Ithaca College Saxophone Studio

History Saxophone Students Private Lessons

Repertoire Class Ensembles Chamber Music

Recitals College-Owned Saxophones

Saxophone Study Materials

Selected Repertoire Audition Information

Ithaca College has long been known for its saxophone program. This began with Donald Sinta, who started as the first saxophone professor in the mid 1960s. Following Sinta was Elizabeth Zinn, Marshall Taylor, and Tim Timmons. These individuals stayed for a few years before moving on to their current positions. Dr. Steven Mauk came to the College in 1975 and is now in his 26th year of  teaching at Ithaca. Prior to that, he held teaching positions at the University of Michigan and at Eastern Michigan University. Mauk has built upon the strong foundation of Donald Sinta and has helped establish Ithaca College as one of the premiere centers for saxophone study in this country. Back to Top

Over 50 students audition every year for acceptance to the Ithaca College saxophone studio, with an average of 5 to 7 new students attending each fall. This year's saxophone studio is comprised of 22 students (20 undergraduate and 2 graduate students). You can see a list of the current saxophone students by clicking here - Current Saxophone Students.   Back to Top

All saxophone students take a weekly, private lesson with Dr. Mauk. These lessons are taught in the classical style, focusing on the fundamentals of playing the saxophone (such as tone, breathing, articulation, vibrato, fingerings), scale materials (major, minor, chromatic and whole tone scales; triads; seventh chords; and major scales in thirds), etudes, as well as solo and duet repertoire. Those students in the Performance and Combined Music Education/Performance degrees take one 60-minutes lesson per week, while those in all other degree programs take one 30-minute lesson. Students in the performance degrees are expected to practice the lesson material between 3.5 to 5 hours per week and those in non-performance degrees are expected to practice between 2.5 to 4 hours. These are averages, of course, as practice time may vary due to homework assignments, ensemble rehearsals, concerts, and physical limitations. You can view Dr. Mauk's private lesson schedule for this week by clicking here - Lesson Schedule     Back to Top

In addition to the private lesson, all students attend the Saxophone Repertoire Class, which meets each Wednesday from 4:00-4:50 pm. The repertoire class is used for a variety of activities, including lectures by Dr. Mauk (on such topics as breathing, sight reading, articulation, reeds, and repertoire), guest artist appearances, and student presentations and performances. Each student is expected to perform at least twice each semester in the repertoire class. These can include solo, duet, and chamber music presentations. The performances are taped for future review and either verbal or written comments are given to the performers by Dr. Mauk and the other students. You can view this semester's schedule for the saxophone repertoire class by clicking here - Repertoire Class Schedule.   Back to Top

All music majors are required to participate in a major ensemble each semester. For saxophonists, that major ensemble could be the Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, or Symphonic Band. Auditions for these bands take place during the first week of classes in the fall semester. Dr. Mauk and the three band directors serve as the adjudicators and are situated behind a screen to assure the anonymity of the auditioners. Once the top players are chosen for the Wind Ensemble, the others are distributed equally between the Concert and Symphonic bands. This results in one top group and two second groups, which assures the highest quality of performance in each ensemble.

Jazz majors participate in one of our two Jazz Lab Bands as their major ensemble. Other saxophone majors are highly encouraged to play in one of these fine ensembles, as well.

Other ensembles open to saxophonists include the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and, on occasion, performances with the Symphony Orchestra. Many saxophonists chose to play in the Campus Band (designed for non-music majors) on one of their secondary instruments. This is an excellent way to keep up and improve your doubling abilities. Students are encouraged to get as much ensemble experience as possible during their study at Ithaca College.  Back to Top

One of the strengths of the School of Music is its chamber music program. For saxophonists this usually refers to saxophone quartets (SATB), all of which are coached by Dr. Mauk. Quartets are expected to rehearse a minimum of two hours per week and receive an hour coaching every other week. There are usually two or three saxophone quartets organized each semester. Students in the performance degrees are required to participate in the chamber music program for four semesters, although all students are welcomed. Each quartet prepares a program of music, to allow for performances in repertoire class, on chamber music recitals, and in concerts off campus.

Since Ithaca College offers an undergraduate degree in Jazz Studies, there an several jazz combos formed each semester. These could include, for example, performers on saxophone, trumpet, piano, bass, and drums. The jazz combos are coached by Professor Stephen Brown, Director of the Jazz Studies Program. Saxophonists are encourage to participate in one of these small jazz ensembles during their course of study. Back to Top

There are hundreds of concerts presented each year at the Ithaca College School of Music. A listing of the 2000-2001 concerts can be viewed on our Concert Calendar. Included in these are a wealth of saxophone performances. Dr. Mauk presents an annual solo recital and frequently plays on other faculty members' recitals and as a soloist with college ensembles. All students in the performance degrees are expected to present two recitals and non-performance students are encouraged to play at least one recital during their degree. The School of Music frequently hosts both classical and jazz guest saxophonists, most of whom present concerts and master classes as part of their visits. Click here to see the saxophone recitals scheduled for this semester - Saxophone Recitals.  To read Dr. Mauk's article, "Recitalist's Checklist," just click on the title. Back to Top

The School of Music has a very good inventory of professional saxophones for use in bands, jazz ensembles, saxophone quartets, and for occasional use in private lessons. These are available at no cost to the students, but must be signed out to insure coverage by the College insurance plan. Dr. Mauk has a selection of professional mouthpieces, ligatures, and mouthpiece caps for use with these instruments. The students are responsible for purchasing reeds for these instruments. In addition, the College provides repair services for these instruments at no charge. Students who attend Ithaca College are expected to own a professional saxophone in good repair for use in private lessons. Back to Top

There are saxophone materials available in one of three libraries on campus. The Ithaca College Library, located next to the Whalen Center, houses saxophone reference materials, recordings, and solo repertoire. The Chamber Music Library, located in the music building, has our collection of saxophone chamber music. Dr. Mauk owns a wide variety of reference materials, recordings, and repertoire for use by his saxophone students. All students are expected to purchase materials used in lessons to help build their own personal library.    Back to Top

There is a body of repertoire that most saxophonists study and perform. These pieces are considered "standard repertoire" by most professional teachers and performers around the world. Each teacher does have, of course, his or her own favorite compositions. The works listed here are those selected by Dr. Mauk as ones he considers the best of the classical repertoire for saxophone - Suggested Saxophone Repertoire.    Back to Top

Click here to find out more information about auditioning for the saxophone studio at Ithaca College - Saxophone Audition Information.