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Astoria, New York
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Matt L.
Astoria, New York
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Teaching Locations:
Teaches Online
Online
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate
Although I am primarily a saxophonist, clarinet is a secondary instrument that most saxophonists also have to know how to play. As a performer it is an absolute necessity that I be able to double on the clarinet and be just as proficient. My goal as a teacher is to provide an in depth understanding of the instrument to my students. Whether we are learning technique specific to the instrument or general musical concepts, it is important to me that I take the time to insure that my students not only learn how to do something, but also the reasons why we are learning a specific concept or technique. At the end of the day, my ultimate goal is to teach you how to teach yourself, so that you may enjoy playing the instrument outside of our lessons together. I prefer not to conform to a specific teaching style, because every student is different, and I have been fortunate to have a great variety of types of students throughout my years as a teacher. Some of my students are children and adolescents who are looking to pursue music when they go to college or auditioning for state and regional band programs. Many of my students are very busy adults who are either looking to pick up an instrument for the first time as an escape from their everyday hectic lives, or they are coming back to an instrument that they put down years ago and looking to have a good musical experience again. I also have very young students who have parents looking to get there child into learning an instrument for the first time. For my child/adolescent future musician students, I will teach with a much more structured atmosphere and focus on all of the aspects of technique and music theory that they would be expected to know and play as they move closer to a professional level. For my busy adult students it is always a case by case basis. For those who have previous experience, I typically like to address teaching them how to play styles of music and tunes that they want to learn to play. For those who are new to music, I take them through a step-by-step process for learning the basics of the instrument while simultaneously teaching them how to read music. And in either case, many of my adults have busy professional lives where sometimes the only time they have to play their instrument is when they are in a lesson with me. That's ok. NO JUDGEMENTS! If the only time you have to play is during our lesson, then I'll find something new for you to learn at each lesson. For my young beginners it is all about having fun while playing music. While these lessons are also very structured, I also prefer not to be the stereotypical stern music teacher. I've heard way to many horror stories from my adult students who had mean and impatient teachers when they were children. I would say that my philosophy with my young students is an amalgamation of my approach with my busy adults students and my child/adolescent future musician students. I want to make sure that they are learning, but never discouraged.
About Matt L.

Hello! In addition to the following paragraphs about me, you might also enjoy the video that I've prepared below entitled "your first lesson" (note: videos may only be available by accessing the Takelessons website on a web browser and may not show up if you are using the Takelessons app on a phone or a tablet). You can get a pretty good idea about what kind of teacher I am by watching that video. So, feel free to bypass this written section and go straight to the video. Just scroll down my profile to the "photos and videos" section. It's the first video listed. Then come back up here when you are finished with the video and keep reading to learn even more. 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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Teaches Online
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Matt has been a fantastic teacher for my 16-year-old son over the past year and a half. He brings a ton of experience and knowledge, and has expanded my son’s appreciation of the music and instrument. His lessons are always detailed, engaging, and fun, and my son comes out of them excited to practice and apply what they’ve been working on together. I really, enthusiastically recommend him!

Posted Nov 20, 2021
Teaches Online
Online

Matt is a pleasant, skilled, and encouraging instructor. He teaches to the level of the learner, working to advance their skills. He communicates well with the student and family members. My granddaughter enjoys her lessons and practicing her saxophone.

Posted Sep 16, 2021
Teaches Online
Online

Matt is an excellent teacher. He is relaxed yet very focused and very precise in his feedback. Very helpful and professional. I love that he is flexible with the schedule if I need to change. It makes learning a pleasure. Highly recommend!

Posted Sep 13, 2021
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Experience
Bandleader and host of the Back Room Session at the Wilky
Jan 2020 - Present
The Wilky
I was hired as the bandleader for the jazz jam session at the Wilky, Brooklyn's newest fully dedicated jazz venue, in early 2020. We managed to have a few great months with an amazing weekly turnout of local NYC musicians as well as international visitors. Unfortunately, it was short lived due to the Covid-19 Pandemic shutdown. When the bar opened up for outdoor service in the late summer of 2020, we began holding the jam session on the sidewalk outside of the venue. We were able to keep it going until it got too cold to perform outdoors in November, but during those few months we were able to bring a sense of normalcy back to the local NYC jazz community. The outpouring of support from the local community who visited the bar to be an audience was overwhelming, and served to remind us that the NYC/Brooklyn jazz community is alive and well, despite popular national figures falsely describing New York City as a ghost town. We look forward to bringing the outdoor performances back by the spring of 2021 and also the night in the hopefully not too distant future when we are able to perform safely indoors again. https://www.facebook.com/TheWilkyBackRoomJazz
Bandleader and host of the Bā'sik Jazz Jam Session in Brooklyn NYC
Aug 2012 - Present
Bā'sik
I've been the host and bandleader at The Bā'sik Jazz Jam Session in Williamsburg Brooklyn since August 2012. This is one of NYC's longest running jazz jam sessions and has been visited by musicians from all over the world. https://www.facebook.com/BasikJazzJamSession
Composer and recording artist
Dec 2000 - Present
Full length album entitled "Found" as bandleader, as well as other records as contributing composer and arranger
In addition to being a freelance jazz musician in NYC, dedicated to performing music from the standard jazz repertoire, I've also actively worked to write, record, and perform my own compositions and have been a contributing composer and arranger on other's albums, in a range of different genres. My most recent album of original modern jazz features me as a bandleader and composer and came out in 2018 https://mattlavon.bandcamp.com/album/found Previously, I wrote and recorded all of the horn parts (saxophones, flutes, and clarinets) for the Rock 'n Roll band The Bushwick Hotel's most recent record, Hard Times that came out in 2017 https://soundcloud.com/thebushwickhotel/sets/hard-times Over a decade ago, I was a contributing composer and arranger for the Fusion Jazz group EGOM's record entitled Cydonia https://open.spotify.com/album/1cNLN0UVEYVyxO20CJZvXv
Education
Bachelor of Music Performance
Sep 1995 - May 1999
The University of the Arts in Philadelphia

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