Music Competitions. Community engagement concerts include libraries, museums, places of business, arts organizations, retirement communities, nursing homes, and public and private schools. Additional off campus performances take place in local professional orchestras, jazz bands and musical theater pits.

 

On campus, we present an annual studio concert series consisting of four concerts: Happy Birthday Adolphe Sax in November, ‘Tis the Season in December, Hartt by Heart with Heart in February, and Spring Fling in April. Members of the Hartt Saxophone Studio perform regularly with the Hartt Omni Ensemble (an ensemble with flexible instrumentation assigned by artistic project), Foot in the Door (contemporary ensemble), musical theater productions, as well as with the Hartt Saxophone Ensemble, in saxophone quartets, mixed chamber music, and solo recitals.  

 

Hartt saxophonists participate regularly in master classes given by both saxophonists and non-saxophonists, including guests hosted by our studio as well as through our Garmany Chamber Music Series. 

The vast majority of alumni are employed in the field. Their careers are varied, ranging from a performer who has been on five Grammy nominated albums, university professors, military band musicians, acoustical engineers, elementary, middle and high school music educators, a Big Ten marching band director, freelance musicians, musical theater pit orchestra performers, recording engineers, professional orchestra administrators, private studio teachers, composers, community ensemble conductors, a full time Disneyland musician, a full time member of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and a music librarian.

Why Choose Hartt?

INTRODUCTION

 

When you choose to study music at The Hartt School, you have committed to pursuing excellence in this field. Regardless of your degree plan, it is essential that you become the best musician possible.  Generally, this will be achieved through performance on your principle instrument first.

PHILOSOPHY: WHY STUDY SAXOPHONE?

 

Music is everywhere; it's found in every culture and in every time. Human beings seem to need it to give meaning to their world, as well as to express their ideas, their soul – their individuality. Music is a significant component of the very identity of individuals and cultures. It's also a unique potential in each person, a separate intelligence or mode of cognitive functioning. So, each person has the potential not only to experience and enjoy music, but also to achieve in musical ways. And heightened achievement (from formal learning, among other things) leads to greater fulfillment in life through music. Achieving in music, or doing music, requires a medium of some sort. Singing is most basic, but people have created many different instruments to use as an outlet for expressing their musical ideas; the saxophone is often recognized as the wind instrument closest to the human voice. The better you play, according to the technical and expressive standards of our culture, the more fulfillment is possible. Hence the emphasis on achieving the highest possible performance level during your time at The Hartt School.

GOAL

 

When you study music at The Hartt School as a saxophonist, I will work with you to help you realize your full musical potential, regardless of which degree plan you are pursuing. Achieving artistry requires desire, curiosity, persistence and a commitment to the educational process. Fulfilling required course work can be considered a foundation to an education, but the study of any art is a lifelong endeavor. My goal is to teach you in such a way that you develop musical independence. I will help you acquire the insight to be able to ask questions, and look for and find answers on your own. Ultimately, you must learn to teach yourself. I will guide you in this process, and provide support, encouragement and instruction during your time at Hartt. I strive to create an environment that stresses individual attention and develops positive personal relationships with other students, faculty, and professional musicians to further your music career both here and beyond.

SAXOPHONE STUDIO STRUCTURE

 

Applied Lessons

 

Applied lessons are the backbone of a comprehensive music education in all degrees. We will focus on using the saxophone as a vehicle for musical expression and on learning to control the instrument in a way that will expand your palette of musical choices. You should learn to demonstrate the following on your major instrument:

 

* Perform with a unique yet acceptable timbre.

* Perform in tune.

* Perform with excellent rhythmic accuracy.

* Perform standard repertoire with technical mastery.

* Perform within stylistic parameters.

* Perform with color and dynamics.

* Perform with understanding of the compositional process.

* Project your unique feelings about the music to a listener.

