“Joel Purnell was the most inspiring and helpful teacher I’ve studied with. He prepared me for the professional working scene and I still work today on topics we studied. Not only does he share his wealth of knowledge in the lessons but he also provides you with material and thoughts that stay with you through your journey as a musician.” 

-  Jake Edmondson
   (Professional Saxophonist)


“Studying with Joel has dramatically altered me as a musician from the ground upwards in a number of ways. His teaching style is unique, firstly in getting me to think about the nature of learning and processing music to inform how I practise. Virtually every aspect of my musicianship has been addressed and developed for the better, and Joel has provided me with fresh perspectives on fundamentals like scheduling my practise, what and how long to practise, and the best ways to tackle technical challenges. More specifically, he has introduced me to new and concise ways of approaching harmony, something which I have found invaluable as a pianist.” 

-  Alec Robinson
   (Professional Pianist / Educator)


My time studying under Joel Purnell were my most informative and inspirational years at Leeds College of Music. Joel's ability to make complicated topics surrounding music and the saxophone simple to comprehend and apply, is something which really helped to further me as a musician and educator. 

Joel creates a relaxed and friendly environment to study in during lessons and was always very supportive. Each lesson felt like I was having cotton wool pulled away from in-front of my eyes, revealing clear content & concepts to go home and study. I now strive to deliver this clarity in my own teaching as a result of the analytical, engaging and exciting teaching Joel provided for me. 

Joel's resources which he provides for his students are an encyclopaedia of well constructed and analysed ideas, covering topics including: how to practise, learning repertoire, improvising, musicianship, ear training etc. Alongside this, he provides vital and inspiring information about becoming a professional musician. To this day, I still refer back to these notes, they are gold dust to students as well as developing musicians who take lessons with him.” 

-  Ben Lowman
   (Professional Saxophonist / Educator) 


“Joel Purnell was my principal study tutor for 2 years whilst I was enrolled at Leeds College of Music from 2011-13. During this time my understanding of harmony, improvisation and saxophone technique improved an enormous amount. Joel’s method of teaching is incredibly organised and systematic, which I (and many of my fellow students) found extremely beneficial. Joel also has a limitless supply of resources, which - aided with the latest technology!! - he integrates brilliantly into lessons. I have since adopted many of his teaching techniques, and still continue practising fundamental concepts that we talked about in our lessons. 

Joel is very friendly and personable - he has the perfect balance between maintaining a professional relationship with students, whilst still being approachable to talk about any issues a music student might encounter.” 

-  Robin Porter
   (Professional Saxophonist / Educator) 


“I had a great experience studying saxophone with Joel during the four years of my MA and PhD in Music at the University of York. We covered all the main aspects of saxophone playing and improvising including technique, phrasing, jazz language, harmony, improvisation exercises, a vast repertoire and compositional studies. The key to success was the organised methodology Joel created that has been a great inspiration for me as a current saxophone tutor in a conservatoire in Chile. He encouraged me to be creative as an improviser developing my own phrases rather than learning from standard saxophone methods which really stimulated me to enjoy my individual practise. I feel very lucky to have had lessons with Joel and I'm very grateful for his advice towards my professional career and life. I'd definitely recommend him as saxophone maestro” 

-  Ricardo Alvarez Bulacio
   (Professional Saxophonist / HE Lecturer)


“In my very first lesson with Joel, I was instantly blown away with not only his immense knowledge on jazz and saxophone, but also the way he sensitivity delivered the lesson to me; very quickly picking up on how to present it in such a way I could take on board exactly what he was saying to improve my overall musicianship. Joel teaches with a kind, caring and uniquely humorous manner which delivers his teachings in a fun and enjoyable way and it’s this uniqueness that makes him stand out from everyone else. Each lesson I’ve had with Joel not only includes topics that are essential but also he structures each one in such a way where the lessons learnt from them can help me achieve my own personal goals showing how he cares for his students and helping them achieve their musical ambitions.  

