Shannon LeClaire

Associate Professor

"At my level, I'm really trying to get students to play their horns well and get fundamentals down. Because I'm in the Woodwind Department, I get a lot of jazz players, and I focus on bebop and on learning language. I want them to have a basic set of skills no matter what. I don't want anybody leaving my studio saying that I didn't diagnose a problem right and then try to correct it."

"Even though I have a very large studio, I try the best I can to have an individual relationship with each student, whether that means going out for pizza or encouraging emails. I love teaching: this is what I intended to do, and that's why I went to Indiana University, with both Eugene Rousseau, a world-class classical saxophonist, and David Baker, a famous jazz pedagogue. I was David Baker's teaching assistant for three years and developed a great relationship with him. It definitely influenced my teaching style. And professionally, I still play in the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, which he directs."

"Berklee's phenomenal for a few reasons. One, at no other school are you going to get this choice of teachers. Two, students are always jamming, in ensembles and after-school sessions, because there are so many students here. And three, the theory and ear training here is really applicable, whereas at a normal college, the program is classical theory. While it's great background, it doesn't really apply. Here you learn it on your horn and you can use it immediately, and that's a good thing."

Career Highlights

 

  • B.A., Cornish College of the Arts
  • M.M., Western Washington University
  • Former instructor at Indiana University School of Music and Purdue University
  • Saxophonist/clarinetist with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra