Blake Wilkins is a saxophonist from Utah, where he studied with Dr. Ray Smith while attending BYU. He began playing the saxophone at age 12 and quickly acquired a taste for Jazz. Throughout high school he was a recipient of many state level awards including Outstanding Soloist at region and state festivals and the Louis Armstrong award. While at BYU Blake played lead and 2nd tenor in Synthesis, BYU's top jazz ensemble. Upon graduating from BYU Blake took a saxophone technician job at the Conn-Selmer factory in Elkhart Indiana, where he oversaw the quality control of Selmer Paris and Yanagisawa professional saxophones. In 2010 Blake returned to his studies at Indiana University as a masters student to study with great faculty such as Tom Walsh, David Baker, Jeremy Allen, Pat Harbison and Brent Wallarab. Upon completion of the masters program Blake went on to study at the University of Illinois as a Doctoral student under the direction of renowned saxophonist Chip McNeil, where he is in the final year of his studies. Blake also repairs woodwinds and teaches private lessons in his home studio.
My goal as an educator is to instill in the student a deep and lifelong appreciation of music. I believe that it is from this deep appreciation that they will find a drive to practice and develop as a musician. I feel that it is my role as an educator to introduce to the student a wide variety of genres and styles within the realm of saxophone playing. Students will naturally have an idea of what kind of music they are most interested in, and that is a great start to an appreciation of music and it becomes my responsibility to help them explore and branch out in both their listening and performance options. For some, appreciation of unexplored genres will come from learning how to play it, while others will have a desire to learn to play music that they have come to appreciate. Whatever the motivation, my primary role is to direct students to quality music, provide them with the tools to properly play a wide variety of styles, provide feedback on their progress, and ultimately teach the student how to practice so that they can then govern their own progress.