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Good afternoon All!

I hope everyone's doing well! I'm in a bit of a dilemma and I hope you can help. I need a solid PDF practice plan to really have me focus on getting better. Sometimes I'm all over the place. I retired from the Marine Corps and I have to keep my mind busy from other things. I'm hoping someone could advise me and give me the guidance needed to take my playing and practicing to the next level. Due to the type of job I currently have, I do not have time to get a teacher. So once I completed my tasks for work, I usually stay after for an hr and practice since I can't do it at home. My saxophone is my only place of peace where I can learn to express myself without going over the edge. Any plan you give me would be greatly appreciated. My skill level is between beginner and intermediate.

Thank you and Semper Fidelis!

Sal
 

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Okay, 5 minutes harmonics (look up on You tube) goal is to create open, throat influenced sound
10 minutes long tones 12 to 16 secs a note with tuner and metronome. 'goal is control over the sound
15 minutes slow scales and arpeggios goal is to build muscle memory and to build reading skills
10 minutes bunch training speeding up a small passage to build speed
20 minutes work on whatever your passion is. Reading skills if you want to play written music or scale /ear skills if you want to play with a recording
So in general half your practice is just on being a better player time, tone, technique and half on where you want to use it Band, rock band, duets, friends, whatever. This is my routine that i've gotten from many teachers over the years.
 

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I like Keith's suggestion.

My approach to this has been to focus on my personal objectives:

Beautiful tone: 10m.
Harmonics, long tones, altissimo, emulating a player's sound on ballads

Tighter sense of rhythm: 10m.
Metronome practice using difficult rhythms trying to be so tight the metronome is silent. I also occasionally use Time guru on Ipad.

Cleaner lines: 10m.
Scales, arpeggios, riffs, difficult passages, etc.

Sight reading: 10m.
Omnibook or random sheet music I've never seen before.

Improvisation: 10m.
IrealB, play alongs or drum and bass tracks.

Learning songs: 10m.
Put on metronome and alternate playing chord changes then melody.

What works for me is setting up with just books and an Ipad, no distractions and I set the timer on the Ipad for ten minute intervals and I keep a practice journal. As I'm setting up, I look over the previous day's practice and make notes to go over stuff I didn't get to the day before. I try to stay focused for the entire practice session and if I find my mind wandering I take a short break.
 

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Great suggestions here.

Make sure you identify your weak spots...you can spend an extra couple minutes on deficient areas to improve them more quickly.

If its an overall improvement, the above posts have it covered. Always play with a metronome and start SLOW if you are learning a new song/pattern/lick.

- Saxaholic
 

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Great suggestions here.

Make sure you identify your weak spots...you can spend an extra couple minutes on deficient areas to improve them more quickly.

If its an overall improvement, the above posts have it covered. Always play with a metronome and start SLOW if you are learning a new song/pattern/lick.

- Saxaholic
Agreed. To get the most improvement, I have found it best to block in larger increments of time. 10 - 20 - 30 minutes per Keith’s suggestions..

I know I am missing some stuff in a 60 minute rehearsal with these longer blocks of time, but I find that overall, I learn better when I focus on just a few things each month. Working on 5 or 6 things for 10 minutes each day has never really helped me improve very quickly....so I focus on my weaknesses, and as those improve I rotate practice topics to fit my new low hanging fruit.

One thing is for sure, and probably almost everyone agrees. You need to spend at least half of your practice session on methods rather than music of interest if you want you skill level to improve rapidly.

............disclaimer.......the way I learn best is possibly different from the way you learn.
 

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One thing is for sure, and probably almost everyone agrees. You need to spend at least half of your practice session on methods rather than music of interest if you want you skill level to improve rapidly.

Man that is true. I spend lots of time on things that aren't musical but improve one specific aspect of my playing like arpeggiation of chords starting on the third all the time. Not musical but builds a needed skill. or playing just 16yh offbeats for a long time (minute) hard to do but improves time in a noticeable way K
 

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Always play with a metronome and start SLOW if you are learning a new song/pattern/lick.

- Saxaholic
Can I add, based on the tone of the original query.
When I'm playing SLOW - I'm using that time to relax, ensure there's no tension in the shoulders, hands etc. That the posture is good - not hunched over, fingers not flying away from the keys etc.. Stuff like that. Not just - as well as - hitting the right note at the right time. Playing slow is about not learning errors. But can also be about getting "in the zone"
 

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When learning a scale, arpeggio or tune -- do NOT practice mistakes!
If you make the same error twice, you have just reinforced that and now more difficult to correct.
Takes real discipline, but use a metronome as slow as required to play perfectly and comfortably, break it down into single note, then two-note pair, then three, then phrase, then link the phrase...
What I have found amazing is that, at whatever slow tempo is initially required, once I play a note sequence fluently with equal comfort for each, it is almost trivial to end up at double or triple the tempo (increasing 5-10bpm per trial, but that goes so quickly, for me).
"The slowest way to play fast, is to play fast."
And I think the value of methodical scale and arpeggio variation practice in every key is that, since most melodies are scalar in some form, you are learning many transitions of pitches and fingerings so that you can execute them easily when they appear on a chart. To say nothing of having them readily accessible in your toolbox for improvisation.
And also practice with rhythmic displacement and different meters, as already suggested.
 

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When learning a scale, arpeggio or tune -- do NOT practice mistakes!
If you make the same error twice, you have just reinforced that and now more difficult to correct.
Takes real discipline, but use a metronome as slow as required to play perfectly and comfortably, break it down into single note, then two-note pair, then three, then phrase, then link the phrase...
What I have found amazing is that, at whatever slow tempo is initially required, once I play a note sequence fluently with equal comfort for each, it is almost trivial to end up at double or triple the tempo (increasing 5-10bpm per trial, but that goes so quickly, for me).
"The slowest way to play fast, is to play fast."
And I think the value of methodical scale and arpeggio variation practice in every key is that, since most melodies are scalar in some form, you are learning many transitions of pitches and fingerings so that you can execute them easily when they appear on a chart. To say nothing of having them readily accessible in your toolbox for improvisation.
And also practice with rhythmic displacement and different meters, as already suggested.
100%!! Practice makes PERMANENT!

https://youtu.be/gLcYxLuoqXw
 

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I have a little pracice book I divided in 4 parts. Warm-up, scales, phrases and tunes. I try to always have these 4 subjects covered, and the time I dedicate to each one of them vary with the difficulty of what I'm practicing. I always write down exactly what I did, so that the next time I have no doubt about what to do next.
 
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