UNCG Sax Studio Syllabus

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Office: RM 312 - Studio Class: Organ Hall, Fridays 1-2pm

CATALOG DESCRIPTION: Instruction on saxophone.

PREREQUISITES/CO-REQUISITES: Admission by audition or permission of instructor; undergraduate and master’s level music majors taking two or more credits of lessons are required to participate in one or more large ensembles in their area each semester according to degree requirements.

FOR WHOM: Undergraduate and graduate performance majors, music education majors, BA music majors, and music minors. Students who wish to study saxophone as a secondary instrument will be allowed only if there is room in one of the studios.

INSTRUCTOR:  Steven Stusek                       336-303-1513


Professional undergraduate and graduate programs in music are shaped by the realities and expectations in the field to seek the development of competencies at the highest possible levels. At these levels, competencies are far beyond minimum learning expectations and are usually not amenable to evaluation in purely mathematical terms. The higher the level of achievement, the more each work is judged by experts (the faculty) on the terms and expectations it sets for itself. 

Grades are determined by each student's participation, interest, improvement and EVIDENCE of adequate and effective practice. Assignments are given each week and it is expected that each student will meet assignment expectations. In addition to weekly lessons, saxophone students are required to perform a technical exam each semester, prepare the writing assignments in preparation for the required mock audition, and perform an end of semester jury examination for at least two faculty members. Each lesson and the required performance/jury will be graded by the instructor vis-à-vis the included interdependent learning outcomes.  

Weekly Lesson Grade 34%
ury Grade 33%
echniques Exam 33%

A Student demonstrates a superior competency in completing course and studio requirements and/or a superior comprehension of presented material. Assignments are ready at each lesson.

B Student demonstrates an above-average competency in completing course and studio requirements and/or above-average comprehension of presented material. Assignments are satisfactory.

C Student demonstrates an ability to adequately meet requirements of the course and studio requirements and/or adequate comprehension of presented material. Assignments are not satisfactory.

D Student puts effort toward the completion of course and studio requirements, but minimal requirements are not met. Assignments are not done.

F Student fails to meet acceptable standards for earning a passing grade for the course. Assignments are not done and performance is poor.


Because performing is the essence of music, students are encouraged to perform as often as possible. Qualifying students (saxophonists who have completed the requirements for semester 1 and 2 and have progressed to semester 3 or 4) may perform on any of the following: Joint Rep; Studio Recital; Convocation. Students who have reached the 351 level may perform a Degree or Student Recital. Performing for your fellow students is the best opportunity you have for feedback, motivation and improvement. *IMPORTANT* You must perform your piece with accompanist in lesson AT LEAST two weeks before a performance, which includes recital hearings. Only in this way can I help you play to your potential.

Chamber music is becoming ever more important in today’s musical world, especially given the economies of scale. It is essential for saxophonists to become familiar with all aspects of ensemble playing: repertoire, arranging, musicality, intonation, communication, rehearsal techniques, and creativity. For saxophonists, the chamber ensemble of choice is usually saxophone quartet (but reed quartet and quintet, sax trio, woodwind quintet + saxophone are all common alternatives). Thus, all saxophonists taking lessons will be required to play in a classical quartet or chamber ensemble as part of their regular lessons. Saxophonists are encouraged to register for chamber credit as part playing in a small ensemble.

Don't forget, all students are required to play one piece from memory each semester.

Three credits of study require a minimum of 21 hours weekly practice, two credits require at least 14 hours/week, and one credit requires 7 hours/week. Inadequate practice is obvious in lessons and will reduce progress and grade. Having said this, performance related injuries can end a career, so please keep the following in mind: practice as little as you can to achieve your desired result.

Students are encouraged to take initiative (I like initiative - hint! hint!) and set out in their own directions. If you want to study a specific piece of music, please do so! Majors are required to learn certain core literature, studies and scales etc., however, this is the time to use your imagination. Listen to recordings, go to concerts, read scores, play in quartets and make music with your friends. If you want to learn something that we haven't covered, then ask. I am here for your reference; if you view me more as a resource than as someone who needs to 'lay down the law' we will have a rewarding year together.

Students should attend all lessons, be on time, have instruments assembled and be warmed up, and generally be prepared to play for 50-60 minutes. Students should also have their cell phones turned off and dress appropriately, i.e. professionally, for each lesson. Consider each lesson a performance, rather than simply a window into your progress each week.

