Jeff Harrington Creative Page

ONLINE JAZZ LESSONS and PRIVATE LESSONS (in the Newton and Boston MA areas) in improvisation (for all instruments) in all styles (bop, modal, funk, blues, fusion, smooth jazz, Latin, and classical) and saxophone technique (beginner through professional).

Here's a description of the different lesson formats. For more info email me at or call 617-332-0176.


• I find out as much as I can about your experience, preferences and goals.

• I send you a detailed and organized lesson assignment by email (using pdf and mp3 files) or by mail including audio tracks on a CD and written music (for more specifics see ABOUT THE LESSONS below).

• I thoroughly explain each part of the assignment and play examples of how it should sound.

• You practice, record and send the assignment back to me. You can contact me with questions at any time.

• After receiving and listening to your CD, tape or email, I send you comments, suggestions, my own playing of various examples and the next lesson.

• Each lesson is individually tailored to your needs and preferences. In other words, private lessons by mail or email.

• It is strongly suggested, for your own progress, that you send the assignment back within a month's time, if possible.


• The only requirement for a live lesson is a computer and a web cam.
• Written music and recordings are sent by email.
• You get all the benefits of a private lesson without leaving your home.


• Together we schedule a mutually convenient day and time for the lesson. At that time, I call you and the lesson begins.

• The lesson follows the same basic format as a regular private lesson with the natural give and take between teacher and student.

• Lesson materials, such as written music and customized play-along CD's, are mailed, faxed or emailed to you ahead of time as needed.

• In order for the lesson to be effective, it is helpful to have either a speakerphone or a headset phone so your hands are free to play your instrument. Contact me for additional information regarding brands and model numbers starting at $25.

• PHONE LESSONS were originated by a student of mine who was a frequent business traveler and wanted to continue lessons on the road. I have had many phone students over the years and have been amazed at how well it works.

• Lessons by phone can be taken once a week, every two weeks or once a month.

• It's possible to combine any of the LESSON by MAIL, PHONE or INTERNET formats.


• If you're looking to have your playing evaluated I would be happy to do so.
• Simply send me a recording on a tape or CD (anything will do). I will review it and then we can either talk by phone (one hour) or I can send you written comments, materials and suggestions.


(Ready-To-Go Lessons On Specific Topics)

  • How To Work On Tunes
  • How To Work On Blues
  • How To Work On Transcriptions
  • How To Practice And Apply Scales
  • How To Practice Altissimo


These lessons were originally created in response to students' requests. Now, 15 years later, with students around the world, I have found Lessons Phone or Internet to be an extremely effective way of teaching both improvisation (to all instrumentalists and vocalists), and woodwind technique. A few of the advantages are: 1) you can work at your own time and pace; 2) you have a permanent record of the lessons; 3) you receive state-of-the-art personalized instruction for less than the cost of a local teacher.

First, I find out as much as I can about your experience and goals. Then, I try to determine the best and most appropriate place to begin. I give you materials, which are not only fun but will help you reach your goals quickly and efficiently. All styles (including bop, modal, blues, fusion, smooth jazz, Latin, and classical) and aspects of woodwind technique are taught – from beginner to advanced.

For improvisation, I feel it's important to get a solid foundation of chords and scales and then to build from there. While this information is being absorbed, I teach you how to improvise using a unique system of written lines and customized play-along CD's.

For intermediate to advanced students, I stress various exercises which enable you to play improvisational techniques (chord tone soloing, bop scales, approaches notes, 3217/3517 lines and pentatonics, for example) over chord changes, with rhythmic accuracy and without getting lost. These exercises take the mystery out of improvisation by giving you concrete, logical and systematic approaches to improvising. Learning tunes, transcribed solos, ear training, vocabulary, instrumental technique and theory are also emphasized.

