Trumpet Lessons now available via Fife Sax School


Fife Sax School are delighted to announce that trumpet lessons are now available to book via our website. Kevin Ferris is a highly experienced player and educator who has enjoyed a varied career playing all over the world.

Originally from Fife and spending his formative years in Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra, Kevin has gone on to have a busy career as a session musician. His work has included playing in theatres and cruise ships, as well as working with big bands and orchestras. He also enjoys working with up-and-coming musicians via his private teaching, conducting Inverkeithing Community Big Band and tutoring on the Richard Michael Jazz Summer Course each year.

Kevin is happy to work with trumpet players of all ages and abilities. He provides tailored tuition to suit each individual’s goals and needs as a player. Perhaps you would like advice on embouchure and breathing, the basics of reading music and rhythm, or you may be interested in taking your first steps into jazz and improvisation. Whatever your ambitions Kevin’s relaxed and friendly approach will put you at ease and help you to develop your musical potential.

Wether you are a complete beginner or an experienced player, we are always happy to offer advice and information prior to starting lessons via phone or email. If you do not yet have an instrument, then we can offer an initial consultation on where to buy or hire an instrument, and to answer any questions you might have about whether trumpet lessons are the right choice for you. You will find our well-equipped teaching studio just outside of Kirkcaldy warm and welcoming, and a great place to learn.

Légère Synthetic Reed Promotion

20% off selected Légère synthetic reeds at the Wind Section, Edinburgh!

Available throughout July in-store and online from The Wind Section. If you’ve been thinking about using synthetic reeds then this is a great chance to try some out at a reduced price.

I have been experimenting with synthetic reeds for the last couple of years, and they have some amazing benefits. Personally, I am still using traditional cane reeds alongside synthetics for different environments. But I love having the option of a reed that is completely reliable and non-variable for those situations where it works for me. They’re especially useful for the bigger saxes, but I’ve enjoyed playing them on alto too.

Book now for Saturday Saxes January 2022

Booking is now open for our next set of ten sessions for Saturday Sax Group!

We’ve had a great time this term working together and the group is sounding great!  It’s not too late to come along and join us in January though.  As ever we offer a relaxed, fun approach and we learn together.

Each 90 minute session offers a chance to play through two or three tunes, and we also offer tips and techniques to improve your playing. Topics we’ve covered this term include ensemble skills (keeping your place, listening, phrasing together) as well as playing in difficult keys and time signatures.

We know it can be daunting joining a group for the first time, so if you’re unsure about coming along and want to have a chat just email us at

Rehearsals restart for Fife Community Sax Group August 21st 2021

We can’t wait to get restarted with Fife Community Sax Group! As usual, we’ll have a variety of great music to play through including jazz, pop and classical music. Tutor Ellie Steemson will be on hand to help with technique and performance tips.

The sax group is relaxed and welcoming, and we are open to saxophonists of all ages. Though there is no minimum ability requirement to join, a basic level of playing experience and reading music will be helpful. If you’re at all unsure then please get in touch and we will be happy to answer your questions!

Summer 2020 Update

Well, it’s fair to say none of us expected 2020 to pan out in quite the way it has so far! Fife Sax School has been lucky to have been able to keep our doors open via online lessons. It was a steep learning curve to begin with, but has now pretty much become second nature!

Use of recordings and PDF material to assist with learning have meant that the lessons have been a great substitute for a face-to-face lesson. We have seen some brilliant results from online lessons for both existing student and new beginners alike, with students throughout the UK and as far afield as China. Having experienced first-hand how successful online lessons can be, we plan to continue offering after normality returns for those who prefer this, or cannot attend our lessons in Fife due to their location.

We were sad to have to stop our group sessions just as they had got up and running, but we are very much looking forward to the time when we can get these going again. We so enjoyed the event at the King’s Theatre Kirkcaldy in March, and will be in touch as soon as we are able to organise something.

In the meantime, stay safe and we look forward to being able to welcome you back to Fife Sax School in person in the not too distant future.

A brief guide for those new to playing music in a group

By Ellie Steemson                                                                       14thAugust 2019

 Playing in an ensemble is one of the most beneficial activities for those learning a musical instrument, whatever your age or experience.  As a teacher I notice a huge leap forward in my students’ playing when they play regularly as part of a group.  It’s also really good fun – but it can feel daunting when you go along to your first rehearsal.  I’ve written this guide to give you a bit more of an idea of what to expect, along with a few hints and tips to maximise your success.  I hope you find it helpful!

