Chapter 10 FB: You want to talk a little bit about your teaching experiences during those first years? BP: Oh, I went on the road when I finished college. When I finished college by then I was married, I finished Berklee finally. I went and did some vaudeville tours playing alto, which I was never much of an alto player. And after about two or three of those, I could possibly get a job teaching at Berklee. And then after a few of those tours I was thinking to myself, “Man, teaching's got to be easier than this,” 'Cause the music sucked. The accommodations sucked. You went out for 31 days and you worked 31 days. Every night: you never had a night off. 200 dollars a week, you had to bunk with 3 or 4 other guys in one room. FB: Yeah, and then your wife's bitchin’ at you to come on home. BP: Yeah, well, I had to get some money. But after that I decided to come to Berklee as a teacher. And it was only financial, it was primary financial why I came here. Little did I know that it would be a whole second education for me. You teach yourself so much and your students teach you as much as you teach them, almost as much. When you tell somebody something you have to really mean it or at least investigate it, or at least that's what I found experience from me. I really got to investigate this a little bit more just so I can speak from authority and if need be I can break it down. Which was always a problem for me. I never want to get too analytical about music, I'm still a little bit like that. All the people say if you want to teach music you got to analyze it and you got to work on all the components, so you can make it accessible for the student. But I always thought if you broke things down, it loses the mystery, it loses the soul, maybe. Anyway, that's all the stuff you go through. I went through all that stuff in my first 5 years of trying to teach. And when I started to work at Berklee, I worked 5 dollars an hour. You worked as many hours as you could. You could be working 50 hours a week and you could still be considered part time. I mean I worked 25 hours a week. I think now the maximum you can work is 18 hours a week for a full time. But then I was working 25 hours 26 hours a week for part time 5 dollars an hour. Every year you got a .50 cent raise. So the second year you'd be making 5.50 the third year I was making 6 dollars. Man, I was rollin’ then, but I was a part time teacher, I don't even know if I even investigated being a full-time teacher. Because it was just ? I didn't want to be a teacher. I liked what was going on at Berklee. James was teaching here. I met Greg Hopkins, I joined his big band. So I really became a much better musician being a teacher and re-evaluating or re-investigating stuff that I took for granted, that I didn't pay much attention to when I was a student here. FB: So you learned how to take apart some of the pedagogical aspects of the saxophone but you didn't go too far with it because you wanted to keep it fresh and soulful. BP: Well, I just didn't think you had to strip things down to the level where all the mystery and the elements that's a part of it's culture is gone. I'm still like that in a way. In those days I wasn’t just teaching saxophone. I had an ensemble; I was teaching arranging and probably did it wrong. I think I was teaching harmony, arranging, ensembles and saxophone. I was in four different departments. That's how everybody did it in those days. You taught across the board. Later on they put the sort of silo on the curriculum in Berklee where you teach in one maybe two areas here. Like it is now. In those days it was different. FB: And there was still some giggin’ on the side. BP: Oh yeah quite a bit. I started playing with a lot of people who were my teachers when I was a student. I remember playing, Tony Teixeira he had a nine-piece band. I played some stuff with John LaPorta. I was playin’ baritone. FB: I remember that. BP: I kept up the baritone as a double because I was trying to get into any kind of gigs I could get. FB: And in Greg's band sometimes? BP: No, I played in the Bicentennial Big Band. That was my first gig as a Berklee teacher. Kinda moving into the Boston scene. It was a kind of concert. Berklee had received a grant from some agency to put on these concerts. It was during the year of the Bicentennial, 1776-1976. FB: Down on the Boston Common? BP: No it was here. The baritone player was Tom ??? And he passed away. [FB: Yeah. that's right.] And after he passed away they needed a baritone player. And after that, I started playing baritone because I was able to buy a good horn cheap. I was doing everything I could. FB: From Emilio [Lyons], no doubt. BP: No, I bought it from an officemate, a guy named Bill Parish. [FB: OK.] A Selmer for 900 bucks which is now, I sold it for $2000. It's probably worth $5000 or 6 or 7. But that's before saxophones went crazy as collector's deals. Anyways, I started doing that and I got more and more experience I started playing with the bigger guys around Boston. I was getting a few gigs. I did play baritone with Tony Teixeira's nine-piece band. So I did a lot of playing. And in those days when they first opened the BPC at Berklee they were begging people -- and you can imagine this because Berklee's so different now -- please, we need to put something on we got this big hall and nothing's going on. It's closed most of the time. So Berklee wasn't doing that many pro shows. So the faculty, it was like every night there was a faculty concert. The students were, I don't even know if students were allowed to put on concerts or if it was it was only for certain special situations for students. And so I got a lot of playing experience a lot. And I did that up until the point where I left Boston and joined Art Blakey's band.