Dr. Tracy Heavner

"I love Cannonball saxophones. I played Selmer saxophones for years but once I played a Cannonball, I switched immediately. In my opinion, they are the best saxophones made. I play them and recommend them to all my students." ~ Dr. Tracy Heavner

Professor of Music, Director of Jazz Studies University of South Alabama.


Dr. Tracy Heavner, internationally known music educator and distinguished performance artist, performs in a variety of genres ranging from classical to jazz. His talents as a saxophonist, clarinetist and flutist are witnessed on stage as a soloist, chamber ensemble member and within the orchestra. His professional achievements off the stage are equally impressive in the areas of education, teaching and scholarship.


Dr. Heavner earned a doctorate degree in music education (D.M.E.) with a secondary emphasis in jazz studies from the University of Northern Colorado (1995) and bachelor's (B.M.E.) and master's (M.M.E.) degrees in music education from Appalachian State University in 1983 and 1985, respectively.


Dr. Heavner serves on the faculty at the University of South Alabama as a professor of saxophone, music education and director of jazz studies. As a member of the graduate faculty, he coordinates the music education program, supervises music education student teachers and teaches all university saxophone majors. In the area of jazz studies, he directs the University of South Alabama Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo. He regularly serves as an adjudicator and clinician in both classical and jazz styles for various music festivals and competitions and most recently served as the 2010 Alabama All-State Jazz Ensemble Clinician/Director. He is also a Fulbright Scholar Training Specialist and has been teaching at the University of South Alabama for the past 14 years.

Dr. Heavner also teaches a large private studio of middle and high school saxophonists, flutists and clarinetists who consistently place in the top chairs of honor bands, all-state band and orchestra ensembles. Many of them also perform in the Mobile Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Prior to his current appointment, Dr. Heavner taught in the North Carolina public school system for six years. His teaching duties included beginning, intermediate and advanced band, general music, chorus, marching band and symphony band. His bands received consistent recognition for their excellence at both regional and national levels with the marching band winning over twenty-five first place and grand championship awards during his tenure there.


Maintaining an active schedule as a soloist, ensemble member, adjudicator and clinician, Dr. Heavner's performance styles include both classical and jazz. As a performing artist for Yamaha, Cannonball and Beechler music corporations, he regularly performs with the Mobile and Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestras. Recent classical performances include the World Saxophone Congress XIII, the 2002 Biennial Conference of the North American Saxophone Alliance and recitals at Carnegie Hall, Florida State University, Furman University, the Eastern Shore Concert Artist Series, and with the Goliard Ensemble of New York.

In the areas of jazz and commercial music, Dr. Heavner has performed as a soloist with many well-known celebrities such as Natalie Cole, Smokey Robinson, Vince Gill, Bob Hope, Don Rickles, Regis Philben, The Temptations, Lorna Luft, Crystal Gayle, Al Martino, Ed Shaunesshy, Jon Faddis and Bobby Watson. Most recently, he performed two concerts with the University of South Alabama Jazz Combo at the world famous Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland. In addition, Dr. Heavner is a recording artist for LiveHorns.com, a music studio that produces live horn tracks for CDs, movie soundtracks and video games. Two CDs, Introducing Ayiesha Woods, and Mandisa: True Beauty, received Grammy nominations for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album in 2006 and 2008 respectively. In addition, Dr. Heavner recently received several performing artist honors. In 2005, he was one of only two musicians in the state of Alabama to receive the Alabama State Council for the Arts Artist Fellowship Award. In 2006, he appeared on the front cover of the Saxophone Journal, January/February issue with an in-depth personal interview inside and in 2007, he was selected as the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society Artist of the Year.


Dr. Heavner's professional endeavors in music research have produced publications in the following music journals: Southeastern Journal of Music Education, Dialogue in Instrumental Music Education, International Education Journal, The Instrumentalist, Ala Breve, Downbeat, Das Schulbuch zwischen Lehrplan und Unterrichtspraxis, Approaching Cultures Through English and a series of articles regarding saxophone tone production in the Saxophone Journal. He also reviews music education textbooks for Prentice Hall Publishers, compact discs of woodwind literature for The Instrumentalist and grant applications for the Alabama State Council on the Arts. In addition, he has authored an innovative aural skills textbook entitled Sight Singing and Rhythmic Reading, Progressive Exercises for Developing Aural Skills, published worldwide by Edwin Mellen Press.

Dr. Heavner has presented music research at conferences (and published studies in conference proceedings) throughout the United States and Hawaii, and at international conferences around the world including Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Hong Kong Ireland, Italy, Malta and Spain. Most recently at the International Journal of Arts and Sciences Conference in Gozo, Malta, he was one of four invited plenary speakers and his research study was awarded outstanding paper of the conference.

Dr. Heavner is also a field editor for the Edwin Mellen Press, which entrusts him with the commissioning, review and selection of manuscripts for book publication. He served on the editorial board for the 2009 International Conference on e-Commerce, e-Administration, e-Society and e-Education (e-CASE) held in Singapore and currently he is serving on the editorial board for an upcoming inaugural international conference entitled Music Education: A Vision for the Future to be held in Cairo, Egypt, where he will also by presenting his own research.

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