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Adult beginners, what made you want to learn ?
Why did you choose to learn by yourself or study with a teacher ?
What were your expectations in taking lessons ?
Why did you continue or stop taking lessons ?

I'm interested in you honest opinions.
 

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Adult beginners, what made you want to learn ?
Two proximate causes: a/ I came out of a great Jazz concert (Trondheim Jazz Orchestra) thinking "great, but I really don't understand it. Maybe this needs 'learning by doing' rather than '... by reading'. So maybe I could pick up a musical instrument and learn how jazz works - from the inside. b/ I need something to do that doesn't require a computer, particularly in the winter!
I had a year or so Clarinet as a kid, could hardly read music etc. So I thought, Sax is close enough. The next week I went into The Shop that sells wind instruments and bought the basic Alto; down loaded some Randy Hunters Beginning Sax lessons and off I went.

Why did you choose to learn by yourself or study with a teacher ?
By myself, for now at least. Why?
First, my primary objective was to explore a world if ideas, and only incidentally, to play sax; so that's what I'm doing. Then, I'm not a bad 'self learner'. I've changed career often, picked up (and dropped) various domains.... I quite enjoy sussing out a field, breadth first, then diving down; and I take personal responsibility - if I take a wrong turn, that's on me... for this, I've diverted here and there - eg also picked up piano, pottered again with the Clarinet, Tenor etc.
Also, fact is, I'm not musical. More than anything, what I do every practice (every evening) is grow and exercise a bit of my brain that is small a week. It's an oldish brain, it takes time. But I'm having a great time!

What were your expectations in taking lessons ?
If / when I do, it'll be when I can navigate around the instrument, chords, scales etc. well enough for the language and grammar not to get in the way.
If / when I do, it'll be to understand something I can't find the answer to.... just now, I don't even know that question.
Yes, I know I'm probably building up bad habits. "that's on me", to bad.
Yes, maybe getting some specific places would be faster with a teacher - but not getting the ability to, at least, ask and possibly answer my own questions!

Why did you continue or stop taking lessons ?
My childhood experience wasn't great. I was a bad pupil.


But that's my road. I wouldn't recommend it!
 

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Divorce from hell leaving me with the choice of either a noose or a sax strap around my neck.

Bought a somewhat playable Martin "The Indiana" off Craigslist, went on YouTube to see how to put on the MPC and adjust the reed.

Since my average sleep was down to about 2 hours/day I had a lot of time to practice :evil:
 

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Adult beginners, what made you want to learn?
1. I'd always been drawn to horns, but didn't have the opportunity to learn one in school.
2. After decades of playing bass and guitar, arthritis forced me to give up strings, so I was forced to learn something new.
3. As a lifelong jazz fan, I felt a compulsion to attempt to play it in the time I have left on this planet.

Why did you choose to learn by yourself or study with a teacher?
I started with a teacher, but she wasn't a great fit for me, as she didn't have much experience teaching adults who had already played musical instruments. Still, she helped me get a foundation in the basics.

What were your expectations in taking lessons?
I wanted someone who could diagnose my playing and prescribe exercises to address my specific weaknesses.

Why did you continue or stop taking lessons?
I stopped because I never found a teacher that really clicked with me. After 35 years of studying and playing music, I feel that I learn best by isolating very specific things and working on them obsessively until I master them. I listen to recordings of myself, figure out what I need to work on, and then find exercises from my collection of excellent books and videos. However, my ultimate teachers are Dexter, Hank, Lester, and the rest. They live in my stereo and are always available to give me a lesson any time of the day or night.
 

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1) I began learning because of a lifelong appreciation of music and an inherent admiration for people who play proficiently. Plus I'm a "learner" by nature.
2&3) I found a teacher before I ever bought an instrument knowing that I could become proficient at a much greater rate with assistance than without. I quit taking lessons when my instructor retired but I was in a community band by then which was expanding my playing abilities just by participating and playing with others more proficient. I found another instructor and began taking lessons again when I felt like I'd reached another plateau. My expectation for lessons has always been growth at a greater rate and with guidance from someone who has already "done it."

Chinese proverb: A wise man learns from his mistakes but a smart man learns from the wise man's mistakes.

I didn't want to waste time and wanted to learn the wisdom from someone who had already spent years in its acquisition.
 

