The World’s First Edition of the Universal Method for Saxophone by Paul de Ville was published in 1908, and it is a product of the 19th century. Stravinsky wouldn’t compose “The Rite of Spring” for four years. It would be decades before Creston’s “Sonata”, Ibert’s “Concertino” or Glazounov’s “Concerto” would come along. Rudy Wiedoeft had not begun to popularize the saxophone. New Orleans Dixieland was trying to give birth to jazz. The saxophone was in its infancy.
The Universal Method, often called the “Bible” among saxophonists, has no information on the altissimo register, vibrato, multiple tonguing, and scales beyond major and minor. It devotes pages to exercises for the “new” Evette and Schaeffer System, which has been obsolete for 90 years. The musical samples are very narrow in style and include a lot of 19th century opera
But, even with these limitations it is still a great method. Anyone who has mastered it is a formidable player. Some teachers have a system for using the Universal Method. I have worked with a few teachers that extracted parts of the Method. But I have never studied all of it.
I once heard this interview with Doc Severinsen
Question – “Doc, what methods did you study?”
Doc- “The Arban.”
Question – “And after the Arban?”
Doc – “I played the Arban again, faster.”
Question – “And after that?”
Doc- “I played the Arban a third time even faster. I still play the Arban”
I intend to take the Doc Severinsen approach and play our “Bible” cover to cover and blog my evaluations. It is 320 pages long and considered to be a year long process to study it entirely.
I invite you to share your comments, suggestions, and techniques regarding your use of the Universal Method.
Thanks – Neal Ramsay

Published in: on September 17, 2009 at 6:24 am  Leave a Comment  

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