A private saxophone teacher for 30 years, Chris has served as a musical instructor for The New School, Jazz at Lincoln Center and the New York City Board of Education. As a Cultural Envoy for the US Department of State, he has performed educational outreach for school audiences abroad in 58 countries. He coordinated multiple faculty members as the co-director of Jazz Futures Bicommunal Workshop in Nicosia, Cyprus from 2008-2013, and co-directed American Jazz in Syria for the US Embassy Damascus from 2010-2011.
Byars was awarded the CMA Residency Partnership Program twice, for his original projects The Music of Gigi Gryce and Bronx Jazz Series. For these residencies, he served as Artistic Director, solicited supporting grants, recruited participating schools and community organizations, and created the curricula.
Lessons with Chris Byars are a highly customized experience. Depending on the needs of the student, attention is given to the areas ranging from mechanics such as tone production, posture, embouchure and breathing techniques, to conceptual points such as improvisation, repertoire development and transcribing classic solos from the jazz tradition. Students will gain personal access to the New York City jazz scene, becoming familiarized with local players, venues and practical knowledge through in-lesson discussions.
Chris is available for private lessons in person (in the New York City area) or via Skype (anywhere). Areas of study include saxophone, improvisational theory, arranging, band leading and career counseling.
"In addition to being a musician of the highest caliber, Mr. Byars is an exceptionally skilled educator who knows how to break complex systems into bite-sized digestible pieces depending on the age and/or level of ability of the students he is working with."
-Eli Yamin, Managing and Artistic Director, The Jazz Drama Program