HOME LESSONS ABOUT US POLICIES & RATES PLAYING OPPORTUNITIES FAQS

If you are ready to start with San Diego Saxophone Lessons, but have a few more questions, check the list below or you can always email me.

I’ve never played an instrument and don’t read music. Do I need to read music?
I teach all levels of students, including absolute beginners with no experience reading. To play a wind instrument, reading is considered essential. I will get you started on learning music notation from the ground-up.

 

What ages do you teach?
My studio has a broad range of age groups! Generally, I recommend waiting until age 11 or 12 to start playing the saxophone family (take piano or clarinet if you are younger). The oldest students I’ve taught have been in their early 70s and have really enjoyed playing sax.

 

Do you give on-line lessons via Skype or Facetime?
We do give online lessons for those who are out of the area. It can be a great help for intermediate or advanced students. Online lessons are not recommended for beginning saxophonists.

 

I already play gigs and play by ear. What can we work on?
There are a lot of self-taught saxophone players on the scene who mostly play by relying on their ear. After years of playing, sometimes our style gets stale and we need to go back to the well of creativity. I can help you move forward with great practice strategies and straight forward music theory ideas that you can use on the gig to expand your palate of sound.

 

Where is your studio located?
We’re based at The Windsmith in North Park. It is very central and easy to access from the 163, 8, and 805.

Do you travel for lessons?
Sorry, not at this time. All lessons are at The Windsmith in North Park.

 

What if I need to cancel my session?
Emergencies do happen and sometimes plans change. I will be as accommodating as I can in re-scheduling your lesson, but must charge a 100% cancellation fee if you cancel within 24 hours of your lesson. If you cancel early, I’ll offer you a makeup session which must be scheduled within one month. 

I’m a working musician, and on occasion; I may have to change your lessons date/time. I will only do this if I can give you at least 24 hours’ notice. See more in Policies & Rates.

 

How often do I need a lesson?
This depends on your ability and level of commitment. Once per week is ideal (and essential for beginners). Occasionally, advanced students who are motivated practicers will come in about once a month for an intensive lesson that is more like a master class. This can work well if you have an excellent work ethic and already are discovering your voice on the instrument.

 

Where can I buy a saxophone, and what do you recommend?
Emergencies do happen and sometimes plans change. I will be as accommodating as I can in re-scheduling your lesson, but must charge a 100% cancellation fee if you cancel within 24 hours of your lesson. If you cancel early, I’ll offer you a makeup session which must be scheduled within one month. 

 

What if I need to cancel my session?
Emergencies do happen and sometimes plans change. I will be as accommodating as I can in re-scheduling your lesson, but must charge a 100% cancellation fee if you cancel within 24 hours of your lesson. If you cancel early, I’ll offer you a makeup session which must be scheduled within one month. 

 

Where can I buy a saxophone, and what do you recommend?
All beginners start on the alto saxophone. Used instruments are usually a good bet and a great cost savings. Saxophones have a useful life of 100 years or more. Beware of music store rental type horns and all cheap “no-name” Asian (Chinese-made) instruments. Like a bad car, these horns will quickly cost you more than they are worth in repairs. Please email me for more info if you are purchasing a sax.

 

How long does it take to learn saxophone?
Music is a physical activity, and just like a professional athlete we must practice constantly to keep our muscles and reflexes in working order. I recommend practicing every day while taking one day off per week to absorb what you have learned. Learning and memory is all about repetition, so the more time logged on your instrument, the better. It is also beneficial to space-out smaller practice sessions (three 30 minute sessions throughout the day instead of an hour-and-a-half marathon session).

Please read this practice policy that I borrowed from pianist Mike Springer’s website:

Musical study is a discipline. As in any discipline (karate, ballet, etc), hard work is required to achieve expected results. I will strive to make learning as fun and enjoyable as possible. It should be noted, however, that practicing is not always fun or easy, but it is a task which must be performed routinely and correctly. My studio holds the philosophy that practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. A student's style of practice is at least as important as the amount of time they spend at the instrument. Quality will always prevail over quantity. I cannot guarantee the same degree of success with each student any more than a coach can with a group of athletes. I can only guarantee that if the student and parent will strive with me to achieve success, a certain degree of success and enormous satisfaction will result!


How much should I practice?
Practice outside of lessons is essential if you wish to move forward on a lesson-by-lesson basis. In my experience; 10-25 minutes per day is good. Regardless of available time, the main thing is to make your practice productive, and fun. We will talk more about this during your lessons.

Music is a physical activity, and just like a professional athlete we must practice constantly to keep our muscles and reflexes in working order. I recommend practicing every day while taking one day off per week to absorb what you have learned.  We will talk more about this during your lessons.

 

What reeds should I buy?
For the average novice to intermediate player, the best bet is Vandoren Blue Box #2.5s or #3s. However, this is extremely subjective. For more advanced players, we will discuss all things ‘reed’ during your lesson.

 

What are your qualifications?
I hold both Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in saxophone performance and have had the good fortune of studying with some of the foremost saxophonists in the U.S. I’ve also been teaching, performing, and recording since 1997. I currently am on faculty at USD and Mesa College, and teach in a more limited capacity at numerous local high schools, workshops, and camps. For more info, feel free to have a look at my resume.

 

Can you provide references and do you have a current background check?
You can read some testimonials from students on the Lessons page or on Yelp. Through my work with Mesa College, USD, Francis Parker School, and San Dieguito School District, I’m required to stay current on numerous background checks.

 

 

 


iantordellamusic@gmail.com


THE WINDSMITH
2875 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104


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