Teaching, for me, has always gone hand in hand with performing and recording. As well as finding it very rewarding, I feel that it is the responsibility of the artist to pass on their knowledge and skill to others. I believe that just as an art should be a living, breathing, growing and changing thing, so in turn should education.
I do not teach in a way that says 'this is the one and only correct way', but rather I try to act as a guide to the student, enabling them to become their own teacher. Teaching requires many of the same skills as playing and improvising; listening carefully to the student to really hear what they need, developing strategies to help them learn in a way that suits them best, and respecting the individuality of each student.
After my own studies at Oxford and The Guildhall School of Music, I was lucky enough to study with saxophonist David Liebman. In addition to learning a lot from him musically, I learnt a tremendous amount about teaching. I highly recommend his article on the philosophy of education. Click Here to read it.
When teaching jazz improvisation, I use transcription as the cornerstone. I encourage my students to learn from the masters of the art as directly as possible, through listening to recordings and imitating them, then extending and integrating the material with their own ideas to create a unique voice. In the words of Clark Terry, 'Imitate, assimilate, innovate'!