Matt La Von

Matt L.

Astoria, NY
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About

Matt passed a background check that includes a SSN verification, national criminal record check, and sex offender registry search. Learn More
Matt delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
and Ages 7+

Teaching since:
February 2001

Hello!

Thanks for choosing me as you private music instructor. I’ve enjoyed teaching music since 2001 and being a Takelessons teacher since 2008. I specialize in teaching beginner to advanced saxophone, beginner to intermediate clarinet, beginner flute, and beginner to advanced jazz improvisation. I welcome all ages and believe that it is never too late to pick up an instrument, even if you’ve had no prior experience in music. Specifically when it comes to beginners, I am able to provide virtually everything that you need to get started, including access to brand new and lightly used student model instruments that I have for sale at very reasonable prices.

I have been teaching and playing music professionally for almost 20 years and began studying music and playing the saxophone at age 11. I currently live and work in New York City after moving here from Philadelphia in early 2001, after graduating from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 1999 with a Bachelors in Music Performance.

Throughout my musical career I have worked in a variety of capacities in addition to being a performer, including working as a composer and recording studio engineer. My main area of expertise is performing as a jazz saxophonist on alto, tenor, and soprano saxophones, and I regularly play throughout New York City in restaurants, jazz clubs, bars and other music venues.

As a private music teacher, I place an emphasis on giving the student an in depth understanding of his or her instrument, and I place the utmost importance on explaining advanced concepts in the simplest of terms in order to insure that the student fully comprehends the objectives of each lesson. Such concepts that I cover regularly are sight-reading, ear-training, technique, and creativity.

As a regularly performing musician in New York City, I can be seen every Sunday night at Ba'sik (a very popular bar in Williamsburg Brooklyn) where I lead an open jazz jam session. A few of my adult students have even been able to reach a level in jazz improvisation that they've been able to come out and sit in with the band.

YOUNGER STUDENTS: I’ve found that in most cases, it is very difficult for students younger than 8 or 9 years old to learn instruments like the clarinet, saxophone and flute. Occasionally, an exception can be made if a younger student is taller than average for his or her age, but most of the time the size of a student’s hands, as well as his or her amount of a physical strength, are not adequate enough until around the ages of 8 or 9. A worthwhile alternative, if a student is absolutely enthusiastic about learning a woodwind instrument, is to begin them on an instrument called the recorder. The recorder is a real instrument, but it is a more primitive, smaller, and simpler of an instrument than the saxophone, clarinet, or the flute; however, it is a great way for young students to begin learning the basics of playing a woodwind instrument and also learning important musical concepts such as reading music notation, pitch, and rhythm. I have also been introduced to a new line of instruments that are developed for younger students by a company called Nuvo. These instruments are smaller and simpler analogs to the saxophone, flute, and clarinet, and they can function as the next step in a younger student’s progression between the recorder and an actual saxophone, flute, or clarinet. The specific instruments that I deal with are called the jSax and the DooD by Nuvo Instrumental. I was asked to demo these instruments and you can check them out if you scroll down to the video section of my profile and look for the videos entitled “jSax and DooD review and demo. Nuvo Instrumental” or “jSax and Dood demo. Nuvo Instrumental”.

In addition to teaching woodwind instruments and jazz improvisation, I also have experience teaching Sibelius music writing software, and audio engineering and editing with Pro-tools LE and Logic Pro X.


PLEASE NOTE: Because the NYC area is very different geographically from other parts of the country, especially in terms of transportation, I may appear outside of your area in terms of where I am available to travel. If you are very interested in taking lessons with me, but you are outside of my travel zone, please feel free to follow up with a Takelessons counselor and have them contact me personally to see if we might make an exception. I am available to travel to virtually all areas of Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan as well as Jersey City and Hoboken, depending on if the day and time selected allows me acceptable travel time between other scheduled lessons. If my location in Astoria Queens is not convenient for you, and you are unable to have lessons in your home, then there is also an option where I can most likely find a very affordable teaching studio in an area that is more convenient for you that we may rent by the hour and split the cost for your lesson.


*** Lesson Details ***
Any student, regardless of age or experience level, learns best when engaged in an activity that he or she understands and enjoys. Part of my success as a teacher can be attributed to my willingness to take into account every student's particular musical interests and strengths, and attempt to teach directly to those areas. For instance, in the initial stages of developing a student and teacher relationship, I like to request that the student compile a "wish list" of approximately ten pieces of music that he or she would like to be able to play. This list may include pieces in such genres as classical, jazz, and popular music, just to name a few. It is through this list that the student can begin almost immediately learning exactly what he or she likes, and by default, I can then teach the student all of the technical components needed to perform on his or her instrument, as well as determine the specific areas where the student needs to receive more focused instruction. More importantly, this "thinking outside of the box," customized approach provides a fun atmosphere and enables the student to enjoy learning the art of playing music by not being solely dependent on instructional booklets which many students, regardless of age and experience, find boring and tedious.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Additional saxophones for students who do not currently have a saxophone to use during a lesson. Recording equipment, including software and microphones. Mac book pro with music writing and recording software. Full 88 key keyboard.

