Ian Tordella

Ian T.

San Diego, CA
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Levels taught:
Intermediate, Advanced
I encourage all my students to enjoy exploring the sound of the saxophone and to find their voice on the instrument. Lessons include everything from reading and basic stylistic concepts, to improvisation, playing along with recordings of your favorite players, and transcription. I am a graduate of the University of North Texas Jazz Studies program and have over 15 years of teaching experience.

I am also very diligent in teaching sound production, embouchure, and tone. I specialize in prepping saxophonists for high school and college auditions. Many of my high school students have participated in San Diego Honor Band and San Diego Youth Symphony and received top honors. I also offer full-service recording services and can help guide you through the college audition process.

(use the "ASK A QUESTION" button) <<


In studio:

My studio is conveniently located near the 805 in North Park. There is in-studio seating for parents and we've also got a Starbucks right next door.

Skype/video lessons:

Lesson via Skype or Apple Facetime are available on Saturday and can be great for out-of town student or for those living in rural areas.

Schedule a lesson and start your musical journey today!

About Ian T.

I've been teaching woodwinds (saxophone, flute, and clarinet) for the past 15 years and enjoy the one-on-one interaction with students of all ages. Music is one of the last professions that is truly learned through apprenticeship. Having a good private teacher is absolutely essential to your growth and development!

Over the years I've amassed wide variety of concepts and materials to speed your learning process and keep things FUN. I've taught all ages and abilities: new beginners (elementary and middle school level), older students just picking up the horn again, conservatory-bound high school students, amateur professionals, marching band & drum core kids, retirees looking for a fun hobby, professional musicians looking to expand their jazz knowledge, and more. We'll start at your level and expand from there! Styles I've performed in include classical, jazz, latin, pop, fusion, rock, funk, and more.

I encourage all my students to enjoy exploring the SOUND of their instrument and to find their own voice. Lessons include everything from reading and basic stylistic concepts, to improvisation, learning songs, playing along with recordings of your favorite players, and jazz transcription. I am a graduate of the University of North Texas Jazz Studies program and have over 15 years of teaching experience. I'm currently adjunct faculty at USD Dept of Music, Mesa College, and have taught as a clinician/coach for numerous high school and middle school programs. In the past I’ve had the opportunity to study with many inspiring musicians and I enjoy passing on the tradition to new students!

(use the "ASK A QUESTION" button) <<


Write a Review
8 Reviews
Peter H.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

The Best Saxophone lesson I ever had with a Great Teacher, Thanks Ian

Posted Mar 31, 2020
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Ian is a great teacher. Very encouraging, skilled and helpful. I learned a lot in an hour and I think I have already improved. Can’t wait to practice what he taught me. And looking forward to next week.

Posted Jan 11, 2018
Christine G.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Ian is kind and supportive. He's making sure I get good habits and technique from the start.

Posted Sep 25, 2015
Bow B.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I am a beginning Tenor Sax student and a senior citizen. I have played other instruments years ago, but never a woodwind instrument. Ian has been a marvelous instructor for me. Although I had never picked up a sax until December 2014, he already has taught me how to play several simple tunes and a number of scales. His patience and sensitivity to the appropriate pace is impecable. He also keeps me informed of other activities - concerts, recordings, community events to reinforce my interest. I would recommend Ian as a music teacher to anyone without reservation or hesitation.

Posted Apr 30, 2015
Bill W.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I’m an adult beginner student and have been taking lessons for approximately one year. Ian’s approach and method have really motivated me. I’m playing music that I enjoy, while improving my basic skills. He is very patient and is an excellent instructor and outstanding musician. I would definitely recommend anyone who is serious about learning to play woodwind instruments. I’m looking forward to my next year working with Ian.

Posted Apr 30, 2015
Susan T.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

About a year ago, our teenage son began alto sax lessons with Ian. His previous experience was less than a year in middle school band and he needed more individualized instruction. My son has come such a long way! Ian has a comprehensive program that includes technique, reading and interpreting music, history and different styles of artists, etc.. Ian is energetic, enthusiastic, patient, and clearly loves music. His involvement in the teaching and professional jazz community is such an asset.

Posted Apr 30, 2015
Gary P.
Profile-location-online Online

I am an adult student that just recently decided to take up playing the saxophone. I made a good choice with Ian. He is a very skilled player and instructor. I immediately became very confident in Ian's instructions and information he shared with me. He was very willing to take the time to respond to my many questions, which I really appreciated. And his curriculum was not based on some beginning student workbook, but instead, was geared towards real-life playing and preparation. Working with Ian has been a very positive experience. Thank-you.

Posted Mar 11, 2015
Dennis F.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Skilled in both jazz and classical saxophone, Ian has been a great source of information and encouragement for the whole eight years I've been playing sax. He is very aware of the differences between members of the saxophone family and has helped me feel comfortable switching between alto and tenor. His ability to analyze and critique what I used to consider minor details in my tone/embouchure/etc. has made a significant impact on how I practice. I've even been able to pick up some quick basics on clarinet while my horns were in the repair shop.

Ian also performs quite a bit around town. I don't often get a chance to see him play (outside of lessons. of course), but whenever I do, I have a great time seeing him apply the same skills that he teaches me.

Posted Jan 19, 2015

Photos & Videos

9 Photos & Videos


Adjunct Music Faculty - Saxophone - Jazz Improvisation - Big Band
Jan 2015 - Present

San Diego Mesa College

Adjunct faculty member for music department/jazz studies at Mesa College.

Adjunct Music Faculty - Saxophone
Jan 2015 - Present

University of San Diego

Current faculty member at University of San Diego Dept. of Music

Jul 2014 - Present

Francis Parker School Summer Jazz Workshop

Current faculty member at the Francis Parker School/House Of Blues/Jazz 88.3 Summer Jazz Workshop.

Private Woodwind Instructor
Apr 1999 - Present

Saxophones, Flute, and Clarinet

Adjunct Music Faculty - Saxophone and Jazz Combo instructor
Sep 2013 - May 2018

Saint Augustine High School

Adjunct faculty at St. Augustine H.S. Responsibilities included teaching both the concert and jazz band saxophone sections and leading the St. Augustine jazz combo.

Adjunct Music Faculty - Saxophone
Sep 2013 - May 2014

San Diego High School for the Creative and Performing Arts

Jazz Ensemble B Director
Aug 2005 - May 2006


Jazz Combo Director
Jan 2005 - May 2005



Master of Music
Jan 2004 - May 2006

San Diego State University

Bachelor of Music
Aug 1996 - Dec 2000

University of North Texas College of Music



Fluent / Native Proficiency

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