Jazz Clinics – Winter 2021

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calendarFriday, 19 February

Jazz clinics and a saxophone masterclass have been the theme of the last month. I have had quite a few Zooms calls for high school and university music programs. No visits to exotic destinations, but great conversations, nonetheless. 🙂 Please contact me if you would like me to visit with your students!

Jazz Clinics

? First, I taught a sectional for the OKMEA All-State Jazz Ensemble saxophone section, directed by Dana Landry.

? After that, I joined Dr. Mary-Karen Clardy and the UNT College of Music flute studio for a masterclass. My presentation was entitled “The Flute in Jazz and Commercial Music.” We discussed some of my work as a jazz saxophonist, flutist, and clarinetist. Then, we talked about approaching the flute from a classical performance background. The students had lots of great questions!

? As President-Elect of the Oklahoma Jazz Educators’ Association, I participated in a jazz education director roundtable for the SWOSU JAZZ A, JAZZ B, and the 51st Annual Jazz Festival. The panel was moderated by Dr. Richard Tirk and featured Oklahoma jazz educators Dr. Terry Segress and Joe Metzer. We discussed music selection, rehearsal techniques, and recruiting strategies for middle school, high school, and college jazz bands. Dallas jazz musician and drummer Stockton Helbing was the guest artist for the festival. Have a listen to his music at his site.

Saxophone Masterclass

? This week, I presented “Taming and Tuning Your Saxophone Section” for the Kentucky Music Educators Association conference. In this clinic, I explained saxophone tone fundamentals and gave practical steps for music educators to develop their saxophone section performers. After presenting this at the Texas Music Educators’ Association and the Jazz Education network conferences, I had some great feedback from directors. I thought this was an oddly quiet Zoom call. Afterwards, I found out after the fact that 50 attendees were watching and commenting on the conference website. ?

Music education colleagues, please contact me if I can offer help to you or your students. I offer clinics in the areas of saxophone, clarinet, flute, jazz improvisation, and music technology. I am glad to work with your departmental budget restraints. Also, you may apply for clinic funding through Conn-Selmer or Vandoren USA.

TMEA All-State Saxophone Class

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calendarThursday, 30 July

Looking forward to sharing thoughts on tone, technique, and detailed walkthroughs of the three TMEA all-state band saxophone etudes on Monday, August 3rd from 7:30-9 PM. After 7+ years of online teaching and guiding hundreds of students through this process, I look forward to sharing what I have learned. Texas saxophonists auditioning for all-region and all-state bands are welcome to attend. Register Here!

ii-V-I Lick for F Blues & Autumn Leaves

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calendarSaturday, 18 July

Sometimes, the key to great improvisation is to use less melodic vocabulary in multiple contexts. Here is a ii-V-I Lick in three contexts over F Blues and “Autumn Leaves”:

– the ii-V-I progression in the last four bars of F blues
– the major ii-V-I in the first four bars of “Autumn Leaves”
– the minor ii-V-I in the second four bars of “Autumn Leaves”

F Blues is the 2020-2021 Texas and Oklahoma All-Region Jazz Band Audition Improv Etude. “Autumn Leaves” is the 2020-2021 Texas All-State Jazz Band Audition Improv Etude.

TMEA/OkMEA Jazz Improvisation Masterclass

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calendarMonday, 13 July

When I post the TMEA and OKMEA saxophone etudes every year, quite a few students comment and ask for tips on the improvisation etudes. This year, I wanted to dedicate a special masterclass to this. Join me Thursday night and learn the keys to practicing and improvising over F Blues, Autumn Leaves, ii-V-I vocabulary, and more.

This will cover F blues (TX/OK) and Autumn Leaves (TX), two common songs/progressions that all jazz musicians should know.

Register today at In Harmony Lessons.

TMEA Jazz Saxophone Etudes Masterclass!

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calendarThursday, 18 June

Join me on Monday, June 29th at 6 PM for an online masterclass covering the Texas Music Educator’s Association All-State All-Region Jazz Etudes. We’ll discuss:

  • Etudes 1, 2, 3
  • Practice Techniques
  • Improving Your Tone
  • Articulation
  • Audition Tips
  • Metronome Tips
  • And more!

Register here – spots are limited! Use the discount code INHARMONY21 for $10 off registration.

Online Saxophone Lessons with Justin

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calendarMonday, 25 May

I am pleased to join the faculty of In Harmony Lessons, offering online instruction in saxophone and jazz improvisation for all instruments. If you have an internet connection and a laptop or mobile device, you are all set! To book a lesson, click here.

Vandoren Regional Artist Program – Dallas Fort-Worth – OKC Saxophone Lesson Teacher

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calendarSunday, 07 August

Vandoren Regional Artist Justin Pierce

Vandoren Regional Artist Justin Pierce

As long as I have played music, I have always enjoyed performing on Vandoren reeds on both saxophone and clarinet. Their consistency, quality, and beautiful tone make them a natural recommendation for students and professionals. For these reasons, I am thrilled to partner with DANSR, Inc. as a Vandoren Regional Artist, presenting clinics and masterclasses at schools across the region. Music teachers who would like to host a free Vandoren masterclass for your saxophones, clarinets, or jazz band may fill out the Contact Form. Please include your name, school name, possible clinic dates/times, and desired topics (ex. articulation, reed selection, all-state masterclass, jazz improvisation). Looking forward to visiting your school soon!

Vandoren Regional Artist Site


I am here in Beaumont Texas… Do you know of any jazz sax teachers around the Beaumont area.
[email protected]


Hi Mr. Pierce !
I’m a high school student from Houston, TX wondering if you could give me some practicing tips on the Jazz Etudes for Region and All-State band. By practicing I mean how to practice the piece and divide by chunks and how slow to go. I’ve always wanted to do region band, but I never put in the practice required, but this year I think I’m going to put myself out there and try my best. BTW, I really like your tone on your YouTube videos! I play on a Meyer 5L and play on Rico jazz select. Do you think I should try some Javas (like size 2 1/2).

Arya Nallanthighall

I would like to take private lessons this summer to improve my improvistional/ sight reading skills.