Stan the Specialist

Stan's particular teaching interests are focused on the art and craft of jazz improvisation. In this area he has developed his own methodology from years of teaching experience. Stan's method does not involve the cop-that-lick approach of many internet muso 'experts'. Nor does he employ the chord/scale join-up-the-dots approach made famous by traditional jazz educationalists. In fact he sidesteps a lot of the theoretical chat and practical dead-ends that make learning to improvise normally such a depressing and frustrating task.

Stan's approach is a Direct Method founded on Active Hearing. Before he or she can play, a student needs to be able to hear. Before a student can hear, he or she needs to listen. Listening, in Stan's class, is meant in the widest possible sense and includes sounds of every kind - ambient, bodily, musical or imagined.

Once students gain some confidence in their ability to listen they are able to turn their aural attention to their own sound production on the saxophone. They move from simply listening to simply playing. Whatever comes out, comes out. Whatever is played, is right. It belongs simply to that moment and that space. It belongs simply to the student, because he or she lets it go. In the practical study of jazz improvisation the main teaching aids are good quality recordings of jazz standards and original compositions. Students sing their way through tunes, solos, or harmonic progressions without any kind of written notation.

In this way students develop a profound sensitivity to the patterns of tension and release inherent in tonal music. They begin simply to hear the places of rest and movement within a melody, a phrase, a rhythm or a tone. Then they simply play, creating their own patterns that are relevant to this time and this place. They learn to listen, hear, and play here and now.
The experience of learning improvisation in this way is liberating, challenging, and addictive. You could call it a kind of freedom.





 Top Tunes

 Top Tips

 Live Gigs

 Fav Players

 Stan the Specialist