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So as things have picked up, I decided to take a few months away from this bored (pun intended) and just spend the time practicing instead of posting. I traded one P for another P. Reasons? I dunno...getting older, new day gig, better gigs coming my way, more time spent with my girlfriend and her son ... okay, so a host of reasons. But I've increased my practice regiment by 1 hour a day. I'm not at a point in my life where an hour a day is easy to come by anymore...it meant putting other things aside - family and friends- but I figured I'd give it a month. That's an addition of 30 hours over the last 30 days.

And I gotta tell you folks, what a difference a month makes. I followed a regiment that Steve Carmichael gave me YEARS ago, that I was too stupid to follow despite this regimen taking up the first 3 pages in my ongoing notebook of practice routines.

I've been playing more than ever - more than most 'professional' musicians here in Pittsburgh, and I can't believe the ease in executing what I'm hearing in my head.

Practice = improvement. I wish I could find a more marketable and attractive way to put it, but it's the truth. I come back and find posts about altering the neck of a horn that a guy hasn't evening received yet. Maybe I'm just a better lurker than a poster, but seriously...if anybody takes me even remotely seriously, please trust me that a month of exile in the shed, even if it is an extra 10 minutes a day, will provide far more benefits than coming on here and posting about the value proposition of ligature placement on a mouthpiece.

About 6 months ago, I got an old Hollywood Dukoff, had Brian Powell reface it to an 8, got my horn, a year's supply of DC 4's and began practicing. This mouthpiece plays in ways it was totally unintended to play. I can nail altissimo notes with ease, when guys with Ponzol M2 120's can't hit an altissimo B without cracking. It's not a pat on the back AT ALL ... it's testament to what is possible if you practice instead of putz around on here. And that's not to say that this forum isn't valuable, because it's tremendously valuable. But work out the problems first, and then bring them here.

I've missed some of my faves here - Bob M, Dr. G, Martysax, Phil B - and sorry I've been out of touch. But I've been putting in massive hours of listening and practicing, and I've finally understood the value of practicing and listening vs. jawing all day.

Tonight, we've got Paul Gonsalves 'Gettin' Together' cued up. Time to listen.
 

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You were missed Honk,

Glad to know you were having fun. You've got me intrigued. Could you elaborate on the Steve Carmichael regimen?

FWIW I'm still playing on the same horn, same mpc as always. :)

And still shedding the same stuff. :twisted: :)
 

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Send me your email - I'll type this up and send it. It is - literally - how to become a complete saxophonist in 2 weeks, provided you have a moderate background and some technical facility. Hell, I could do it, so it doesn't require a lot of technical acumen, just the willingness to practice and to learn. And you need Paul Chamber's album 'Bass on Top'. :) Send me your email via PM and I'll send you the reigmen. It's deceptively simple, but man, does it work!
 

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I do love those Rober Tilton vids on YouTube...I first saw them while onsite at a client in Los Angeles. I was laughing for an hour straight. Pure genius, whoever put those tapes together.

I had a moment of Zen serenity months and months ago when I got this old Dukoff piece back from Brian. Since then, I've played it on salsa gigs at the Jersey Shore, soul gigs with Billy Price, jump blues with Roomful of Blues, rhythm changes with Duke Robillard and many more, and it's been great. It made me realize it was a means to an end - and it's made practicing a bit more interesting. The focus is on me - it's my fault when I don't execute something I hear. It sure as heck ain't the mouthpiece, the neck,the reeds, the type of case I have, the ligature, the .... :) You get the point.
 

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Eric, (right?) Would you mind posting that practice routine here? I'm sure many of us might benefit from it. Thanks!
 

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Honk Bop I found your post extremely insulting on the neck thread. Actually you're comment above is insulting as well.

