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Riley Payton
Professor Haskins
Comp. II
25 January 2015
The Development of Classical Saxophone Pedagogy
The saxophone was invented around 1842 by the Belgian instrument maker Adolf Sax.
Primarily a flutist and clarinetist, Sax had been known for his work on these instruments and by
the improvements he had made on the bass clarinet which included better keywork, acoustics,
and an extended lower range. With the desire to have an instrument with the dexterity of a flute
and the projection of a trumpet Sax began his work on a conical brass instrument with a single
reed mouthpiece very similar to that of a clarinet. Sax applied for, and received, a fifteen-year
patent for his new instrument on June 28, 1846. After the patent expired several companies and
musicians started to manufacture and improve-upon Saxs instrument. Major instrument
manufacturers such as Conn, Buescher, King, and Martin became the first to add chromatic keys
and make the saxophone widely available to the public, as well as affordable. Selmer started
production on saxophones in the very late 1800s, a few years later than the other companies, and
eventually bought all of them out making themselves one of the biggest saxophone
manufacturers in the world today followed very closely by Yamaha, who started in the late
1900s. The saxophone gained popularity through its use in military bands, and was eventually
implemented in concert settings, chamber groups and jazz. The styles of teaching saxophone
varies greatly and it is widely debated which pedagogical approach is the best.

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One of the first virtuosos and major pedagogical influences of the saxophone was Marcel
Mule (24 June 1901 18 December 2001). Born in Aube, France, Mules father was an avid
musician who pushed Mule to learn saxophone, violin, and piano at a very young age. He began
his education at the Ecole Normale at Evreux and graduated in three years ready to teach in a
school. However, the call to serve in the French military during the First World War quickly took
him away from his job and to Paris where he returned to music, playing in the regiments
military band in 1921. During his time in Paris he chose to continue his studies this time
primarily studying violin and harmony. Although he was not studying saxophone at the time, he
continued as the Garde republicaines saxophone soloist and was constantly asked to play in
concerts with the Opera-Comique. In addition to these ensembles Mule also started one of the
first major saxophone quartets, the Quatuor de la Garde Republicaine, which is responsible for
commissioning many of the quartet pieces we perform today.
Mules pedagogical career started in 1944 when he took a job reestablishing the
saxophone class at the Paris Conservatoire which was abandoned with the death of Adolph Sax
in 1870. The style of playing that Mule taught consisted of a very clear sound, wide and fast
vibrato, and tonguing with the syllable TA. He went about teaching this style by focusing on a
firm but relaxed embouchure with tight corners to focus all of the air down the middle of the
mouthpiece. According to Mule, the perfect speed for vibrato is five undulations per second. This
belief comes from his background as a violinist, and if you study his recordings his sound is
actually very similar to that of a violin. During his time at the Paris Conservatoire, Mule taught
over three hundred students and many of them later moved to America to teach at major
universities and continue his style of playing, although not many people believe in his style of
vibrato anymore. Some of Mules most successful students include Frederick Hemke

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(Northwestern University 1962-2012), Jean-Marie Londeix (National Conservatory of Bordeaux


1983-2001), Eugene Rousseau (Indiana University 1964-2000), Daniel Deffayet (Paris
Conservatoire 1968-1988) and Claude Delangle (Paris Conservatoire 1988-present). Due to the
French influence that Mule performed and taught with, all of these professors and their students
perform with a very French style. Out of all of Marcel Mules students, Fredric Hemke was
probably the most influential in America. Hemke taught hundreds of students at Northwestern
University and odds are you can find at least one Hemke student teaching the French style in
every state in America.
The French style of playing is beneficial in the fact that it is the most versatile way to
play saxophone. Most orchestral and wind ensemble conductors look for French saxophonists to
join their ensembles because of the nice blend that comes with the style of playing. The down
side to only studying French saxophone is that it does not translate well to jazz. The cutting jazz
style is very different than the smooth sounds preferred by French saxophonists.
Another saxophone virtuoso who played in a very different style than Mule was the
German-born saxophonist Sigurd Rascher (15 May 1907-25 February 2001). Originally trained
as a clarinetist by Philipp Dreisbach at the Hochschule fur Musik in Stuttgart, Rascher decided to
pick up saxophone to join a dance band. As he played more saxophone he began to discover that
it had more potential than previously believed. As a soloist Rascher moved to Berlin in 1930
where he performed with the Berlin Philharmonic. The conductor at the time, Edmund von
Borck composed the Borcks Concerto, Op. 6 for saxophone and orchestra in 1931 for Rascher to
perform at the General German Composers Festival in Hanover Germany on October 3, 1932. As
Hitler came to power in 1933 Rascher moved to Copenhagen where he taught at the Royal