*** Travel Equipment ***
Additional saxophones. Macbook pro with recording and music writing software

*** Specialties ***
music, music theory, home recording, saxophone, clarinet, flute,
all styles

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Education

Bachelor of Music Performance
Sep 1995 - May 1999
The University of the Arts in Philadelphia

Photos & Videos

This is one of my original compositions entitled "Attack the block" performed at the Rosemont in Brooklyn earlier in 2016
This is one of my original compositions entitled "Like a lamenting song" performed at the Rosemont in Brooklyn earlier in 2016.
This was a short clip that I did for a special event company that I work for.  This is out of the standard jazz repertoire and features a little bit of improvisation.
This is a short clip that I did for a special event company that I get work for playing weddings and cocktail hour events.  This is standard jazz repertoire and a little bit of improvisation.
This is a short clip that I did for a special event company that hires me to play for weddings and cocktail hour events. This features elements of jazz and jazz improvisation and pop music.
This is a video that an audience member took of me.  It is from a performance with a rock 'n roll band called The Bushwick Hotel.  Although my primary interest has always been jazz, I feel that to be a well rounded musician it is best to play in as many different genres as possible.  This is the introduction to the tune, and I am mostly improvising.
This is a tune called "Murky Water" that I composed a few years back and is regularly performed by an experimental jazz fusion group that I play with called Evil Giraffes on Mars. I believe that composition should always be an important part of being a musician.  Often, I incorporate composition into students' lessons, even if they have only been playing for a short time.
This video is of highlights of my improvisational playing with an experimental jazz fusion band that is dedicated to performing material written by members of the band.  This video is footage that was recorded a few years ago, but I still perform with this group and write for it to this day.
Photo by Matt L.
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55 Reviews

Write a Review
Jim Oct 15, 2017
Saxophone · In studio

Matt is friendly, patient, and serious about teaching. I enjoy every lesson with him.

Jason Sep 8, 2017
Saxophone · In studio

very nice saxophone teacher. Recommend

David Finlay Jul 22, 2017
Saxophone · In home

Matt has been teaching me to play the sax for several months now. He is a phenomenal teacher. He's patient, understanding and has a in depth knowledge of music. I would highly recommend.

Peyton Jun 28, 2017
Clarinet · In studio

Matt is an amazing teacher! He was very patient and encouraging, and he made my son very comfortable. We are very appreciative.

Peyton Jun 28, 2017
Clarinet · In studio

Matt is an amazing teacher! He was patient and encouraging, and he made my son comfortable from the start. We are very appreciative!

Erica Jun 28, 2017
Saxophone · In studio

After 10 years of inactivity, I decided to jump back into playing the saxophone. I started working with Matt a few weeks ago, and it's really been great. He's very personable and I respond well to his teaching method. In just a few sessions, I'm understanding more jazz theory and am already seeing my technical skills improve. He seems to adapt his style to each student, so if you're looking to learn an instrument or just brush up on a few things, I highly recommend him.

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Noah S. Jun 4, 2017
Saxophone · In studio

Matt is a great teacher. He's flexible with hours, personable, and most importantly a good teacher. I've learned a lot of more theory and how to play more musically as a result. His jam session also offers a nice opportunity for students to showcase their skills

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Jessica May 24, 2017
Saxophone · In home

Matt is a knowledgeable and inspirational teacher! My son and daughter both take lessons with him weekly and, not only learn a lot, but enjoy their time with Matt is also personable and adapts his instruction based on each of my kids' learning styles.

M May 3, 2017
Clarinet · In home

The best Instructer I could ever hoped for. My son, who's a beginner, is super happy with him. I am highly recommending him.

Máximo Feb 12, 2017
Saxophone · In studio

A good instructor. Easygoing and flexible with student's acomodation. Either for a few introduction lessons to long term lessons he is the person you would like to go with.

Máximo Feb 12, 2017
Saxophone · In studio

A good instructor. Easygoing and flexible with student's acomodation. Either for a few introduction lessons to long term lessons he is the person you would like to go with.

Geoff T. Jan 9, 2017
Flute · In home

very knowledgeable, kind, and took the time to individualize lesson to my particular experience.

angelo M. Jan 7, 2017
Saxophone · In studio

my first language is spanish, I tough that was going to make it more dificult for me to learn. I can now tell you how wrong I was. Matt took me from not knowing anything about music to playing the Ave Maria on Sax at the St. Patriks Cathedral in NYC .
Matt you are the best. I can't thank you enough.