Joel has a student pack which includes absolutely everything on it that you could possibly need including: lead sheets (C, Bb & Eb), playalongs, exercises, hundreds of transcriptions, practise techniques, musician support and much more. In a lesson we’d breakdown a chart, improvise using the playalong, then I can go away and practise just as we did in the lesson to perfect the new skills taught by his mastery.  

Joel is an absolutely amazing teacher with a sensitive, innovative, unique style suited to anyone with a passion for jazz.”  

-  Zak Parlby


“Joel's lessons were, without a doubt, the most beneficial and important part of my time at LCoM. Having arrived at LCoM with mainly a classical background and only a very basic understanding of jazz, Joel's systematic, step-by-step approach to jazz harmony and improvisation was hugely constructive. Week by week we would work on a different aspect of improvisation, applying everything we were studying to jazz standards repertoire. I particularly valued listening to Joel demonstrating things on his sax and also 'trading 8s'with me. 

Another great aspect of his lessons was the bank of digital resources he shared, which included lead sheets, playalongs, recordings to transcribe and written notes all categorised really helpfully.  As well as improvisation other aspects we also worked on included tone, posture, embouchure, breathing, stylistic playing techniques, scales, studies and sight reading. Every lesson had a clear objective and an overall organised scheme for the year whilst still being tailored to what I needed to focus on which I found beneficial. 

Week in, week out I would come away from lessons feeling inspired to practise what I'd learnt, and looking back I made huge progress over those years all down to Joel's directive style. Now a professional musician myself, these lessons were invaluable to my career and I can honestly say I wouldn't be doing what I am today without them.” 

-  Jonny Faull
   (Professional Saxophonist) 


“Joel was my mentor\teacher for the final year of my degree. I feel that Joel’s style of teaching is extremely unique and enhanced my playing to a completely new level. But above all, Joel let me explore my inner musical flair and was able to accommodate my passion for various music styles. I have now chosen to follow in the footsteps of Joel as an inspirational role model and hope to achieve success with my pupils just as Joel has accomplished.”  

-  Ben Smith
   (Professional Saxophonist / Educator) 


“Joel Purnell taught me for three years at Leeds College of Music from 2012 until 2015. To this day I am still using his methods and techniques for every gig I do - no matter what the style or genre is. The resources Joel gave me, on my first day with him as my teacher, are still being studied too. He made each concept and idea easy to understand and a simple demonstration was all I needed. Priceless teaching and I highly recommend him!” 

-  Jonny Yeoman
   (Professional Saxophonist) 


“I studied with Joel for two years as an undergraduate student at Leeds College of Music, and his well-thought-out, organised and truly logical approach was perfect for what I needed at that moment in my development. He really helped me get the fundamentals of my jazz and saxophone playing together, as well as giving me a wealth of material and more advanced concepts that kept me busy for years afterwards, and that I still use today. His teaching approach has also been hugely influential in my own education work.” 

-  Matt Anderson
   (Award Winning Professional Saxophonist /
   HE Lecturer)


“Studying with Joel was fantastic. His methodical approach to harmony made a huge difference in my playing and helped me with my understanding of repertoire. After first listening to me play he was able to find strengths and weaknesses before taking me through a structured plan to fill gaps in my fundamental knowledge and to move me forward as a rounded musician. Joel has a wealth of knowledge and is able to articulate it clearly to people of all levels. The methods I learnt from Joel are still central to my practise routine and have been immensely helpful in my understanding of music. 

-  Andrew Cox
   (Professional Saxophonist / Educator)


“Joel’s knowledge and teaching is truly exceptional, and unparalleled.  

He has given me an overall conceptual framework and in depth knowledge of harmony that includes how chords, scales and modes fit together, as well as how they can be applied. This has been, and continues to be, incredibly interesting and exciting. He has also created many useful charts which clearly outline harmony, similar in nature to the periodic table in science.  

Joel is a pioneer, a musician with the rigour of a mathematician, who continuously inspires my composing and assists greatly with my performing.  