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Danish Conservatory, and in 1938 he moved to America. The first performances that Rascher
gave in America was with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on October 20 1939, and with the
New York Philharmonic on November 11. He was the first saxophonist to solo in concert with
both of these Orchestras.
As an educator, Rascher taught saxophone at many prestigious schools of music,
including the Julliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Eastman School of Music.
Rascher believed that tonal concept was the most important thing to consider when playing
classical saxophone. He was a firm believer that the saxophone should sound exactly like its
inventor, Adolph Sax, had intended and was against manufacturers adding keys or changing
aspects of Saxs original design. Saxs original design for mouthpieces were very round and open
on the inside, and all mouthpieces were like this until the 1940s when companies started
experimenting with different shapes and sizes. By the 1970s classical saxophonists were using
more narrow mouthpieces to get the brighter sound desired by many composers. Rascher decided
to counteract this movement of narrow mouthpieces by producing his own line based on Saxs
original design. Many of Raschers students still teach with this mentality and only play on
instruments made before the 1960s, preferably Bueschers, and on Rascher-brand mouthpieces.
Although the sound these players get is different than the Mule French style they still play an
important role in the development of American saxophone and Raschers students teach at
several high-end schools including Manhattan School of Music, Florida State University, and
University of Arkansas.

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The German style of saxophone that Rascher taught was primarily used in classical
settings. Several years ago conductors preferred that style but in the past twenty years the French
style has taken over and the German style has become obsolete.
An off-branch of the Rascher style of teaching is the Allard method. Joseph Allard,
(December 31 1910-May 3 1991), took very few saxophone lessons in his lifetime, so much of
what he taught was based off of his experience as a clarinetist and through experimentation with
concepts utilized by other instrumentalists. Allard taught at the Julliard School of Music and
focused very heavily on the anatomy and physiology behind playing the saxophone. In his
lessons he talked a lot about the muscles in the face and neck needed to play in his style, which
was pretty unique to his teaching. Unlike other styles of playing, Joe Allard taught a very loose
embouchure with your lips in a straight line, a very clarinet style. He believed that one should be
able to play the saxophone at any point on that line and sound just as good as playing it in the
middle. That fundamental idea is unique to the Allard method, and results in a unique reedy
sound. Similarly to Rascher students, Allard students prefer to play on older instruments,
preferably Selmer Mark IVs, and more open mouthpieces like the Selmer Soloist model.
Although Allard started as primarily a classical musician, he thrived in the jazz world. Allard was
the saxophone section coach for both Glenn Millers Orchestra and Benny Goodmans Orchestra,
and his students included some very good jazz artists including Eddie Daniels and Michael
Brecker.
Allards style is not commonly used for classical music, but lends itself very well to jazz.
The loose embouchure and preferred instruments translates to a very jazzy tone and freedom to
manipulate the sound in whatever way the performer wants.

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Unlike other instruments like the flute or the violin, the saxophone is still working on
finding a unified sound. With the surge in contemporary music that has been written for
saxophone in the past twenty years, the sound and strategy for teaching is still changing. It is
very difficult to say which style of teaching is the best, because different styles lead to different
sounds which can be used in a variety of settings. It would benefit most musicians to learn and
study as many styles as they can.

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Works Cited
Kochnitzky, Leon. Inventor of the Saxophone. Basssax.com. Belgian Government
Information Center, 1 Jan. 1964. Web. 25 Jan. 2015.
Mule, Marcel. History of the Vibrato on Saxophone. Interview by Claude Delangle.
Australian Clarinet and Saxophone, 1 Mar. 1998. Web. <clarinet-saxophone.asn.au>.
Boehm, Mike. Sigurd Rascher; Dean of the Classical Saxophone. Los Angeles Times
27 Mar. 2001, Collections sec. Web. 25 Jan. 2015.
http://articles.latimes.com/2001/mar/27/local/me-43318.
. Copyright 2000, Debra Jean McKim. McKim, Debra Jean. Joseph Allard: His
Contributions to Saxophone Pedagogy and Performance. Published Doctor of Arts Dissertation,
University of Colorado, 2000
Demsey, David. The Saxophone at Julliard. Saxophone Journal 24, No. 6 (July 2000):
59-61.