What does it feel like playing in a large group for the first time?

If you are used to practicing on your own without any accompaniment it will feel quite different.  The music will probably seem to whizz by, and to begin with you may find it difficult to stay in the right place (musicians tend to use the term ‘getting lost’).  

The main thing is not to panic – mistakes always feel huge to you as a player, but I’ve lost count of the number of times people have said to me ‘Well I totally messed up … in that piece’ and if they hadn’t told me I would have had no idea!  As a conductor, I will never be angry with anyone for getting lost or making a mistake. Mistakes are learning tools, and anyone who is trying to stop themselves from making a mistake is stopping themselves from learning!

Do your best to find your way back in. As the conductor I may notice and try to help you, and I will try to give an obvious signal whenever we get to a rehearsal mark in the piece.  Or your desk partner (the person you share a music stand with) or neighbour might be able to help you out if they are more experienced by pointing out where you are.  If all else fails just stop playing and listen to the rest of the piece.  You can learn a lot this way so don’t be afraid to take some time out – it may well help you to avoid getting lost again in future. 

There are two ways you can look at playing in a group.  On the one hand you can think that if you’ve made a mistake you’re letting everyone down. Or, the more positive way of looking at this is to say that all the other people are there to catch you if you fall.  The best group playing happens when everyone is supportive of one another and forgiving of their mistakes.  Try to keep your focus on the whole sound of the group, rather than getting too bogged down in playing your own part perfectly.   

What to expect in rehearsals:

When you are part of a large group, individual playing problems (with notes, rhythms, etc.) are a matter for practice at home.  What we are aiming to do is make a great group sound, and with a large group of people that is inevitably (every single time, including concerts!) going to include mistakes by lots of folk – me as a conductor included.  We are all human. 

Rehearsing a new piece will normally start with playing it through roughly from start to finish.  We will then go through it in smaller sections where we may work on areas like dynamics, timing, tuning and balance, then going back to run the piece through and (hopefully!) retain all the things we just worked on.  We may also rehearse smaller groups within the ensemble, if they have related parts. 

It may be tempting to have a quick practice of a difficult passage during the rehearsal, but try to avoid doing this at it can become quite disruptive (contagious noodling then ensues!).  If you do have a difficult section to go over, use your pencil to mark it or make a note of it for yourself when you are practicing at home. 

Use your pencil lots! I use mine to write accidentals in if I need to, to circle important dynamics that I may forget to play, or to make annotations such as who is playing the tune, what the conductor is counting in or how many times to repeat a section. 

Good rehearsal discipline saves loads of time and creates brilliant results.  If everyone takes responsibility for this on an individual level then the group is a lot more productive. 

Following a conductor:

The conductor has two sides to their role.  The practical side involves the basics of making sure the pieces start and finish together, showing the speed and time signature, and trying to encourage the written dynamics and articulation through gestures with the body.  They are also responsible for keeping the rehearsal on track in terms of timing and material covered, and in a performance they provide a focal point for the audience too.

The other side is more creative.  Great ensembles play with a unified intention behind the music, and the conductor might convey this through gestures with the body, and through verbally sharing their concepts and feelings about the music.  

Hints and tips:

  • Always keep a pencil (preferably with an eraser on) in your sax case for use in rehearsals.
  • When playing sitting down, it is best to sit near the front of your chair, and bear in mind that you will probably need to have the mouthpiece at a slightly different angle than you would when standing.
  • If you have a tuner or tuning app, it’s worth checking your tuning when everyone is warming up at the beginning of the rehearsal. We will tune together as well, but it can make things easier if you are already in roughly the right place.

Copyright: Ellie Steemson  14thAugust 2019

Fife Community Sax Group

Just getting some music ready for our first Fife Community Sax Group rehearsal on Monday.

If you’re a local sax player, why not join us? No previous ensemble playing experience needed. Just bring yourself, your sax and a music stand if you have one.

If you’re not sure whether it’s for you, just come along and try it out. There are five weekly sessions in total, but you don’t have to come to every single one. Cost is £5 per session.

If you’d like to come, all you need to do is contact us. Hope to see you there!