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Music Professor Gail Levinsky Profiled in Saxophone Journal

Published on February 24, 2011


SELINSGROVE, Pa.— From an early age, musician Gail Levinsky knew she wanted to be a teacher. Mesmerized in middle school by the experience of learning to play the saxophone, she eventually pursued a career that combined her love of teaching, performance and scholarship.

Now an associate professor of music at Susquehanna University, Levinsky reflects on her music interests, the educator-mentors who influenced her, and her own teaching and performance styles in an interview published in the January/February issue of The Saxophone Journal. The international magazine features leading jazz, pop and classical artists in the world of saxophone.

Always striving to become a better musician and performer, Levinsky’s passion for teaching and learning comes through loud and clear.

“I believe one of the challenges for young musicians is becoming aware that what is being played sounds differently behind the instrument from what someone else hears in front of the instrument, “she notes in the article. Accordingly, she encourages her students to record their practice sessions—advice that she follows in her own profession.

In the wide-ranging interview, Levinsky discusses a course she designed at Susquehanna University that most colleges do not offer. Instrumental Pedagogy & Literature helps Susquehanna wind-percussion music majors develop their abilities to teach lessons on a one-on-one basis. “Most young teachers learn by trial and error…by allowing our students, within the context of this course, to not only learn the skills associated with teaching their specific instrument, but also to observe Susquehanna applied music faculty teach, and how they themselves address pedagogical issues such as embouchure, breathing, tonguing/diction, and so forth on their instruments, is really quite educational. I think this is the students’ favorite part of the course, observing how our faculty teach.”

The article details Levinsky’s many academic, professional and performance accomplishments, including the release of her 2010 recording titled “Tipping Point” and the publication of a specialized method book for teaching the highest range of the saxophone. Her current research includes a collaborative project with Marcos Krieger, assistant professor of music at Susquehanna, documenting compositions written for saxophone and organ, and their specific technical requirements for both instruments.

Karen M. Jones


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