Matthias Petzold belongs to the younger generation of German jazz musicians. He has recorded 8 CDs with his own compositions in many different ensembles and has published them under his label ‘Indigo-Records’. His works have been very well received by industry experts and music lovers alike. Some of his compositions have been commissioned by the WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk) symphony orchestra and the WDR Big Band. He has had many years of teaching experience in various music schools with pupils of all ages and abilities. He was able to fall back on these experiences when working on his own compositions, which have been published by the AMA Publishing House (‘Scenes from a Sketchbook’, AMA No. 610226, among others).
After publishing his music books, he also wrote a 2-book saxophone course. The first version for tenor saxophone has also been transposed for the alto saxophone.
At the end of the first book, pupils should be able to play in a big band, an orchestra or in another type of ensemble. In this way, the pupil will become familiar with a range of up to E6, alongside the basics of playing the saxophone (e.g. breathing and intonation). In the final seven chapters, Matthias Petzold prepares his pupils for playing in an ensemble with topics like swing phrasing, semi-quaver notation in pop music and improvisation with pentatonic scales. All pieces are set up so that, alongside solo etudes and scales, there are also many pieces that can be played with the CD accompaniment or as a duet. The main focus in the choice of pieces is music from the 20th century by Georg Gershwin, though ‘classics’ have not been forgotten: e.g. “Der Vogelfänger” from Mozart’s ‘Magic Flute’, “Ländliches Lied” by Schumann, “Andante” by Telemann or Ravel’s “Bolero”.
The second book, “Steps Ahead”, is a continuation of the first book. This book can however also be used in connection with any other beginner’s course, if the pupils have already mastered the range C4 to E6. The book is split into 3 sections. In the first part, new techniques will be practiced, to polish the player’s saxophone technique. The range will be widened to C#4 and F#6, with one chapter being dedicated to chromatic scales and another to enharmonic equivalents. The second and third parts look more closely at classical music and jazz and the technical particularities that go along with them. In the second part, Matthias Petzold begins with the polyphony in Gregorian choral music, going over baroque music with its trills, grace notes and other forms of ornamentation, Viennese classical music, all the way up to the romantic period with the vibrato technique. In the chapter on jazz, the player will work on techniques like glissando, bebop, syncopation, ghost notes and other common concepts in jazz.
These stylistically diverse books each end with a chapter on improvisation – the most important way of playing for jazz music. The accompanying pieces, recorded on the CD by a professional band, give the saxophonist the feeling that they are playing together with other musicians.