He has applied his knowledge to help me with everything from classical piano compositions, soulful RnB tunes, production of dark electronic music, improvisation strategies and rhythmic feel, interleaved practise planning, backing vocal harmonies and the analysis of many musical genres including jazz, classical, pop and country music. 

I am extremely lucky to have such an incredible, inspirational musician as my teacher.“ 

-  Izzy Flynn
   (Professional Composer / Pianist / Vocalist / Educator)


“Joel was and still is a massive part of my development and I still use his approaches in both my teaching and playing. His understanding of harmony, how it all fits together, and being able to strip back a student’s playing to pinpoint a melodic device or rhythmic feel is sublime. I can’t speak highly enough of his teaching and playing, and continue to be in awe of the great work he continues to do for the saxophone scene.” 

-  Ali Adair
   (Professional Saxophonist / Educator)


“Joel Purnell is an extremely dedicated and thoughtful educator. His ability to listen carefully, and accurately suggest solutions to a variety of problems concerning saxophone technique and improvisation has really helped me to overcome obstacles in my own playing. Joel is very organised and always managed to keep on top of my progress, suggesting new exercises and tasks to help with my development on the saxophone. I’ve really valued the time I spent studying with Joel, and I’ve found his lessons inspiring and he’s taught me lessons and exercises I’ll keep coming back to years after having studied with him.”  

-  Daniel Garel
   (Professional Saxophonist)


"I wouldn’t be the musician I am today without Joel’s methodology. He is incredibly supportive, understanding, patient and motivational. Joel’s teaching methods enabled me to learn ways in which to achieve my short and long term goals. Learning the hard stuff was made easy by his subject knowledge, personality, passion for Jazz and improvisation. I found that Joel was also able to inspire outside of the classroom, being given the opportunity to watch Joel with his ensembles was always an experience that I still relish today." 

-  Matt Morgan
   (Professional Saxophonist)


“I have been a student of Joel's for over ten years. He has guided me, an older learner (60 plus) with only an average level of natural talent, from basic beginner (grade 5) to competent semi-professional.  

His style of teaching is relaxed, individually focused, very supportive and encouraging. He gives you attainable targets for development and makes you believe that you can achieve them. 

His approach has its foundation in an accurate assessment of what point you have reached in your development, and taking you from that point.  He never lets his own prodigious ability become intimidating. Indeed he shares his own past and current struggles to improve to encourage you. 

He also manages to incorporate a wider sense of musicianship by linking playing technique, to musical patterns and structure, to music theory, to listening skills, to musicality, to repertoire, to performance skills so I feel that I have become more of a real musician. 

The learning resources he provides are exceptional and constantly revised and upgraded both in content and technology. 

He gave me the confidence to successfully undertake the first year of the undergraduate jazz course at Leeds College of Music. When I can afford the fees, I hope to complete that honours programme.  

When I began lessons with Joel my aspirations and confidence were limited. I never believed I would be able to run my own band, play alongside professional musicians, compose and perform my own material or record my own album. These things would not have happened without his teaching.” 

-  Brian Whittington


“I have been going to Joel for about seven years for saxophone lessons. It's hard to envisage a time when I'll no longer benefit from having lessons with him. 

Joel is a gifted teacher. His lessons are very accessible, ensuring that even potentially difficult content is easy to follow and understand. He is able to cover a lot of material in a relatively short period of time. 

Joel is a very experienced teacher and an outstanding saxophone player. He has compiled a vast and really excellent musical resource which his students are able to access and benefit from and is always available via email between lessons. 

I find Joel really easy to get on with, he's genuinely interested in what I'm doing with my music and helps me a massive amount. 

I would say to anyone that whatever stage they're at and whatever their ambitions and aims are with playing saxophone, Joel is the go to person.” 