I have carefully developed these proven methods over many years of teaching, performing, research and study. For further info contact me at 617-332-0176 or


(click on live links to see examples)

  • Tonic Systems
  • 7th, 9th, 11th, and 13th Chords Approach Notes
  • Cycling
  • Chord Tone
  • Soloing How To Work On Blues
  • Symmetrical Diminished Scales
  • Symmetrical Diminished -7 & -7(5) Patterns
  • Whole Tone Scales
  • Intervalic Improvisation
  • Harmonic Analysis
  • Theory
  • Ear Training
  • Articulation
  • Time Feels
  • Tone Studies
  • Compositional Techniques
  • Bebop Cliches
  • Vocabulary and Language
  • How To Practice and Apply Scales
  • Diatonic Patterns
  • bIII-7 bVI7 Substitutions Over II-7 V7
  • Intervallic Cycling
  • Multiphonics
  • Quoting
  • Practice Routines
  • Mouthpieces
  • Building Technical Facility
  • Performance Techniques
  • Keyboard Skills
  • Voicings
  • Subtone
  • Ghosting
  • Upper and Lower Structure Triads
  • Overtones
  • Number Permutation Systems
  • Repertoire and Learning Tunes
  • How To Work On Tunes
  • 23rd Chords
  • Bop Scales
  • Bop Scale Substitutions
  • 7, -6, -6#5 and -7b5 Pentatonic Scales
  • Voice Leading
  • Inversions
  • Transcribing
  • Rhythmic Displacement
  • Melodic Embellishment
  • All Styles
  • Reharminization
  • Transposing
  • Symmetrical Augmented Scale
  • Modes
  • How To Work On Transcriptions
  • Growling
  • How To Practice Altissimo
  • Repeating & Matching Patterns
  • Scale Tone Soloing
  • Reeds
  • False Fingerings
  • Reading
  • 3217 & 3517 Lines
  • 5432 & 5732 Lines
  • Embouchure
  • Vibrato
  • Bending
  • Glissandos
  • Upper and Lower Structure 7th Chords
  • Breathing
  • Tetrachords
  • Blues Licks
  • Thematic Improvisation
  • II-V-I Line Compendiums
  • Triadic Pairs
  • Various Approaches to Playing "Outside"
  • Harmonic Anticipation and Delay
  • Synthetic Scales
  • Polyrhythms


Saxophonist, composer, author, educator and producer, Jeff Harrington is a Professor at Berklee College of Music (where he teaches saxophones, improvisation and jazz history), a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Affiliated Artis, a Harvard University MLSP Instructor and a Rico Endorsed Artist.

An active performer, recording artist and clinician, he has performed in Europe, St. Thomas, Martinique, the Philippines, Barbados, Los Angeles, the southwest US and throughout New England.

Through his International Jazz Correspondence Lessonsรƒ‚ร‚ยฎ, he distance-teaches improvisation and saxophone world-wide.

His recordings include Cosmic Motion Picture with his own quartet, One by the Reed Dieffenbach Quartet,Homecookin'! (Reed Dieffenbach Quintet) and So Tru by Trudy Sandhaus, among others. A new solo album,Emanation, as well as an upcoming CD by Reed Dieffenbach are due out in 2013.

In addition, he's the author of Blues Improvisation Complete (Berklee Press / Hal Leonard), available in Bb, Eb, C and C bass clef, Famous Saxophone Solos from R&B, Pop and Smooth Jazz (Berklee Press / Hal Leonard), Great Tenor Saxophone Solos, Vol. 1 & 2, Great Smooth Jazz, R&B, and Pop Tenor Saxophone Solos, and Written Solos On Standard Tunes, Vol. 1 & 2.

Essential Solos On Standard Progressions (Advance Music) is due out in 2013.

Performing credits include touring as a featured soloist with the Gene Krupa Orchestra and performances with Milt Hinton, Ricky Ford, Makoto Ozone, Kenwood Denard, Bruce Gertz, Joe Hunt, Bob Gillotti, Bob Kaufman, Oscar Stagnaro, Rachael Z, George Schuller, Jon Damian, Billy Kilson, Ron Savage, Tim Rey, Vinny Golia, and Mike Turk among others. Locally, he freelances in the Boston area.

Studies in saxophone, improvisation, composition, clarinet, flute, piano and drums with Jerry Bergonzi, Joe Viola, George Garzone, Rick Margitza, Charlie Banocas, Andy Snitzer, John Mehegan, Jack Berky, George Russell, John La Porta, Arnie Lawrence, Jimmy Guiffre, Bob Moses, Bill Dixon, Barry Harris, Leon Russianoff, Ignatius Gennusa, Henry Brandt, Matt Marvuglio and Milford Graves.

His degrees include an M.M. from New England Conservatory of Music and a B.M. from Berklee College of Music, as well as, additional undergraduate studies at The Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, Manhattan School of Music and Bennington College.

Updated:  July 17, 2015

Back to Profile