Ep. 18: A Music Educator Gets Real About Music Education

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Saxophonist and educator Dan Gelok is internationally recognized and sought-after as an outstanding young performer and teacher of classical saxophone music. He received his Bachelor's degree in Music Education from Indiana University and his Masters in Saxophone Performance from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He currently holds the title of Assistant Professor of Saxophone at the University of Houston. His teachers include Ronald Attinger, Otis Murphy, and Lynn Klock.

He has been featured in solo and chamber music performances at the New England Saxophone Symposium, the North American Saxophone Alliance regional and national conferences, the Northeastern Texas Saxophone Symposium, Cape Cod's Falmouth Academy, and the Singapore Saxophone Symposium. Significant recent performances include the Spectrum Series at Esplanade (Singapore), the Dalian Arts School (China), and the Fundacion Universitaria Belles Artes (Medellin, Colombia), plus performances with Musiqa (a Houston-based new music collective), the Hwa Chong Institute Orchestra, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Ballet, and the Houston Symphony Orchestra.

As a performer of new music he has worked closely with composers such as Zach Browning, Bill Ryan, Rob Smith, Kawai Shiu, Anthony Brandt, Joel Love, Zechariah Goh, Dan Asia, and Christian Lauba, with whom he organized an international workshop in the spring of 2012. He has recordings of new music on the Ablaze and Resolute Music record labels, and frequently performs with Musiqa, a Houston-based new music collective.

As an educator, Mr. Gelok also maintains a private studio of students ranging in experience from beginner to the collegiate level. Internationally sought-after as a teacher, he has received masterclass and lecture invitations from numerous universities and festivals throughout the United States and abroad. His students have received top honors and awards from prestigious competitions such as the Young Texas Artist competition, the NASA soloist competition, the J.C. Arriaga competition, the Coleman competition, the Plowman competition, the Coltman competition, and the Fischoff competition, to which he sent an unprecedented two ensembles in the spring of 2014. In addition, he founded and continues to serve as Director of the Houston Underground Competition, the country’s largest independent chamber music contest for high school saxophonists.

Mr. Gelok is an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and a Yamaha Performing Artist.


Topics mentioned:

  • Having a high standard
  • Building a private studio of 60+ students
  • Falling into a college teaching job
  • Responsibility of money
  • The reality of teaching music
  • Making art as a hobby vs for a career
  • Being an entrepreneur
  • Getting a wake up call
  • The saxophone question
  • Learning the music business
  • The university dilemna
  • Diversifying your career
  • Saying yes to everything in the beginning
  • The importance of initiative
  • “Man in the arena” - Roosevelt

Resources & Names mentioned:

Connect with Dan:



[email protected]uh.edu


Thanks for listening and keep thriving!


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