Bobby Michaels – Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute Instructor

Saxophone, Clarinet and Flute
Masters in Music Education
B.M. in Performance

Saxophone LessonsI teach Saxophone, Clarinet and Flute. I studied at The University of The Arts where I earned a Bachelor Of Music Degree in Performance and a Master of Arts In Teaching in 1993. Over the years I have taught privately at various area High Schools and studios as well as having been Music Director at St. Joseph Prep from 2000 thru 2005. I founded the SJP Dixieland Pep Band for their Basketball Team and The SJP Digital Recording Studio. The Big Band Jazz Ensemble received Best Trumpet Section, Best Rhythm Section Best Soloist and Outstanding Performance Awards. The Music Department received the Activity Of The Year Award in 2004 (first time in the school’s history). I have also directed several Elementary School Programs in the Philadelphia and Bucks County area.

My performance experience includes session work at the legendary Sigma Sound Studios, Phil Nicolo’s Studio 4, David Ivory’s Dylanava Studio and many others. I have credits on over 25 albums and CD’s. I have toured nationally and internationally with many artists including The Stylistics, Bill Haley Jr., David Uosikkinen’s In The Pocket, Tommy Conwell, The Soul Survivors, Martha Reeves, Chuck Berry, Steve Guyger & The Excellos, Johnny O & The Classic Dogs Of Love, Eddie Money, Bobby Rydell, Cintron, Billy Paul, Mike Lecompt, The Rat Pack Production Show 2007 (Tropicana Show Room, AC), George Manney’s Last Minute Jam Band, Zydeco A Go Go and many other area and national acts.

I like to approach each student as an individual. Whether it be honing fundamental skills and tonal development, preparing for an audition piece, learning to improvise, or playing just for the sheer enjoyment of it, each student will discover their own sense of passion for music.

When did you begin playing Clarinet , Saxophone, flute and why?
On February 9, 1964 my mom woke her 4 year old by up from bed (not something mom’s usually do and was NEVER repeated by my mom again) because she insisted on me seeing something that was on TV. It was The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. Even at that young age I remember clearly thinking to my self that this looks like it would be fun to do! Growing up, I watched my older cousin play the sax and really liked the sound. Again, it looked like fun! By the age of 9 I started on Clarinet and as I grew, added the saxophone and finally the flute. By 14 I was playing in bands for weddings and such. The rest, as they say, is history.

Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?
I remember at about 12 years old, being able to play things that weren’t written on paper… playing “by ear”. I played “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime”. It just came to me, so at my next clarinet lesson I brought my sax and played it for my teacher. He was so impressed that he had my father bring me to a Bar Mitzvah his band was performing at that afternoon and he had me perform for the crowd. It was my first experience playing with professional musicians in front of people.

What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?
Always be melodic. Play melodies. It’s music, be musical.

What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?
Trying to get the low register of the Tenor Saxophone after moving from clarinet. The clarinet requires a firm embouchure and the sax, especially for the low register is the opposite. Also, Coltrane’s “Giant Steps”!

What is your biggest musical achievement?
Not being intimidated by other musicians and realizing that your biggest challenge is being better than you were yesterday. I think that applies to life in general.

Favorite thing about teaching?
Passing on a gift of music and watching a student when “the light goes on”. Man, it makes you immortal through others.

What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?
Have fun! The magic of watching or performing with a group of musicians is experiencing the endeavor of individuals producing a unified piece of music, whereupon each part is separate and distinct, yet a “oneness” of sound is achieved.

Personal projects: i.e. bands, groups, shows, recordings, etc.
I continue to tour with Bill Haley Jr. And The Comets. It is an honor to be able to represent the musical history of Roots Rock n’ Roll. http://billhaleyjrandthecomets.com

Working with David Uosikkinen’s In The Pocket. This wonderful project includes members of The Hooters, Tommy Conwell, The Soul Survivors, Zou Zou Monsour of Soraia, Richard Bush of The A’s, Ben Arnold, Graham Alexander and many others. In The Pocket: Essential Songs Of Philadelphia http://songsinthepocket.org

Zydeco A Go Go is always fun. Again, it is an opportunity to represent an American Folk Tradition and I get to play the Frottoir (Rubboard) http://www.zydecoagogo.com

The above is an example of the many projects I am blessed to perform with.