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I have for a long time helped adult beginners play jazz. They usually want to play jazz because it's something they've always admired musically. If they want to play with other people I usually suggest having a teacher is a good first step for them. Adults usually want to play like very specific sax players that have recorded their favorite saxophone recordings. The players who get serious never stop learning and always search for new things to learn and play. I also think it's good to spend ample time alone with the material so the student doesn't become the teachers clone on saxophone.
Dave Sanborn was heavily influenced by Hank Crawford's sound and eventually made it his own. So I always say pick a teacher who plays the way you like and that will make learning the harder things more fun. Just keep in mind that most students will mimic the teacher in the beginning...so pick a good one.
Hank Crawford-Dave Sanborn

 

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Adult beginners, what made you want to learn ?
In short, I just couldn't stand not being able to play at all -- even if I was only going to play a little, and not play well, it was better than not being able to play at all. But I also wanted to understand the jazz that I listen to a lot better, and it definitely worked for that, too.

What were your expectations in taking lessons ?
My son had taken a couple of years of clarinet lessons, which I had played as a kid, and then he started on sax, and after only a year, he could already play enough that I thought to myself "Hell, even if I could only play that much, it would be worth it." At first, the goal was just to be able to play the melodies to slow ballads; of course, as soon as you can do that much, you're not really satisfied with just that, and you want to play more!

Why did you choose to learn by yourself or study with a teacher ?
I had clarinet lessons with a very good classical clarinet teacher as a kid, so I know the basics as to what to practice and how to practice, but I still needed a couple of lessons from my son's sax teacher to help me adjust my embouchure for the sax.
 

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I always wanted to learn to play an instrument and found an opportunity with a band program for seniors. I joined when I retired.

Why did you choose to learn by yourself or study with a teacher ?

I joined a band program for people over 50 who wanted to learn music. I didn't have a sax teacher but learned from the band director. I've also attended band camps and workshops to learn more. I heard this band play at a concert and really wanted to join them. I figured if they could learn so could I!

What were your expectations in taking lessons ?

I wanted to be good enough to join the Jazz band in this program. It's for the more advanced players. I don't expect to be able to play as good as those in the band that studied music when they were younger but I hope that I can sit in with them without embarrassing myself too much.

Why did you continue or stop taking lessons ?

I'm always going to need help to continue to improve. I will continue with the program. It's also a lot of fun to play with other people in a learning environment.
 

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Adult beginners, what made you want to learn ?
Why did you choose to learn by yourself or study with a teacher ?
What were your expectations in taking lessons ?
Why did you continue or stop taking lessons ?

I'm interested in you honest opinions.
i want to learn by myself as a hobby, to reduce stress and to improve my appreciation of music
expectations - hopefully i can play some christmas songs by... xmas. :p
still learning by myself, maybe I will consider a teacher once i get my basic right
 

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Adult beginners, what made you want to learn ?
Why did you choose to learn by yourself or study with a teacher ?
What were your expectations in taking lessons ?
Why did you continue or stop taking lessons ?

I'm interested in you honest opinions.
I used to play as as a kid, but stopped playing and sold my tenor sax about 13 years ago. I recently had a kid myself, and realised how much fun it would be for her to hear me play the saxophone (especially as my wife is a quite good piano player). I also really like jazz music in general, and I miss being able to play something myself. I considered taking up e.g. the guitar, but found the idea of having to start over from scratch a bit annoying. I'm only 2-3 months into my new foray in saxophone playing, and I'm super happy this was my decision. I picked up an alto this time, partly due to cost and size but I'm now starting to realise it speaks to me more than the tenor ever did.

I chose to get a teacher because I remember how difficult the saxophone is to play. He's now making me do overtones, scales etc. and really helping me with technique. I could maybe figure these things out myself, but it would be so much more difficult.

My expectations is that my teacher can help me fix some mistakes I make, point out things that can sound nicer and give some direction to what I should study. I'm just starting out learning some music theory for the first time, and having him walk me through some stuff helps.

I'm continuing taking lessons because they help me - both because they give me something to look forward to every week, but also because my teacher gives me good pointers about my technique. I feel like I'm improving.
 

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Beginners for adults, what made you want to learn?

I like music, baroque and jazz but also soul and then I heard the sound of the wind and the sax in particular and I said, I want to play it and not just feel comfortably seated

Why did you choose to learn alone or to study with a teacher?

I'm not a musical talent and I thought I'd start with the municipal band

What were your expectations for taking lessons?

I then enrolled in a structured evening course for three years

Why did you continue or stop taking classes?

now I stopped with the school, too far from home and not very fruitful in the improvements and I go to private lessons by a teacher, I hope this is better for me
 

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What made you want to learn?