Yeah I had a sore lip, but I've been practicing 6 yours a day on the horn and 2 hours on the piano and sometimes that happens. I'm good to go for another day, but this "Lecturing" us/me about practicing more is pointless. There comes a point where chops do get worn out. I've also gone through years where I practiced 10 hours a day on the horn and guess what, my lower lip was bleeding sore, my upper teeth ached and I had to soak my hands in warm water every morning to get rid of the stiffness.


I know you've been spending an extra hour practicing everyday and that new Dukoff and DC 4's(hey isn't that gear talk) are turning you into the musician you've always dreamed of becoming, and the girlfriend and her son is making you feel like you're loved and on top of the world and that's great I hope things keep going perfect for you and your life.

I however don't have a Hollywood Dukoff or any DC 4's or a girlfriend and her son to hang out with. I only have this horn and my sore lip, I prefer to keep my life simple and low maintenance, helps make more time for shedding. I post on this forum, but 95% of my posts are done when I'm at work as I can't practice there, that's where I'm at right now.
 

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I am sorry you found it insulting - that wasn't the goal of what I posted. I also wasn't lecturing - I've got no credentials that should lend anybody to listen to me or believe me any more than anybody else on here. I envy you that you get to spend that kind of time every day practicing. You are likely a much more competent player than myself, with that kind of time spent daily.

But since you've decided to try personal derision/sarcasm to indicate your believed insult in my post, fine. My only comment to you was that a sore lip is usually an indication of somebody that isn't practicing, but in this case I was certainly wrong if you are putting in 6 hours a day. You have my apology. I'm not sure what going into my girlfriend and her child have to do with this, unless it makes you feel better to use somebody else's happiness as a means to try and make somebody feel guilty for what they have. Either way, you're going to have a hard time getting me to feel sorry for myself because of what I have, or for you because of what you have.

My life is pretty simple, Heath. I've got the horn that works best for me and the mouthpiece. I've found some reeds that work consistently. I've got a great environment to be in. You want me to feel guitly because I thrive on these things. Not gonna happen. If you don't have these things and you don't need them, that's great. Once again, you are clearly a step ahead of me, this time in self awareness.

Not sure what about my post irked you so much to take direct person shots, but that's extreme. I wasn't attacking you, and I wasn't attacking the guy who was asking about new necks and neck mods on a horn he hadn't even tried yet. Well, okay maybe I was harsh on him. But are you going to tell me that gear ever made somebody better than a steady practice regimen did?


heath said:
Honk Bop I found your post extremely insulting on the neck thread.

Yeah I had a sore lip, but I've been practicing 6 yours a day on the horn and 2 hours on the piano and sometimes that happens. I'm good to go for another day, but this "Lecturing" us/me about practicing more is pointless. There comes a point where chops do get worn out. I've also gone through years where I practiced 10 hours a day on the horn and guess what, my lower lip was bleeding sore, my upper teeth ached and I had to soak my hands in warm water every morning to get rid of the stiffness.


I know you've been spending an extra hour practicing everyday and that new Dukoff and DC 4's(hey isn't that gear talk) are turning you into the musician you've always dreamed of becoming, and the girlfriend and her son is making you feel like you're loved and on top of the world and that's great I hope things keep going perfect for you and your life.

I however don't have a Hollywood Dukoff or any DC 4's or a girlfriend and her son to hang out with. I only have this horn and my sore lip, I prefer to keep my life simple and low maintenance, helps make more time for shedding. I post on this forum, but 95% of my posts are done when I'm at work as I can't practice there, that's where I'm at right now.
 

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I am not sure if that is true. I had a two hour rehersal last night, when I got home put in some more time with the horn, about half an hour in, I was starting to feel alot of pressure in my mouth. It was then that I decided to put up (I had homework I had to do as well). But before I get any comments back the whole rehersal was some higher pitched stuff, being the only sax player I had to work out.
I am interested in your pratice routine too.
But, the problem I think Heath has is that you went onto a thread and started antagonizing some one, because they did not meet your level of praticing.
 

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Peripheral discussions aside, great and inspiring post. I need to get more practice time in...
 