(with acknowledgement to Donald Sinta)

 

As saxophonists we have the privilege of a history that began with French military bands and proceeded to incorporate several genres of music: classical, jazz, commercial, pop, etc. The diversity inherent in our instrument provides us with unique and extensive challenges, but also great rewards. Ultimately, great musical experiences are the same regardless of the musical genre. This involves being in the moment and staying present in the creative process. The higher the level of control that you achieve over the executive skills necessary to play the instrument, the greater the degree of freedom you will have to make unique, creative choices about the music you wish to play. As with everything in life, this is a constantly shifting balance – yin/yang, positive/negative, control/freedom. The lifelong striving is toward complete mastery, which allows for complete freedom of expression. In the practice of yoga, “Perfection in an asana (pose) is achieved when the effort to perform it becomes effortless and the infinite being within is reached.” – Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 2.47. This is also the ultimate goal of musical performance.

Large Ensemble

Large ensembles (Wind Ensembles, Bands, and Jazz Bands) are essential to a well-balanced musical curriculum. You will have opportunities to apply what you have learned in lessons, learn ensemble performance skills, and to observe rehearsals from a pedagogical standpoint.

Chamber Music

 

Saxophone quartet is our primary chamber ensemble, although we use other instrumentations as well. Chamber music requires soloistic playing, as musical parts are independent and exposed. In addition to a unique set of musical skills, these ensembles serve as a microcosm for learning relationship skills essential for most aspects of both professional and personal life.

Saxophone Ensemble

 

This ensemble is a cross between a large ensemble and a chamber music group. Sometimes we will use a conductor, but usually we won’t. A variety of repertoire and performance opportunities will be explored. This gives saxophonists the opportunity to study and experience repertoire that we have no other way to engage with since we do not play an orchestral instrument.

Saxophone Studio Class

 

This class is part of Applied Lessons. It is where you perform your assignments given in Applied Lessons. We meet as a studio and perform for each other. Through this process we develop critical listening skills, teaching skills, learn how to speak and write about music, learn from guest artists, and cover topics of mutual interest and concern.

Saxophone Technique Class

 

While I refer to this a class, it is not a separate class. It is a group practice session. It is integrated with Applied Lessons and specific assignments are completed in this environment. The purpose is to build awareness in all technical aspects of playing the saxophone. Your entire curriculum is built on the philosophy that more technique gives us more freedom. Technique by itself is meaningless. The goal of technique is to allow us freedom to make more creative and meaningful choices.

Mentoring

 

Every freshman and sophomore is paired with an upperclassman or graduate student on a two-week rotating basis. I believe in the effectiveness of, “Hear it. See it. Do it. Teach it.” In other words, as Einstein was known to have espoused, we don’t really know something until we can teach it to someone else. The more experienced students are gaining this experience while the younger students receive the benefit of additional instruction.

Music Education

 

At Hartt, we develop educated performers as well as performing educators. The vast majority of professional musicians teach and perform. Regardless of what musical avenue you end up pursuing, chances are you will end up teaching in some capacity. The performance standards on the saxophone are the same for all degree plans, although the quantity of repertoire and skills may vary. Courses in teaching are available in both the Music Education Division and the Instrumental Studies Division. Pedagogy is also addressed in Applied Lessons as it pertains to teaching oneself through the process of practicing.

The Saxophone Family

 

We are fortunate to play an instrument capable of a wide variety of colors and an enormous range, if the entire family is considered. The saxophone was originally invented in two sets, one in alternating keys of C and F for use in orchestras, and one in alternating keys of B-flat and E-flat for use in military bands. The C and F family is no longer used. As well-rounded saxophonists, performance skills on soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophone are all important. In general, applied lessons should be taken primarily on alto saxophone, as this is the instrument for which most of our significant repertoire has been written. The better the repertoire, the better the resulting musical experience. Skills learned on alto transfer to the other saxophones.

#HARTTEXCELLENCE

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University of Hartford

The Hartt School

200 Bloomfield Ave. West Hartford, CT 06117

Upcoming Performances

Hartt by Heart with Heart

Feb 9, 2020

Berkman Recital Hall |  2 PM

Spring Fling!

April 16, 2020

Berkman Recital Hall |  7:30 PM

© 2019 by Giovanna Virgil/Hartt Saxophone Studio

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