Meet Our New Saxophone Teacher: Seth Ebersole
Seth teaches Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass Saxophone, as well as Clarinet. He is currently a senior in the Undergraduate Jazz Studies department of the Boyer College of Music and Dance in Philadelphia. He is a saxophonist, teacher, and composer. Under the expertise of Jazz greats: Dick Oatts, Terell Stafford, and Timothy Warfield Jr., he has been privileged to study. He has performed and recorded with the likes of Jimmy Heath, Jon Faddis, Ingrid Jensen and Christian McBride at Temple University as well as the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia. In 2013, He was a finalist for a tenor saxophone position with a United States Army Band at West Point. In the Spring of 2014, he worked in the Diamond Peer Mentor Program of Temple University in which he co-taught an undergraduate class with a Temple Faculty Mentor. In May of ’14, he was named the 2014 Presser Undergraduate Scholar. He is also active as a performer in styles besides jazz, including: classical, pop, rock and others.
When did you begin playing Saxophone, and why?:
What are your personal goals as a musician?:
Music helps me conceptualize other life situations. The way I think about music is similar to the way I think about life. Therefore, my goal is to find my musical identity, my niche, my voice. I think this is a worthwhile and important goal for anyone who’s learning in music. Find you!
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?:
I think that if you’re making progress in music, you’ll sometimes have “quantum leaps”. Most recently, I remember figuring out a way to exercise my ears to hear better than I thought they could. Defining moments like this are important, but they’re often hard to get to.
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?:
One of my teachers at Temple University pointed out that he plays his saxophone completely different from the way he did thirty years ago. He also thinks about music differently from that time. He challenged me to always keep growing. Don’t ever stop learning and discovering the next musical step for you!
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?:
Tomorrow’s practice session! Hopefully I’m always giving myself a new challenge; something more difficult than ever before to work on. However, in the past and present, sound and time are the hardest things to understand. At my first lesson in college, my teacher showed me how much softer my saxophone playing embouchure should be. He played for me (and still does) to show me how relaxed the muscles in the face should be when playing. This is a particularly tough lesson to learn!
What is your biggest musical achievement?:
I’ve been blessed to work with some legendary musicians and have some wonderful times in music. One of the most exciting was being named the “2014 Presser Undergraduate Scholar”, one of the highest honors given to an undergraduate music student at Temple University.
Favorite thing about teaching?:
I like coming up with analogies for music that stick in my student’s minds. When these work, a student has a “light bulb” moment that helps them really understand and dig into the concept. It helps me too. There are so many times when a simple analogy I’ve given to a student helps with something I’m working on.
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?:
Use your ear. Realize that your most important musical muscle can never be too strong. The more music you can hear, the better the music you play.
Personal music projects: i.e. bands, groups, shows, recording, etc:
I play with a number of jazz groups, wedding/show bands as well as groups for Temple University. This past spring, I was on a new album by the Temple University Jazz Band featuring music written and dedicated to Dizzy Gillespie.