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I appreciate that, but at no point was I antagonizing anybody for not meeting my level of practicing. I used to get an hour a WEEK in if I was lucky until I took some time to do this for myself. It's not an ongoing thing because I can't afford to dedicate that much time to practicing. Wish I could, but I can't. Other things come first.
 

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HonkBopSax said:
But are you going to tell me that gear ever made somebody better than a steady practice regimen did?
No it doesn't even add up to 5% of what it takes to get your chops where they need to be. Sure I'd like the topics to revolved around insights gained in the shed, at gigs and even in the classroom, but this forum doesn't have much of that. I consider this forum a place for sax players to come and chill out. There's nothing wrong with having a place like that, but if it cuts into ones practice time then obviously it's best to unplug the internet, turn off the television, and remove any other distraction that might rob you of the short time you have on this planet.

To beat a horse to death, my lips were sore mostly because I've been working on gaining more fluency on my altissimo and that stuff works my lower lip to death. That and long tones and a few other tricks I've been working on. Throw in the solos I'm transcribing on tenor and alto and my lower lip feels like it's been put through a meat masher by the end of the day

I apologize for the personal comments honk bop sax it wasn't necessary. You don't have any need to feel guilty for your life anymore than I do living the way I do or anyone else for that matter.
 

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You are right and I was unnecessarily harsh on the guy. Let me put it this way, and not to sound like an infomercial, but that guy was me just a few years back, and I didn't realize how dependent I was on gear until I took a break from the forum and then came back. I was full of energy to talk about the things I found helpful, I wanted to hear about what everybody was working on, and that thread about the neck just sort of made me realize why I stopped coming by in the first place.

So let me turn this around and make it positive - I apologize if I offended anybody, but I'd like to help out. A bunch of you guys emailed me about the practice regimen, which I'm going to type up in the next few days or so, and send out. It is deceptively basic - but as Steve pointed out when he sent it, the fundamentals are deceptively basic. it's the execution that causes sore fingers. :) I've sworn more at myself while mentally playing whole tone patterns than I ever have at any drivers on the road.

I've also been listening to extremes - that is, I'll go from Monk to Mobley. Talk about inside outside in terms of what you're hearing. I've been trying to vary up the music that I listen to, and when I get on the gig, not worry about trying to be better than the guy that called me to sub by trying to play his licks, or by shooting my wad up front to impress everybody. I'm learning to hold back and play the things that I want to play, and that I have shedded.

heath said:
No it doesn't even add up to 5% of what it takes to get your chops where they need to be. Sure I'd like the topics to revolved around insights gained in the shed, at gigs and even in the classroom, but this forum doesn't have much of that. I consider this forum a place for sax players to come and chill out. There's nothing wrong with having a place like that, but if it cuts into ones practice time then obviously it's best to unplug the internet, turn off the television, and remove any other distraction that might rob you of the short time you have on this planet.

To beat a horse to death, my lips were sore mostly because I've been working on gaining more fluency on my altissimo and that stuff works my lower lip to death. That and long tones and a few other tricks I've been working on. Throw in the solos I'm transcribing on tenor and alto and my lower lip feels like it's been put through a meat masher by the end of the day

I apologize for the personal comments honk bop sax it wasn't necessary. You don't have any need to feel guilty for your life anymore than I do living the way I do or anyone else for that matter.
 

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Thank you, HonkBopSax, for that post. I'm sorry that Heath was so offended by your comments and I'm still puzzled at his reaction. You really didn't deserve that.

As a frequent lurker and sometimes poster, I welcomed the reminder that practice does trump excessive lurking and the endless quest for the perfect set-up as the road to playing better. And having a spent good bit of time (probably too much!) lurking over the course of these past several months, I can also apprecite the "bored" pun. The upside of lurking, however, is that I now find that I'm pretty good at quickly sorting out what is interesting and apt to be helpful to me from what consists mainly of the above "Quest" or what becomes simply a long and boring "p------" contest. And I have identified for myself those individuals whose posts are typically knowledgeable and informative. I have learned a tremendous amount here, and have received some invaluable help. I also greatly enjoy the more recreational aspects of this forum that I find in the lounge.