1). My son picked up the trombone in elementary school and for 2 years he asked me to pick up an instrument so that I could play with him. I ended up picking up the tenor sax.


Why did you choose to learn by yourself rather than study with a teacher.

1). New instrument was the tenor sax. I hadn’t played an instrument in over 35 years. Previous instrument was flute. I chose to study by myself because I remember all of my experiences with music teachers when I was a kid. I knew I would not keep it up if I hired a teacher right off the bat. I kind of felt that I had to get ‘centered’ with the instrument an understand my weaknesses before I wanted to hire a teacher.

2). At a certain point in participating in community band and teaching myself, I got frustrated with my development and I hired a teacher......not every week....something between 1 and 2 times per month is plenty for me.


What are your expectations in taking lessons?

1). I’m not sure what my expectations were when I took lessons. I was kind of stuck and needed help. Fortunately, I started with a music teacher, not a sax teacher.

2). The things I have learned well from a teacher - difference between tone quality and tuning and exercises to develop both. How to count properly. Instruction on good dynamics and articulation.


Why do you continue to take lessons / why did I stop taking lessons?

1). I am fortunate enough to be in a situation where I can start and stop taking lessons at will. Sometimes I go for a month or two without taking a lesson as a matter of keeping myself motivated. If the teacher gives you an assignment and you can’t master it to your own satisfaction, there is no reason to take the next lesson (I practice 60 - 90 minutes per day)......because all the teacher is going to do is walk you through the exact same stuff and tell you that you aren’t there yet. That is very, very demotivating. I know it. I don’t need to be reminded of it. This is why I don’t believe weekly lessons makes any sense for an adult. (You do it for kids simply to remind them to practice).

2). I stay with the teacher whose primary instrument is not the sax. This way we can focus on the enjoyment of the music and not all of the technical details of the sax. I find that with time, I can figure out a lot of the technical details on my own in chat rooms and forums. With my current teacher, I get to stick with the level of ‘beauty of the music’ not ‘you used the wrong alternate fingering to get from B to C.’ Sometimes he says, ‘Ben, is there another way you can finger that passage so it sounds a little crisper,’ and I usually go and figure it out. That sounds a lot better than, ‘You are using the wrong fingering. Do this instead.’

3). I have benefited from using a second sax teacher that has expertise in the sax. I might continue doing 2 lessons per YEAR with him. His benefits are that he can show me some alternatives fingerings and can provide me with exercises that are really much better for developing my technique for the sax. (My other teacher does not know the sax pedagogy nearly as well). The problems with him are manifold......and these are normal problem you will have with most teachers. For me 75% of my teachers have had these weaknesses.....they are very demotivating.

- He is an expert in the sax, and he wants to turn me into a mini-me or he has a preconceived vision of how I should progress, regardless of my strengths and what I want to do.
- I get lectured when I can’t play my 12 scales fast enough.
- He doesn’t like my reed, and lets me know it. (It is not relevant that I have tried his recommendations previously and they have not worked).
- He has assumptions about my tenor saxophone that are incorrect. “That sax should be easier for you to play”
- He assumes my embouchure should be exactly like his.
- His goal for me is to become a soloist. (I do not share this dream).
- He thinks it is optimal for me to take a lessons for him every 4 - 7 days regardless of whether 60 minutes per day is sufficient for me to master the material he has provided on the first less.

Too many teachers simply want to do their thing, and don’t really have the skill to listen and understand how to keep an adult motivate. At 50 years old, it is not about being good. It is about enjoying myself and lovin’ the music.....if I enjoy myself and love the music, I will naturally improve along the way.
 

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I wanted to play in a rock band. Bought horn, learned rock tunes, found a band. After a few months of playing the same music every weekend I was getting bored and wanted to learn more. I started just learning what I could, took some lessons with a teacher who was happy to just take my money and not really pay attention to how or what I was playing. When I got hip to that I moved on. Sure, he taught me some theory and some reading skills, but nothing about playing the horn...I had about the worst biting habit on the planet then: he never touched embouchure once. I knew nothing about playing in tune or even legit ear training. Now I hear his records. Good composer with nice ideas, doesn’t play in tune. Ever. Then I went to music college for a couple years and was way out of my league, but because it was a small school with only a couple horn players (guitar central), I had a great private teacher who tried really hard to unravel a few years of terrible habits. He gave me lots of tools and all the direction, I just didn’t know where I wanted to go. Now I’m playing bass as much as saxophone because of practice time and volume...it’s pretty cool, if I can hack through a tune on bass (melody, Roots, color tones, bass line if there is one) I can pick up the horn at any time in the future and it’s all there. Usually better than if I learn it with the horn in my hands. The brain is an interesting thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks again for the replies.

