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Woody Witt: “It Is Essential to Get the Students to Assess Their Own Playing as Soon as Possible”


This interview with renowned saxophonist Woody Witt provides a comprehensive overview of his musical journey, tracing his development from a novice clarinetist in grade school to an accomplished saxophonist and educator. Witt details his early experiences, highlighting his switch to the saxophone in the fifth grade and the pivotal role of his first saxophone teacher. He discusses the influence of Len Eby in high school and his subsequent studies with Jeff Lerner and Dr. Eric Nestler during college. Witt emphasizes the intersection of his teaching and performing career, offering insights into his extensive teaching experience, including his tenure at the University of Houston and Houston Community College.

The interview delves into Witt’s teaching philosophy, where he emphasizes fundamental aspects such as tone production, breathing, and musical expression. Witt discusses his daily saxophone routine, including exercises for tone development, altissimo register exploration, and repertoire practice. He also provides insights into his choice of saxophones and mouthpieces, showcasing his preference for Taiwanese-made instruments and specific mouthpiece brands. Witt reveals his unique ligature preference, a steel spring design made by an artisan in Taiwan.

Prospective students seeking to study with Witt can find him primarily at Houston Community College, the University of Houston Moores School of Music, and Lone Star College-University Park campus. Witt expresses his teaching expectations, emphasizing openness and application of concepts from students, while he, in turn, offers comprehensive instruction and often demonstrates techniques through playing.

Finally, Witt addresses common challenges faced by young players today, pointing to a lack of discipline and overwhelming access to information. He advises aspiring musicians to focus on specific, attainable goals during practice sessions to foster continuous improvement and cultivate a disciplined approach to musical development.

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ISSN: 2792-8349

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International Journal of Music