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Annie Jan 4, 2017
Clarinet · In home

Matt is a 5 star teacher for sure and my boys are so blessed to have him as a teacher! Matt has all the qualities as an excellent teacher, he is very reliable, patient, encouraging, knowledgeable, and friendly. My boys enjoy learning clarinet and saxophone with Matt, and even my dog loves to see him whenever he comes! I'm thrilled to find him as a parent.

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Alissa Rudes Jan 4, 2017
Saxophone · In home

I have been receiving weekly lessons from Matt for over a year now and he is terrific. He has a great disposition and is able to articulate (no pun intended:)) the proper way to play the instrument. He also focuses on music theory in a relaxed and enjoyable manner. I would highly recommend Matt.

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Janice C. Aug 5, 2016
Clarinet · In home

Thank you for last two months clarinet lesson for Dorothy! He was very patient with my niece and focuses on the part that she is not familiar or good at. It was good experience for her to learn new songs with Matt and got some confidence through the lesson!

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Louisa B. Aug 2, 2016
Saxophone · In studio

Matt's awesome- I love our lessons. I'm learning so much and he pushes me! After several years not playing, it's been amazing to get back into it.

Mendel May 31, 2016
Flute · In home

Wonderful teacher and very patient

Jeffrey D. Feb 5, 2016
Clarinet · In home

Matt was great teaching me about rhythm. He was patient with me as I struggled getting the song right.

Aaron A. Jan 30, 2016
Saxophone · In studio

Very comfortable space to learn, great tutor, it was quick and practical, but most importantly efficient. And also fun. 👍

Aliza A. Jan 3, 2016
Flute · In studio

Matt did a good job for our first lesson. We are definitely looking forward to meeting with him for the second lesson

Julian M. Dec 29, 2015
Saxophone · In studio

Great teacher. Very good at analyzing skill level and accommodating the student. Definitely recommend!

Stephen T. Oct 14, 2015
Flute · In home

Matt has been wonderful at tailoring or lessons to the appropriate level in both the flute and the clarinet. Great teacher and great guy.

Burak U. Sep 30, 2015
Saxophone · In studio

He was very helpful

Marisol R. Sep 18, 2015
Saxophone · In studio

There's a difference between knowing how to play and knowing how to teach and Matt is fluent in both. I have given up on the Sax a couple times before due to lack of affordable and qualified teachers so I'm very glad I finally found a teacher who's very patient and kind like Matt 5 stars all the way!

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Tanaya R. Aug 22, 2015
Flute · In studio

Matt's a wonderful teacher. He's extremely patient, and takes his time explaining concepts in different ways to help you understand the topic fully. He's also very flexible which really helps those of us with crazy schedules. If you wish, class time can focus on music theory along with the actual playing of the flute which is very valuable (in my opinion). He's given me great tips with regards to embouchure and tone, not to mention with reading music and applying them to my playing. His instruction has really helped me improve my playing overall. I highly recommend Matt.

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Tal V. Aug 20, 2015
Saxophone · In studio

Matt is an awesome teacher. I have been taking lessons with Matt for about 18 months now. Even though I haven't picked up a horn since high school, Matt's patience and methodology has given me the confidence to pursue this hobby further.
Highly recommended!

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Dina Z. Aug 17, 2015
Saxophone · In studio

Matt is a great teacher. He's flexible and patient and really knowledgeable. Would definitely recommend!

Abbe P. Aug 16, 2015
Saxophone · In studio

Patient and encouraging, Matt is able to teach to every student's level and interest. As a student, I have benefitted from his creativity and wealth of music knowledge (music theory and instrument lessons).

Annamaria K. Aug 15, 2015
Flute · In studio

Matt is a wonderfully talented, creative musician and a kind,helpful and PATIENT person/teacher.
Always open for new and unusual lesson ideas.
:-)

Laraib A. Aug 7, 2015
Flute · In studio

Very helpful even in just one meeting!

Shawn O. Aug 7, 2015
Clarinet · In studio

Matt's an immensely dedicated and thoughtful instructor. I've learned a great deal about the instrument and my playing has improved drastically.

Benjamin B. Aug 5, 2015
Saxophone · In home

Matt is an excellent teacher and a really good guy. He has done a great job in balancing pace of learning and is incredibly knowledgeable about broader musical concepts. Highly recommend.

Mehmet Berk I. Aug 5, 2015
Saxophone · In studio

The pace you learn with matt is extraordinary. The lessons are very productive and entertaining. He is a great person and a wonderful teacher.