-  Barbara Galtress
   (Saxophonist / Multi-Instrumentalist)


“I approached Joel after knowing friends that had been tutored by him. His knowledge and understanding of jazz theory is clearly well founded and after 6 months of lessons my mind has been blown on many occasions - he is turning my playing upside down which is exactly what I want - out of my comfort zone just enough to challenge and stretch my approach yet still feeling safe enough to explore.  There's still so much more I want to learn and Joel is helping to open those doors for me.” 

-  Sarah Potts
   (Professional Saxophonist / Educator) 


“I met Joel Purnell when I attended a weekend jazz course in Hull over 10 years ago. He was tutoring small improvisation groups in which I participated. I was an adult beginner at this stage having started playing in my early forties. I found his  knowledge, patience and ability to explain and demonstrate, particularly conducive to my learning and I subsequently took private lessons with him. 

I have continued with lessons over the past years and I have found Joel to possess a rare combination of extraordinary playing ability, thorough understanding and a genuine desire to communicate and educate. He also has compiled a unique and extensive library of resources, regularly updated which he generously shares with his students. 

I am certain that without his expertise and skill in explaining the building blocks and subtleties of Jazz language, I would not have developed my playing to a level where I felt confident to apply (and be accepted) to study at the Leeds College of Music. Because of this I have also requested him as my personal tutor for year two of the degree course.” 

-  Graham Quilliam
   (Saxophonist / Jazz HE Student) 


“As an adult learner Joel understands my stage of life and appreciates that I am juggling work and family life as well as wanting to improve my saxophone playing. He is giving me the tools to improve during my lessons and it is up to me to fit in as much practise as I can. The fact that there is a large education pack available to pupils is a great easily accessible resource.  

From his own experience of injury/pain then Joel is helping me to be able to carry on playing the saxophone in spite of various physical ailments. He often gives me ways to practise things mentally or without blowing the instrument so I can continue learning on days when it is too painful to fully play the saxophone.  

Joel is happy to work collaboratively with pupils and work out the best way forward, describing things in different ways until the pupil can make the required change or understand the new concept. One of the biggest things we have worked on together is the differences between flute playing and saxophone playing. As a flautist, we realised I often try and play the saxophone like a flute. So we have compared and contrasted the different techniques and worked out what I need to change.  

Joel is flexible so he is happy to divert away from any syllabus he had in his mind if I come with my own agenda of music I want to study or concepts I want to learn. I always come away from my lessons encouraged.”  

-  Sally Warner
   (Saxophonist / Educator)


“I decided to get lessons with Joel after listening to the other saxophonists on my music degree that had lessons with him, and noticing that they were all suspiciously progressing way faster than myself. After one lesson with Joel it was obvious why. His methodology is really concise, mathematical and leaves no room for error. I learnt which notes and groupings fitted correctly over what harmony to understand why great riffs, solos and players sound the way they do and how to recreate it. Simply put, if you do what he tells you to and go away and practise it, you can't help but progress.” 

-  John Ryan
   (Professional Saxophonist / Educator)


“Joel’s teaching was always considered, well structured and opened so many doors for me both technically and musically. His passion for passing on his wealth of musical knowledge always comes across in his rigorous yet compassionate approach.” 

-  Oli Bentley


“Joel was my one to one tutor for all three of my years at LCOM. I was allocated to him in first year and repeatedly chose him moving forward and he was inspirational from the first tutor's gig in Sela Bar to the last rehearsal before my recital. He meticulously laid the groundwork in a digestible and understandable way, then helped to sculpt an approach that suited me. His dedication to music and pedagogy is unwavering and I would sincerely recommend him as a teacher to any budding sax player.”  

-  Dylan Owen
   (Professional Saxophonist) 


“Joel has been my patient Sax tutor for a number of years. He has always shown great knowledge and ability to identify areas where improvements can be made in technique and musicality. He has an amazing ability to diagnose the source of issues to improve the sound I can produce from my saxophone.  His resources are detailed, wide and varied and his post lesson notes are a great aid. He is well able to flex his style of teaching if necessary and the lessons are great value where I always learn something new and am motivated to play more.” 

-  Roger Sture
   (Saxophonist / Pianist)



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