Levels taught:Beginner, Intermediate
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.
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,
Teaches Beginner, Intermediate
Bachelor of Music Performance from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia
Teaching since 2001
Matt is an awesome teacher. Engaging always and adapting the goals according to the level of student. Learning so much with him.
Matt Lavon is a real musician and an excellent teacher. He is patient and encouraging, and he knows his stuff.
Our son enjoyed his lesson with Matt and is looking forward to the next one.
Dillan was very excited after on all they went over!
My daughter started her first saxophone lesson with Matt yesterday. She really enjoyed the lesson.
Great teacher. Patient. Kind. Informative. Helpful in every way
Matt left a very good impression with his great communication skills. Our kid said that the class was fun. all we wanted for her is to enjoy the flute. I am glad it worked fantastic. We are looking forward to have her learn more from Matt.
Very knowledgeable and easy going. My son had a good rapport with Matt and I sensed he was very comfortable with him.
Matt is great, he is teaching 3 of my kids! Clarinet, alto sax, and flute. Very patient with my daughters as they work through their new instruments. They have progressed so much faster than the rest of their classmates, and discouragement has turned into excitement. They look forward to their weekly lessons.Show More
Matt is an excellent instructor for this adult learner! He was quick to identify my current level of ability and assign lessons based on my current and desired skill level and learning style. I recommend him without hesitation.
A very useful and enjoyable lesson! I left looking forward to practicing. I also got some really helpful tips on caring for my current instruments from Matt.
I picked up my horn after laying it aside forever. Matt's teaching was spot on and he did not come off as patronizing. He challenged me just enough to get my playing and theory back on track.
Matt is wonderful! His teaching approach with very young students is incredible. My son loves going to his clarinet lessons every week. We look forward to our next lesson!
My son Nick, who is 11 years old, began his journey on the saxophone with Matt and he has had a great experience. In just a few short months, Nick has improved tremendously. Matt is very patient and has a great style, teaching Nick to read music, play scales, and learn fun tunes. He's also taught Nick the best way to learn a tune, focusing on the hard measures first and repeating them, then moving back to the tune as a whole. Nick has enjoyed the challenge!Show More
The best instructor ever :) He is knowledgeable, patient , and kind. Truly a great experience. So happy I found him.
Matt is great
First class was awesome, Matt really knew how to help me with getting the correct articulation on the Alto Sax and made it very easy to understand the keys and musical notes, Can’t wait to advance and learn more.
First lesson was great. It felt like he was teaching to what I need rather than just a formula he uses across the board. So I’m looking forward to learning with Matt
Awesome person and teacher.
I will recommend Matt to anyone who is searching for a clarinet teacher as a beginner, because he is extremely patient and encouraging. A very comprehensive teacher, always know what you do not understand or why you were doing wrong.
Matt is friendly, patient, and serious about teaching. I enjoy every lesson with him.
very nice saxophone teacher. Recommend
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.
Matt is an amazing teacher! He was very patient and encouraging, and he made my son very comfortable. We are very appreciative.
Matt is an amazing teacher! He was patient and encouraging, and he made my son comfortable from the start. We are very appreciative!
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.Show More
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 skillsShow More
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.
The best Instructer I could ever hoped for. My son, who's a beginner, is super happy with him. I am highly recommending him.
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.
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.
very knowledgeable, kind, and took the time to individualize lesson to my particular experience.
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.
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.Show More
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.Show More
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!Show More
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.
Wonderful teacher and very patient
Matt was great teaching me about rhythm. He was patient with me as I struggled getting the song right.
Very comfortable space to learn, great tutor, it was quick and practical, but most importantly efficient. And also fun. 👍
Matt did a good job for our first lesson. We are definitely looking forward to meeting with him for the second lesson
Great teacher. Very good at analyzing skill level and accommodating the student. Definitely recommend!
Matt has been wonderful at tailoring or lessons to the appropriate level in both the flute and the clarinet. Great teacher and great guy.
He was very helpful
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!Show More
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.Show More
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.
Matt is a great teacher. He's flexible and patient and really knowledgeable. Would definitely recommend!
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).
Matt is a wonderfully talented, creative musician and a kind,helpful and PATIENT person/teacher.
Always open for new and unusual lesson ideas.
Very helpful even in just one meeting!
Matt's an immensely dedicated and thoughtful instructor. I've learned a great deal about the instrument and my playing has improved drastically.
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.
The pace you learn with matt is extraordinary. The lessons are very productive and entertaining. He is a great person and a wonderful teacher.
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
Matt was very helpful in teaching basic fundamentals and giving suggestions for making a better tone. Looking forward to continuing with my lessons!
He is a great teacher! He is patient and calm. His lesson is easy to understand. I enjoy a lesson every time. Thank you!
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.Show More
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
lesson with matt
i liked how matt was very patient with my daughter, and i'd give him a lot more than five stars
Matt is a very professional, courteous, patient and inspiring instructor.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
matt is a great teacher i learn a lot in three lessons concidering in knew nothing
Things are going great< i'm really enjoying it and Matt has been a great teacher
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.
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!Show More
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!
The University of the Arts in Philadelphia