Andre F. Jul 2, 2015
Saxophone · In studio

A lot of Windows was open as of understanding the horn and music theory in just three lessons.I look forward to continuing my learning with Matt

Alan L. Apr 2, 2015
Flute · In studio

Matt was very helpful in teaching basic fundamentals and giving suggestions for making a better tone. Looking forward to continuing with my lessons!

Mariko Y. Dec 11, 2014
Saxophone · In studio

He is a great teacher! He is patient and calm. His lesson is easy to understand. I enjoy a lesson every time. Thank you!

yossi G. Jun 17, 2014
Flute · In home

Just wanted to tell everyone out there how wonderful Matt is as a flute Teacher, I'm a self taught flute beginner, and just after the 3rd lesson with Matt, I can't believe how much i advanced with just these 3 lessons! Matt is wonderful, friendly, and knows the flute so well, I'm definitely going to continue on a weekly basis with him! with Matt I'm convinced I'll become a Professional Flutist in no time.

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Michael S. Jan 23, 2013
·

Excellence!

Matt La Von is the epitome of a great teacher. He is patient, allowing you to understand things on your own time. His instruction is clear and easy to understand and his knowledge of music seems to be endless. Above all else he is an accomplished musician and I trust that under his watchful eye I will be able to improve and refine my own abilities.

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MatthewB Feb 6, 2012
·

Excellent Teacher

Matt is exactly what I was looking for. He's very easy to work with and he's gotten me from zero to 60 in no time. I'm shocked how far along I am only 1 month in. Highly recommend.

ZinnelJ Dec 28, 2011
·

He is awesome

Matt is a great teacher. He is very professional. Matt is patient, also very positive and pushes me to fullest potential. He is always willing to try different technique to help me understand and learn better ways of becoming an all rounded saxophone player. I would highly recommend Matt to anyone who is serious about learning to play the saxophone because he is awesome.

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angeloM Dec 16, 2011
·

Sax teacher

I never play and instrument before but with Matt is so easy to learn. There is a saying that goes something like this "the trick about life is to make it look easy" Well Matt knows the trick to make learning really easy. I can't believe how much I've learn in just few classes.

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LornaP Nov 1, 2011
·

awesome teacher

My nine year old son loves learning clarinet from Matt. Matt strikes the perfect balance of good humour, patience and focused direction. He is a great teacher and is achieving fantastic results with my son. Thank you Matt!!!

HermanM Oct 6, 2011
·

lesson with matt

i liked how matt was very patient with my daughter, and i'd give him a lot more than five stars

RichB Sep 29, 2011
·

Matt is a very professional, courteous, patient and inspiring instructor.

ElveraC Aug 2, 2011
·

Matt is a great teacher!

I am very happy to have Matt as Ronald's music teacher. Ronald"s lessons are going great. He is developing good skills from Matt. He has learned so much in a short period of time. Matt is very patient and knowledgeable.

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thomash Apr 16, 2011
·

lesson

matt is patient and gives the lesson plan easy, which makes for an enjoyable lesson. it is a pleasure to sit there and learn the sax.

mechys Apr 15, 2010
·

much more than 5 ratings

I love you Matt. I got a few teachers before you but I love you more than all because you are very relaxed & very friendly & your explanation is awesome I wish I have more money & can keep on taking lessons by you

PaolaB Jul 29, 2009
·

Student

I am glad I had found a professor that understands my busy schedule and whom is patience on each lesson!-Also, I am so happy that he we are working together on my first tune, that gives me a lot of enthusiasm to continue with my practices at home. Matt is a Great Professor.

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BhinaB Jun 10, 2009
·

Could not ask for a better teacher.

From being a friend and a teacher, Matt is a fantastic musician. The way he grasps you to learn from basic steps is so easy to comprehend, that it makes you want to learn more and more. I have learned my favorite song on the sax in a matter of 3 lessons, when I thought it would take me 3 months. He teaches a very steady and understandable curriculum. If you are reading this and you are looking for a sax teacher Matt is the one.

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DoyleM Apr 9, 2009
·

matt is a great teacher i learn a lot in three lessons concidering in knew nothing

DavidW Apr 5, 2009
·

Things are going great< i'm really enjoying it and Matt has been a great teacher

CarmenA Mar 13, 2009
·

Matt is a great teacher

Matt was an excellent sax teacher for my daughter. Would definitely have him teaching her more lessons when/if necessary in the future.

KeiA Jan 22, 2009
·

Matt is an exceptionally patient, calm, & relaxed teacher. He's very knowledgeable and he really wants you to understand the music- not just play by rote. I feel at ease with him. The lessons just fly by- I always feel like I've been there for about 5 minutes, instead of 45!

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ShareeS Oct 22, 2008
·

He is AWESOME!!!

My daughter absolutely loves Matt. He is very patient and non-threatening. She doesn't feel pressured in any way. Easy learning!

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