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Classical Saxophone Studio

Classical Saxophone Studio

The classical saxophone studio at the University of Tennessee is a supportive environment in which students are challenged to play a wide variety of repertoire and excel in saxophone pedagogy. In addition to solo performances, chamber music is a highly regarded part of the curriculum. Several saxophone quartets are formed each year, and these groups perform at studio recitals, outreach performances in the community, and high school visits. Future plans include local and national competitions. The students also participate in the studio saxophone ensemble each semester.

Private Lessons

Each student receives a one-hour lesson with Dr. Adams each week, regardless of degree program. These lessons are taught in the classical style and focus on developing fundamental, technical, and performance skills. Fundamental skills include development of tone, vibrato, articulation, breathing, and alternate fingerings. Students also learn technical skills such as major/minor scales, major/minor/diminished/augmented arpeggios, interval patterns on scales, the chromatic scale, and whole tone/diminished scales. Technique requirements are clearly defined by level at the beginning of the semester, and students will be tested at the end of each semester. Students also focus on learning a variety of etudes and repertoire.


The repertoire taught at the University of Tennessee follows the basic tradition of standard literature for the classical saxophone. Students will be exposed to works from every genre, from the Baroque period to today's new music. Since the bulk of classical saxophone literature has been written for alto saxophone, students will be required to own a professional level alto saxophone, and can not major exclusively in soprano, tenor, or baritone saxophone. However, in addition to learning alto saxophone literature, students are highly encouraged to learn repertoire for the soprano, tenor, and baritone saxophones.

Solo Class

Each week, the saxophone studio meets together for Solo Class, held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:40-1:55 p.m.. This class provides an opportunity for student performances, student presentations, guest artist appearances, and lectures on pedagogy and history by Dr. Adams. Each student is required to present one or two solo performances each semester. The performances are recorded on video for further study, and the rest of the class provides written and verbal comments. Duet and chamber music performances may also be included in Solo Class throughout the semester.


Undergraduate students are highly encouraged to present recitals in their junior and senior years. Music education majors are required to give a senior recital, while performance majors are required to give both a junior and senior recital. Students are welcome to speak with Dr. Adams about additional recitals, whether it is a chamber music recital, elective recital with a friend, or additional solo recital. Music majors in disciplines apart from music education and performance are also encouraged to present an elective recital in their senior year. Repertoire for each recital will be chosen together by Dr. Adams and the student.

College-Owned Saxophones

The University of Tennessee owns many professional-level instruments that can be used for university bands, saxophone quartets, and occasionally in private lessons. These include Selmer and Yamaha sopranos, tenors, and baritones, which can be signed out for no charge with the approval of Dr. Adams. The school also owns many professional mouthpieces and ligatures that may be signed out for use with these instruments. However, students are responsible for purchasing their own reeds.

Students are expected to own their own professional-level alto saxophone for use in private lessons.

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