Monday, September 26, 2011

Méthode pour Étudier le Saxophone

Just finished re-reading this book by the eminent saxophonist Jean-Marie Londeix.  I studied with him one summer at the International Music Academy in Nice, France.  I’ve never seen anyone work as hard as he does. I am always inspired when reading his writings, or reading about his life and work.  James Umble’s biography of Londeix, Jean-Marie Londeix Master of the Modern Saxophone, is a very inspiring description of his busy musical life (see my review in volume 26 of The Saxophone Symposium).  As I stated in my review, the book was mesmerizing; I didn’t want to stop reading.  I was torn between not being able to put it down, and desperately wanting to go practice!!

Londeix’s Méthode pour Étudier le Saxophone was published in 1997. It is intended to guide the student of the saxophone to the appropriate study materials; it includes a few specific exercises, and some instruction on the basic approach to embouchure, holding the instrument, etc.  Included also, are nice annotated and graded lists of recommended etudes and repertoire. The volume concludes with “master classes” by Londeix on three works from the saxophone repertoire. These are very detailed performances notes on how to play extended passages from these works. In most cases he provides a paragraph or two on the interpretation of a measure or two of the musical text.  The works studied include: Bizet – L’Arlésienne Suite, Debussy – Rhapsodie, Milhaud – La Création du Monde.

Londeix includes some great tips for practicing intonation, finger speed, and tonguing. He also emphasizes the importance of the expressive element of music.  In his words, “To learn to breathe and to direct the air is more important than learning to play fast.”

Londeix, Jean-Marie.   
Méthode pour Étudier le Saxophone.  
Paris : Henri Lemoine, 1997.
84 pp. In French, Japanese, English, and Spanish.
Highly recommended.