Technique Exam:
All undergraduate and MM students will perform a technical exam each semester approximately one month before jury examinations. Technique exams are performed from memory. The requirements are as follows:

Course Number Required Skills for Technique Exam


151 - At the end of Semester 1 of study, students will be able to demonstrate the following skills in 16th notes at quarter=104, in all articulation patterns.
•Chromatic Scale in 16ths-full range demonstrating all alternate fingering
•All Major scales and arpeggios full range
•Major Scales in 3rds through 3 accidentals (Londeix Les Gammes)

152 - At the end of Semester 2 of study, students will be able to demonstrate the following skills in all articulation patterns:
Same as above in ALL KEYS
•All harmonic (full range) and melodic (one or two octaves) minor scales
•All minor arpeggios full range
•All skills up to quarter-note-104 minimum (16th notes) for MusEd./BA/Minor
•All skills up to quarter-note=120 minimum (16th notes) for PERFORMANCE MAJORS

251/551 - At the end of Semester 3 of study, students will be able to demonstrate the following skills:
•All skills from semesters 1-2 in 16th notes at quarter=120
•Extended range major scales through 4 accidentals (8th notes at quarter=60, semesters 3 and 4)
•Major Scales in Fourths through 4 accidentals
•Diminished Scales full range
•Fully-diminished Seventh arpeggios, all keys
ll new skills in 16th notes at quarter=104

252/552 - At the end of Semester 4 of study, students will be able to demonstrate the following skills:
•Same as above in ALL KEYS.
•Whole-Tone Scales, full range
•Augmented Arpeggios in all keys
ll new skills in 16th notes at quarter=104

351/651 - At the end of Semester 5 of study, students will be able to demonstrate the following skills:
•All skills from semesters 1-2 in 16th notes at quarter=132
-All skills from semesters 3-4 in 16th notes at quarter=120
•Major diatonic-seventh arpeggios full range through 4 accidentals
•Chromatic 2nds full range (Kynaston Pg. 18)
ll new skills in 16th notes at quarter=104

352/652 - At the end of Semester 6 of study, students will be able to demonstrate the following skills:
•Same as above in ALL KEYS.
•Chromatic Minor-thirds full range (Kynaston Pg. 18)
ll new skills in 16ths at quarter=104

451 - At the end of Semester 7 of study, students will be able to demonstrate the following skills:
•All skills from semesters 1-6 in 16ths at quarter=138
•Extend all previous exercises into altissimo range
•Chromatic Major-thirds full range (Kynaston Pg. 18)
ll new skills in 16ths at quarter=104

452- At the end of Semester 8 of study, students will be able to demonstrate the following skills:
•All skills from semesters 1-7 up to quarter-note=138
•Chromatic Perfect 4ths full range (Kynaston Pg. 19)
ll new skills in 16ths at quarter=104

551 - • All of the previously listed skills


Jury/Final Exam:
Each student in saxophone performance will perform a final exam at the end of every semester. Students and above are expected to perform with piano accompaniment for at least one movement. Exams are performed for the studio teacher and at least one additional faculty member. At the teacher’s discretion, a student may be required to perform his/her exam for the entire woodwind faculty. Any material during a given semester will be considered part of the requirements for that semester’s performance exam. 

Required Texts:
Materials are selected on an individual basis; see the photocopying policy below.
ll saxophone students are expected to be members of the North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA).

Academic Honor Code: 
Each student is required to sign the Academic Integrity Policy on all major work submitted for the course.

All students are required to attend lessons every week. When illness prevents lesson attendance, the student should notify instructor in advance of the lesson by phone or leave a message in the music office. Canceled lessons will be made up at the discretion of the instructor. In order to accommodate repertoire class, students should expect to receive no more than 13 lessons per semester. However, if the instructor is away from campus on UNCG-related activities lessons may be given by a TA or made up in a master class format. No more than two lessons per semester will be replaced in this fashion. Lessons will be 50 minutes in length, starting on the hour and concluding at 10 minutes before. All lessons are open for any student or faculty to observe. Please be warmed up and have your instrument assembled in the hall prior to lessons and disassemble it in the hall after lessons to make the best use of lesson time.

All majors are required to attend every saxophone recital, every studio recital, every guest artist master class or recital, and every woodwind faculty recital. Signed programs for each of these recitals will be turned in with other recital programs prior to juries. Absences affect grades; four absences in any combination of lessons, repertoire classes, and recitals may result in an “F” for the semester. If you miss a required recital, you will be expected to listen to the recital CD and sign the attendance sheet. 

Physical Contact:
Normal instruction in saxophone performance involves some limited and neutral physical contact between the teacher and the student when dealing with such topics as breathing, posture, finger/hand position, tension, overall performance style, etc. It is the responsibility of any student who is uncomfortable with this physical contact to immediately inform the teacher of that discomfort.