That said, I hereby resolve to practice more and read less (or at least more quickly). I, too, am interested in the practice regimen you cited and hope you will post it here. Thanks again.

Ruth
 

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Welcome back HBS! I think your point is well taken. There is no substitute for practicing. I would add, however, that certain types of practice are more harmful than good in the long run. As a general rule here's what I think constitutes productive jazz practice:

- You are practicing not what you will execute, but what helps you execute what you hear in your head
- The focus is always in this order of importance: 1.) Tone 2.) Precision 3.) Concept 4.) Dexterity
- For every hard core technique you practice, juxtapose it with something fun and interesting, just make sure you do it with the proper foci (see above)
- Take breaks if you start feeling tired! There is a definite point you can cross in any practice session where you get frustrated and start un-doing all the good work you just did. Without exception, no practice is better than bad or negative practice.
- A lot of learning happens without the horn in your mouth. Got a pencil? Practice fingering scale patterns on it. Hear a jazz song on the radio? Listen for intervals, articulation and phrasing. Frustrated at something? Find a positive way to channel that frustration into action. Being on a jazz gig is very demanding, not only as a musician, but also as a human being. Life skills like patience, humility, understanding and compassion will serve you better on the bandstand than knowing every chord/scale in the world. Music is a social art, both with your band and also the audience. Never underestimate how much these other things impact your effectiveness.
- Adopt an attitude of openness to new ideas and concepts. The best things you will do in life often involve being outside your comfort zone. You don't remember the trips to the grocery store; you remember when you jumped over the fence on the trail and stood at the edge of the cliff overlooking the ocean. The best musicians always take risks.

These are just a few of the things that can be bolted on to any routine. I am looking forward to Steve's method.
 

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The emphasis for my practice has been to go straight to the source of this music. Transcribing has been more beneficial to my playing than anything else. I'll spend time on technique like anyone else, but too much time spent on patterns and scales you end up sounding like a robot.

For tenor players....Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Sonny Stitt, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Coltrane.

For alto players.....Sonny Stitt, Charlie Parker, Cannonball, Mclean.

These guys in that order have been what I call the best stepping stone to playing music. The time I spent with sheet music and patterns didn't add up to 1% of what I got out of my first Lester Young solo I transcribed. It's easy for a player to fall into analysis paralysis and get blurred by all the information. The thing to remember a great sounding solo is a great sounding solo nothing more and nothing less. It's learned one note at a time using the best players as an example.
 

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Honk

Good to have you back. Seconding Gary, I too would appreciate it if you could post your practice routine here once you find the time to type it up. I suspect a lot of us could benefit from more time practicing, and a guideline would be helpful.

I for one have also missed your listening recommendations (like Jerry Weldon, whose playing I've really gotten into lately), so don't hold back, man.
 

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I would like to add to the requests for your routine.
Perhaps a sticky would be in order for it.

BTW - Nice to see more Pittsburghers on here.
Do you play out? I'd like to hear you sometime if you do.
This weekend I'll be in Erie, PA playing at a wine festival.
 

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BobbyC,

I'm with the Billy Price Band this Friday at the Rhythm House in Bridgeville. The rest of my schedule can be found at my blog: honkbopsax.blogspot.com. Hope to meet you sometime!

Bob M,

I still have a TON of CDs here for you, but I keep adding to the pile as I get new stuff. I got some good ones. I'll get them out in the next few days.

To all,

The practice regimen will be emailed soon!
 

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BILLY PRICE !!! I'm impressed! Top notch band.

I see they (and hopefully you) played at that Union thing in Apollo.
I was there and opened up for The Vogues.

I'll have to try and catch you around at one of you upcoming dates.
I play 2 more "pro" jobs and then it's back to community band and Musicals for a while.
 
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