The wind faculty seeks to train students to become all-round musicians capable of functioning in all areas of the professional practice: from musical orchestras to big bands through to jazz, fusion, pop and Latin ensembles, both live and recorded. Students gain experience in a variety of musical situations, with ensemble playing, solo performance and improvisation as focal points. Separate courses are offered for lead trumpet and lead alto, these are unique in Europe.
The teaching staff of the saxophone section includes Jasper Blom, Ben van Gelder, Simon Rigter, Leo Janssen, David Kweksilber, Jasper van Damme, Raymond Honing and Marc Scholten. In the past years Branford Marsalis, Miguel Zenon en Mark Turner were guest teachers. Dick Oatts (Manhattan School of Music) is regular guest teacher at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam.
Co-ordinator, Jasper Blom
For non-EU candidates there is a preselection by means of a recording of four pieces - three jazz standards, in different character, tempo and key; the fourth one is the candidate's choice - to be uploaded to the application form by the candidate. If the candidate's playing on the recording does not match the required level, they will not be invited to the entrance examination.
Please note: candidates will not be admitted solely on the basis of the recording; being invited to the entrance exam does not mean candidates are admitted to the school.
During the entrance examination, the candidate is tested on:
1. Playing skill
a. The committee will choose from three pieces of a different character, tempo and key prepared by the candidate, in which he/she shows the committee both command of the instrument and affinity with jazz. In playing these pieces improvisation should be an important part. For candidates who give priority to playing in an orchestra, there are also possibilities. In this case improvisatorial skills are less important.
b. The candidate must also play written material, e.g. jazz solos, jazz etudes, and/or classical etudes (bring 4 copies of sheet music for the committee).
c. Being able to play all major and minor scales and triads at a reasonable tempo.
The committee reserves the right to interrupt the candidate's playing as according to the committee, he/she has supplied enough information (because of the limited time of 30 minutes). Therefore it is important for the candidate to show his/her skills as quickly as possible: not too many and/or too long solos of fellow players, no unnecessary repetitions.
2. Hearing, tempo/timing and reading skills
This may consist of:
* playing by ear on harmonic progressions which are given by the committee members
* repeating of played fragments
* being able to play a prima vista a piece in jazz idiom (for instance a section from an orchestral part or a simple etude)
The committee supplements the examination with some exercises which must show the candidate's skills which have not been sufficiently disclosed up till then.
The possibilities to follow a principal subject study will be discussed by the committee. Important issues for the assessment are:
* musicality and hearing
* feeling for rhythm and tempo
* disposition for the instrument
* sight reading, technique, tone quality
The candidate must submit via the application form three links (YouTube, Soundlink etc). to audio or video recordings of their performances.
On the basis of these materials, the committee will assess the candidate's level. If the candidate's level meets the requirements for the master's degree programme, the candidate may be invited to do a practical audition. In this audition, the candidate will play three pieces, including one jazz standard (originality and a high level of improvising are required).
Candidates may bring their own accompaniment. It is also possible to make use of a conservatory trio; if you wish to do so, please state this on the application form.