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Callum Passells

Saxophone Lessons | Clarinet Lessons | Ensemble Coaching, Theory Lessons, Composition Lessons, Jazz Improvisation Lessons, NCEA Music Tutoring

  • Qualifications: Bachelor of Music, Jazz Major (University of Auckland) (PGDip Pending)
  • Pricing: $30 - 30 minutes (regular) $35 - 30 minutes (casual) $50 - 1 hour (regular) $60 - 1 hour (casual) $10 for travel costs if I come to you.
  • Styles: Jazz, pop, rock 'n' roll, modern classical, experimental, ska... you name it!
  • Suitability: Ages 8 and up! Absolute beginner to advanced/university level welcomed


I’m 25 years old, and have been working as a freelance performer and teacher for seven years now. Some of the musical groups/organisations I’ve worked with over the years:

  • Auckland Jazz Orchestra
  • Auckland Theatre Company
  • Blackbird Ensemble
  • The Managers
  • New Zealand Dance Company
  • Queen City Big Band
  • Roger Manins
  • Rodger Fox Big Band
  • Sal Valentine and the Babyshakes

I also write and perform my own music with bands around Auckland. I’ve toured around the country, with performances at Tauranga, Auckland, Waiheke, Christchurch Jazz Festivals, Auckland and Nelson Arts Festivals, Auckland Fringe Festival, Cabaret Festival, Prana New Years’ festival, Nostalgia Festival, Splore, NZ Silver Scroll Awards, among many others. I love performing, and believe that the best teachers have experience in a wide variety of performance situations, and a passion for music in all forms.

I have a Bachelor of Music (BMus Jazz) in saxophone studies from the University of Auckland, and received a number of scholarships and awards for high achievement, including the UOA Graduate Scholarship. I undertook informal study for three months in New York City, studying with saxophonist Bill McHenry.


Teaching Info

I split my method of teaching into two distinct parts: getting the best sound possible on your instrument (which is universal), and mastering whatever music you’d like to play (which is personal).

I have taught students along ABRSM and Trinity grades, up to ATCL diploma level, but I don’t prescribe that to every student; I want students to reach whatever personal goals they have, whether that’s becoming a professional musician, or just learning how to improvise over a blues. I can teach with or without musical notation, depending on what style of music you’re interested in.

I’ve studied with some of the best sounding saxophone players in the world, and I think I have a lot of knowledge to share when it comes to developing a good sound on the instrument. I have spent the last few years refining this into some basic rules that can help someone at any level achieve they saxophone sound they want.

I also have a wide experience of genre performance, playing jazz, blues, classical, avant garde/experimental, ska, etc… I don’t try to force students into a certain style or material – I know that we’re all more likely to work hard and practise if we like what we’re playing!

My speciality is in improvisation. Most of the work I do requires it, and it’s my favourite way of playing. I can guide students throught the absolute building blocks of improv through to advanced theory concepts and methods, keeping the sometimes stressful and anxiety-inducing act of improvising fun and low-pressure.

Over the years I have taught saxophone, clarinet, piano, drums, theory, composition, improvisation and basic computer music. In addition to my private teaching , here are some of the organisations  I’ve worked with:

  • ACG Parnell
  • Birkdale North Music Centre
  • Diocesan School for Girls
  • Glendowie College
  • Pinehurst School
  • Te Puna Hauora
  • University of Auckland (Academy programme)