Matthew James, DMA

Professor of Saxophone & Jazz Studies
Office:  School of Music - 576 Robert Glidden Hall
Office Phone:  (740)593-0957
Office Hours:  by appointment

School of Music Undergraduate and Graduate Handbooks

Please be sure to read the appropriate student handbook, which will describe jury, PL/departmental and recital performance requirements and other important topics. A copy of the undergraduate and graduate handbooks
can be found here.  Incuded are details on required PL performances for all Music Education, Music Therapy and BA Music majors.


Be sure to have your assigned repertoire prepared to your best ability for every lesson, and be prepared with questions and issues that you want to address. Be sure to listen to a professional recording of the repertoire, and research the composer.  Plan to arrive at each lesson warmed up, with a notebook, your best reeds (not just one reed) and a professional-level saxophone in proper playing condition. It will be helpful to arrange a lesson time that allows for warmup prior to the lesson.  If you follow these steps you’re likely to progress quickly!!

If you have an exposed solo in an ensemble, you are required to bring this music to lessons for coaching. All are encouraged to bring ensemble music to lessons for help.


Your final applied lesson grade is based on:

65%    Average of your weekly lesson grades           

20%    Jury performance

  5%    Completion of weekly Journal entries on Blackboard                                   

  5%    Attendance & participation at studio classes and at saxophone-related events

  5%    Professional behavior, including respect for your studio colleagues and professors, and prompt return of instruments and music owned either by Dr. James or the university.

A jury that does not result in advancement in applied classification will result in a final applied lesson grade of no higher than a C.  For students not taking a jury, the lesson component will comprise 85% of the final grade.

Below is a description of lesson grading.  Keep in mind that Dr. James assigns a grade for each individual lesson.  Students are encouraged to request to view these grades at any time.

Grade in A range: Student obtains requested materials promptly; assignments are meticulously prepared and musically executed; student is performing at or ahead of chronological level; problems encountered in previous lessons are significantly reduced; student is attentive, cooperative and open to constructive criticism; student has no unexcused absences and arrives consistently on time with required materials.

Grade in B range: Student obtains requested materials promptly; assignments are adequately prepared and satisfactorily executed; student is at or slightly below chronological level; student shows evidence of having attempted to solve problems encountered at previous lessons; student is attentive and frequently cooperative; student is usually on time with required materials and has no unexcused absences.

Grade in C range: Student does not obtain materials promptly; assignments are only partially prepared and unsatisfactorily executed; student is below chronological level; student shows partial evidence of having attempted to solve problems encountered in previous lessons; student is apathetic to instruction; student is frequently late and misses lessons without prior notice.

Grade in D range: Student does not obtain materials promptly; assignments are largely unprepared; student is severely below chronological level; student shows little or no evidence of having attempted to solve problems encountered at previous lessons; student is resistant to instruction; student is frequently late and misses lessons without prior notice.

Studio Classes

Attendance and participation at studio class is expected, and considered part of your lesson grade. Studio class will be held throughout the academic year on most Mondays at 12:55pm. Critiqued student performances, guest lectures, student presentations and saxophone quartet coachings are common activities during studio class.


Your jury is a comprehensive evaluation of the progress you have made throughout the semester. Two juries a year are required until applied music requirements are met. One jury a year is required of graduate students, secondary students, students who have completed applied music requirements and non-majors who have studied the entire academic year. Consult the
Woodwind Division Jury Requirements and School of Music Undergraduate/Graduate Handbooks for specific requirements.  Some of the criteria for a successful jury include: accuracy of ensemble, warmth of tone, accurate intonation, accurate rhythm, cleanliness of finger technique and articulation, convincing musicality and expression, proper stage demeanor, confident scales, and confident sightreading (for qualifying juries).  Students are asked to bring at least three copies of all repertoire to the jury, and to dress professionally.

Journal Entries

All students are required to make weekly Journal entries on Blackboard, directly after their applied lesson.  The entries will summarize the lesson, confirm next week’s assignment, and describe the student’s practice goals for the week.  See Blackboard for more details.

    Materials & Equipment

It is expected that you own a metronome, tuner, and all etude and solo repertoire that is studied in lessons. Please see the
merchant list for help in obtaining these items.  In addition, always have at least one box of reeds at your disposal. Incoming students are asked to own a professional model alto saxophone by the end of freshman year.  It is also expected that necessary repair work be taken care of promptly.

Attendance Policy

Since lessons occur only once per week, attendance at each and every lesson is essential.  If you must miss a lesson and know in advance, do your best to switch lesson times with another saxophonist (consult the weekly schedule posted outside room 576).   If you are unable to switch with another student, please
contact Dr. James at least 2 days in advance to arrange a makeup lesson. Medical excuses, family emergencies and university-sponsored trips are acceptable reasons for rescheduling lessons. Unexcused absences (missed the bus, slept through lesson, didn’t feel prepared, called in sick but attended other classes that day) will be factored as zero credit when averaging your weekly lesson grades.  Attendance is required at all studio classes, saxophone recitals, woodwind departmentals and guest saxophone masterclasses.


It is your responsibility to secure an accompanist for all performances and juries.  Accompanists are listed on a roster that is circulated each semester from the Keyboard Division.  You should schedule necessary rehearsal time with the accompanist in advance and should be prepared to bring the accompanist to at least two lessons before a scheduled public performance. When giving an accompanied jury, the accompanist must be present in lessons at least by week 13 of the semester. You are responsible for informing the accompanist well in advance of lesson and performance obligations.  It’s important that you rehearse with your accompanist prior to your lesson. 

Checklist for Success

• Establish and maintain a daily practice routine.• Attend a variety of Ohio University
School of Music concerts. The more music performances you attend, the better musician you will become.• Regularly check my office bulletin board, the woodwind division bulletin board and your email for announcements.• Carry a calendar at all times.• Listen to recordings of the repertoire and research your composer before your lesson.• Record your lessons if you wish. • Practice consistently, maintain a positive attitude, and respect for yourself, your professor, and your fellow students. • Continue working on repertoire until we’ve mutually agreed upon moving to a new work.• Take good care of school-owned instruments and mouthpieces, and be organized and courteous about scheduling the use of these instruments.• Become a member of NASA and JEN.


Any student who suspects s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the class instructor privately to discuss the student’s specific needs and provide written documentation from the Office of Student Accessibility Services. If the student is not yet registered as a student with a disability, s/he should contact the Office of Student Accessibility Services.

Academic Misconduct

Please refer to the student Code of Conduct.

Applied Saxophone Study

Ohio University

MUS 3520/5434

Fall Semester 2014 Syllabus