Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet & Piano
I am a multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger and educator originating from the historically important jazz community of Kansas City. I have received honors such as being selected as the 2023 Vandoren Emerging Artist Competition 1st Place Winner in Jazz, a 2023 Downbeat Award Winner for the Graduate Jazz Combo division, and was selected to perform with bandleader Christian McBride as a member of the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Jazz Academy, and I performed at Carnegie Hall followed by a tour across Asia with bandleader Sean Jones and guest artist Kurt Elling as a member of the NYO Jazz Program. I currently reside in Philadelphia as a recent graduate of the Temple University Jazz Studies Program under the tutelage of Dick Oatts, Tim Warfield, Bruce Barth, and Terell Stafford.
As a teacher, I aim to provide each and every student with a comprehensive, individualized approach to learning music, as I recognize every student learns differently! I hope to use my almost 20 years of experience learning music to help my students reach their full potential! And most importantly, I believe learning music should be fun, and I hope to balance learning foundational techniques of the instrument with material that the student themself is interested in so that they can focus on the most important thing; making music.
When did you begin playing music, and why?
I began playing Piano at age 5, partially because I wanted to learn my favorite songs from movies and TV and partially because my mom thought I needed something to do. I then began playing Clarinet at age 10 when I enrolled in Band for the first time. I had always had an interest in Jazz, listening to CD’s my parents had like Miles Davis’ ‘Kind of Blue’ and John Coltrane’s ‘My Favorite Things’, which drew me to the Saxophone which is now my main instrument.
What instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?
I play Alto, Tenor, and Soprano Saxophones, as well as Clarinet, Flute & Piano. I have done all sorts of professional work on Saxophone, my main instrument, from playing at concert halls to small jazz clubs, and have done studio recordings on Clarinet & Piano and wedding ceremonies etc. on Flute!
What are your personal goals as a musician?
My personal goals are to release my first album under my own name, which I hope to do in the next few years! I also hope to play as many different styles of music professionally as I can, as I believe that being well-rounded and open-minded musically helps improve your playing more than just focusing on one technique or style!
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?
Altissimo! I believe altissimo on Saxophone is one of the most difficult techniques to master of any instrument, and I spent years trying to learn the fundamentals which was incredibly frustrating. I nearly gave up, but kept at it and one day it just clicked! It is still something I am attempting to improve every day!
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?
Listen! No matter what instrument you play or what genre, the most important thing you can do for your musical growth is to always be listening to music on your instrument. If you have a solid idea of what a good tone on your instrument is, it is so much easier to improve as you will always have a baseline for what you want to sound like. Find a favorite player and listen!!
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument
Initially for any wind instrument the biggest hurdle is air control, which can be challenging for beginners as it was for me! I had to do lots of breathing exercises when I first started playing saxophone to get used to the amount of air the instrument requires. I then had to re-learn these exercises when I began learning Flute in High School!
What is your biggest musical achievement?
Being recently selected as the Vandoren Emerging Artist 1st Place Winner in Jazz!
Favorite thing about teaching?
My favorite thing about teaching is seeing a concept ‘click’ with a student! It is always incredibly gratifying to see their hard work pay off in real time and is the reason I love to teach in the first place!
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?
Set your own pace! Don’t compare yourself to other people who play your instrument, and realize that learning music is about personal expression and self-growth; it is your journey and yours alone!
Personal music projects:
I lead my own group, the Evan Kappelman Quintet, in and around various Jazz venues in the Northeast, where we play primarily original music written by me and other members of the band! I also perform, compose, and arrange music for lots of other groups!