Have any of you, like Bjroosevelt, come across teachers that you found demotivating ?
 

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1.Adult beginners, what made you want to learn?
Played the trumpet in high school and did not care for it. I remember thinking the whole time I was in band that the sax made more sense to me and was always drawn to it. Never had the courage to pick one up until my 5th grade son got one this year. He struggles with doing new things, especially by himself so figured we can learn together.

2.Why did you choose to learn by yourself or study with a teacher?
Teaching myself so far but literally have played 3 times.

3.What were your expectations in taking lessons?
To learn enough to help teach my son...
 

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What made you want to learn?
I played clarinet starting in 5th grade through high school. I made first chair in junior high and first clarinet in high school but not quite first chair. I played a Buescher alto in junior high and high school in the jazz band. After high school I quit studying. I kept my clarinet and played from time to time all my life when the urge struck me. It was enough to keep the fingering but not enough to develop a style or a sound of my own.

A few years ago, like many here, I found myself listening to jazz but not understanding it. I bought some books and tried studying on my own but I didn't have the vocabulary to understand it. I knew that to really get the structure of music you need some knowledge of piano. I bought a keyboard and took lessons for about a year and a half. I eventually got frustrated with the glacial pace of the lessons. Beside I was still working and in a lot of pain from a bad back. Sitting at a desk 8 hours a day was killing me. So I gave up piano lessons.



It may sound odd but one reason I've never taken saxophone lessons is because I'm afraid I'll embarrass myself. I know it's a dumb way to think but being an old man now I imagine the teacher shaking his head and wondering why I bother with it at this age. But ….
I'm thinking of hiring a teacher for sax. Like I said above, I bought some Jamie Aebersold books and tried to figure out jazz. I also bought a couple of books on harmony to better understand the structure and vocabulary of music. That's not working for me. I just don't get it. Someone is going to have to sit with me and answer my questions, sometimes two or three times, until I get it. Then they would need to lay out a plan of how to get from where I am to where I want to be. And progress has to move along. My piano teacher taught absolute beginners and took the pace way too slowly for someone who's been reading and playing music for 50 years. Like I said in another thread I don't expect to ever be a brilliant technician. I don't have the internal drive to put in thousands of hours to master it in all 12 keys. But I'd like to have an understanding of jazz, how it's played, and to develop a pleasing tone.
 

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Adult beginners, what made you want to learn?
1. I'd always been drawn to horns, but didn't have the opportunity to learn one in school.
2. After decades of playing bass and guitar, arthritis forced me to give up strings, so I was forced to learn something new.
3. As a lifelong jazz fan, I felt a compulsion to attempt to play it in the time I have left on this planet.
+1
Add singing to the bass and guitar scenario, and my genesis pretty much follows the same course, minus the teachers. A Social Security income doesn't really leave any room for the cost of a teacher, and I've always gone the self-taught route with musical instruments, beginning at age 9, anyway, so what the heck!.
 

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+1
Add singing to the bass and guitar scenario, and my genesis pretty much follows the same course, minus the teachers. A Social Security income doesn't really leave any room for the cost of a teacher, and I've always gone the self-taught route with musical instruments, beginning at age 9, anyway, so what the heck!.
The important thing is to just do it and not let any constraints stop you. In my opinion many people who don't play an instrument, but would like to, put too much emphasis on innate talent, which then becomes an excuse for not realizing their dream. While I'm sure some lucky individuals do have special gifts, in my own experience I've found that one can accomplish a lot with dogged persistence.
 

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regarding...
I also bought a couple of books on harmony to better understand the structure and vocabulary of music. That's not working for me. I just don't get it.
and given that - as this thread illustrates so well - one size rarely fits all adult learners...
I'm getting a lot out of the piano side of things...
...I bought a keyboard and took lessons for about a year and a half. I eventually got frustrated with the glacial pace of the lessons.
I kind'a recon there's two starting points - melody first (twinkle twinkle little star) or harmony first ("jazz approach"); there are several sources eLessons for the latter as discussed here:
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showt...-piano-at-47&p=3520329&viewfull=1#post3520329

back pain allowing (sympathies - I'm 6'4''), might be worth a thought.
 
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