October 3, 2016
I am saxophone player at an intermediate to advanced level and Rick’s lessons helped my sound and improvisation tremendously in a very short amount of time. What really sets Rick apart is that his method is unlike any other teacher I've studied with I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn how to improvise better. Let me start from the beginning.
I’ve been playing music for the past 15 years. I’ve taken lessons in drums, clarinet, and piano, while self-teaching myself piano, guitar, and bass guitar. Through the years though, I always had a desire to learn the saxophone. Never truly playing a solo instrument with jazz improvisation at its core, I started my quest for a teacher who could teach me how to improvise. I bounced around several local music shops and music conservatories, looking for a teacher that could unlock the mystery of improvisation, but I was subjected to hours upon hours of method books without ever actually being given the chance to start improvising over jazz standards. Of course, the basics are essential when improvising, but I always found myself over thinking things. I took a break for a few months, but when I was approached by my family to play saxophone for my grandparent’s 50th anniversary celebration of over 200 people, I decided that I needed to find a teacher who actually adjusted his lessons based on his student and their interests, rather than a cookie cutter lesson progression. During the first few lessons with Rick, he said that instead of focusing on the specific fingerings on the sax or the specific scales and notes I had to be playing, to really listen to the beauty of the music and just play what I hear in my head. Once I got comfortable and stopped thinking about what the “right” notes were, I stopped thinking and just played. A wall that I’ve tried to overcome for the past 5 years, was finally behind me after only a few lessons. After I got past my own thinking, Rick gave me very simple but effective methods to incorporate into my playing to create a more cohesive solo with stylistic tricks and motifs to really impress the crowd and love what you’re playing. I can without reservation, having studied with some of the top saxophone teachers/players in the Los Angeles/Orange County area, say that Rick changed my saxophone playing life and truly has the secrets to improvising on the saxophone. On top of that, even though he is a Grammy award winning artist, is one of the most humble people I’ve ever met. He is always so willing to impart knowledge from his immense amount of experience but never makes you feel like he is looking down on you or is frustrated with you. He teaches because he loves to do it, and to see his student’s eyes light up when they play their first improvised solo on saxophone, is the very reason he teaches so selflessly. That is what stood out the most to me.
September 17, 2016
I've been taking lessons with Rick Rossi for a few years now, both through Skype and face to face. He is a true professional, extremely knowledgable, and cares deeply about his students and teaching.
He has a unique approach to learning improvisation which is as appropriate for veteran players as it is for complete beginners, and he has been a tremendous help for me in terms of technique and improving my sound.
In an era where a lot of great players can't teach, where so many teachers take a dogmatic, cookie-cutter approach, Rick Rossi's student-centered style stands out. He is serious about your learning, he doesn't try to sugarcoat or shortcut anything and gives more if you're willing to, like giving you honest progress feedback on recordings you send him, and working on particular solos and stylistic issues (bop, blues, rock, smooth jazz, pop, etc) that are individually useful and relevant to your level and goals. I'm really grateful to have found a teacher like Rick Rossi in LA.