Federal copyright laws protect composer and publisher’s rights against illegal photocopying. It is important to gradually build your own personal music library by regularly purchasing legal copies of your music. Use of photocopies, library music, or other reproductions of music under protection by copyright laws is prohibited in juries or public performance. Questions concerning the legality of photocopying under extenuating circumstances should be directed to the instructor. 

University Equipment:
Failure to return university or teacher owned property used in conjunction with or related to this course in a timely manner will result in a grade of “INCOMPLETE” until such property is returned. 

The Saxophone Studio experience is cumulative. The following outlines competencies…


NASM standards address bodies of knowledge, skills, and professional capacities. At times, the standards require breadth, at other times, depth or specialization. Due to the individual nature of performance studies, it is understood that there are many repertories, numerous successful methodologies, and that students will arrive at the final level of expected competency through unique means. Upon completion of the complete undergraduate sequence of performance studies instruction, all students will have obtained: 

a. Technical skills requisite for artistic self-expression in saxophone performance at a level appropriate for the particular music concentration. 

b. An overview understanding of the repertory in saxophone and the ability to perform from a cross-section of that repertory. 

c. The ability to read at sight on the saxophone with fluency demonstrating both general musicianship and a level of skill relevant to professional standards appropriate for the particular music concentration. 

d.  Practical knowledge of saxophone pedagogy at a level appropriate to their degree as demonstrated in repertoire class discussions and within the individual lesson.

e. The ability to demonstrate achievement of professional, entry-level competence in saxophone performance, including significant technical mastery, capability to produce work and solve professional problems independently, and a coherent set of artistic/intellectual goals that are evident in their work.

Specifically, upon successful completion of this set of sequential courses, undergraduate students in saxophone will be able to demonstrate (at a level appropriate to their degree):

•knowledge of and application of practice skills;
•knowledge of and application of performance skills;
•solid grounding in technical skills which builds and progresses through all semesters, which gives students the tools necessary to play solo and ensemble music;
•a characteristic saxophone tone quality
•improved sight reading skills;
•development of intonation perception and the ability to play in tune;
•sensitivity to phrasing, style, and lyrical playing;
•ability to compose and or perform ornamentation/improvisation;
•basic fundamentals of single reed adjustment;
•basic knowledge of saxophone pedagogy;
•knowledge of and application of contemporary techniques
•knowledge of and applications of technology and music
•transpositions used in standard saxophone literature
•knowledge of the solo, chamber, band and orchestral literature for the saxophone, including repertoire from a variety of periods and recognition of historical context, and increasing depth of knowledge of masterworks; and,
•synthesis. While synthesis is a lifetime process, students must be able to work on musical problems by combining, as appropriate to the issue, their capabilities in performance; aural, verbal, and visual analysis; composition and improvisation; history and repertory; and technology.

Performance majors and music education majors demonstrate independent musicianship and mastery of performance skills through presentation of a public recital. BA students and secondary students demonstrate proficiency through jury examination in front of at least two faculty members.

Upon completion of the MM in performance, students will demonstrate:
•growing knowledge and understanding of pedagogical concepts
•growing knowledge of materials related to pedagogy
•complete historical background of saxophone and compare it to the development of repertoire
•expanding knowledge of both solo and orchestral repertoire

In addition, all graduate students are expected to pursue (CPT)
Curricular Practical Training: Internships, and/or Professional off-campus experiences, in the area of program specialization (theory, history, performance, music technology, arts administration, etc.) are required off all graduate saxophone students in order to gain the necessary hands-on training expected of saxophonists entering the profession.

Upon completion of the DMA in performance, students will demonstrate:
•Complete mastery of previous objectives
•A strong ability to demonstrate and teach all essential saxophone fundamentals
•Ability to audition successfully at the professional level
•Complete mastery of all facets of music making
•(CPT) Curricular Practical Training


a. Assigned repertoire, technical studies, and pedagogical concepts will be taught and coached in a combination of private, repertoire class and, or group lessons. 

b. Performance experiences will be achieved in studio repertoire class, joint repertoire class and, or division and area recitals. 

c. Through active participation, pedagogical experiences will be achieved in studio repertoire class, small group discussion, and within individual lessons.

d. Artist performances and recordings of assigned repertoire may be analyzed and evaluated as performance models. 

e. Master classes with guest instructors may be offered as pedagogical enhancements 

f. Through active participation, students will discover about each work to be performed the following (but not limited to): composer information, analytical evaluation, notational considerations, individual performance challenges represented, recordings reviewed, working with composers, or other sources consulted in preparation for the performance.  


I have read the Saxophone Studio Syllabus and agree to abide by its contents

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