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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. New poster, just signed up. Got a few questions, hopefully can get a bit of guidance.

My backstory -

I played Tenor Sax for 7 years when I was in middle/high school. Played both classical and jazz, but I preferred jazz. Wouldn't call myself great, but had decent technique at the time. I owned a nice saxophone - A Selmer Super Action 80 series 1 (nobody talks about this model these days...why is that??). Alas, I eventually sold it because I just wasn't into playing it anymore.

Fast forward nearly 20 years later. I've decided to pick up playing again but with some caveats. First, I can not practice on a real sax due to noise restrictions therefore I am looking to buy a Wind/MIDI Controller. Particularly the Roland Aerophone Go (model AE-05) as it ticks all of my checkboxes (inexpensive, completely silent, has standard sax fingering). In time, I can buy a real sax, but before I take the plunge and invest in something expensive, I need to know if that spark for playing will return.

My question is, how should I go about practicing? Should I re-learn everything myself? Invest in a private teacher? Go the e-learning route?

I only want to play Jazz and learn as much as I can about jazz improvisation. I felt that music theory was always my biggest weakness and held me back from becoming truly invested in the instrument.

20 years is a long time, however, I loved playing the saxophone and I still remember the fingering and I can still sight read music pretty well.

I feel it may be difficult finding a private teacher who would agree to teach someone who doesn't own a real saxophone.

Also, there were no online courses 20 years ago for learning the sax. Are there any out there now you would recommend for a novice/intermediate?

Anyone have any advice for re-learning the sax?

Thanks!! :)

Chris
 

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I has a similar experience, but my layoff was almost 40 years. I got back into it first by buying a Yamaha WX5 wind synth (I took my young son to the music store just to check it out for a few minutes. An hour later I was still playing it and he was begging me to leave - so I made the purchase). My thought was that my embouchure was non existent, but I wanted to start somewhere. It wasn't long before I was disappointed in the synth - it's not a sax either in sound or ergonomics. I would recommend going straight to the sax and maybe trying to figure out how and where to practice (fast forward 15 years and I now live half the year in a condo where I am not allowed to play. I go to the local music school a couple of miles away every day and practice there for an hour. They give me a free practice room in return for some favors I've done for them. I've also practiced outside in remote locations in the past when weather is good.)

A few months later, as luck would have it, a friend I had not heard from for 20 years was having a CD release party for his band and invited me to sit in for a tune - but only on sax. So I pulled out the sax and spend a week relearning how to make a sound and how to play a blues in concert A minor. I didn't embarrass myself, and the spark was lit.

I spent the next five years trying to teach myself - starting with all the basic materials - scales, long tones, easy etudes, etc. plus simple blues play-along. Eventually I got to the point where my embouchure and reading skills came back to where I joined the friends band (R&B horn band) as the forth horn reading simple charts.

Around this time I joined an adult beginner jazz ensemble at a local music school, and that did more than anything to advance both my playing and my understanding of music theory and improvisation. I highly recommend doing this as soon as you are comfortable reading heads and playing even simple improvisations.

I finally plateaued and took some lessons a few years ago to break over the hump. I wish I had done this from the beginning. I highly recommend doing that as well. My playing went to another level, and I am still mining the material from the 6 months of lessons years later.

The most important thing to remember is not to get discouraged, to crawl then walk then run, and that every day in some way your playing will improve. A year from now you will be amazed at your progress, and every year after that.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I has a similar experience, but my layoff was almost 40 years. I got back into it first by buying a Yamaha WX5 wind synth (I took my young son to the music store just to check it out for a few minutes. An hour later I was still playing it and he was begging me to leave - so I made the purchase). My thought was that my embouchure was non existent, but I wanted to start somewhere. It wasn't long before I was disappointed in the synth - it's not a sax either in sound or ergonomics. I would recommend going straight to the sax and maybe trying to figure out how and where to practice (fast forward 15 years and I now live half the year in a condo where I am not allowed to play. I go to the local music school a couple of miles away every day and practice there for an hour. They give me a free practice room in return for some favors I've done for them. I've also practiced outside in remote locations in the past when weather is good.)

A few months later, as luck would have it, a friend I had not heard from for 20 years was having a CD release party for his band and invited me to sit in for a tune - but only on sax. So I pulled out the sax and spend a week relearning how to make a sound and how to play a blues in concert A minor. I didn't embarrass myself, and the spark was lit.

I spent the next five years trying to teach myself - starting with all the basic materials - scales, long tones, easy etudes, etc. plus simple blues play-along. Eventually I got to the point where my embouchure and reading skills came back to where I joined the friends band (R&B horn band) as the forth horn reading simple charts.

Around this time I joined an adult beginner jazz ensemble at a local music school, and that did more than anything to advance both my playing and my understanding of music theory and improvisation. I highly recommend doing this as soon as you are comfortable reading heads and playing even simple improvisations.

I finally plateaued and took some lessons a few years ago to break over the hump. I wish I had done this from the beginning. I highly recommend doing that as well. My playing went to another level, and I am still mining the material from the 6 months of lessons years later.

The most important thing to remember is not to get discouraged, to crawl then walk then run, and that every day in some way your playing will improve. A year from now you will be amazed at your progress, and every year after that.

Good luck!

Thanks for the reply!

I am with you about getting my hands on a real sax. The biggest problem right now is the noise factor. I could always find a space in which to practice, but at the moment having ultimate freedom of convenience is what I am after. I will probably be like you when I first get my hands on the Aerophone. I will want to practice and play for hours. It's normal and I fully expectmthe luster to wear off quickly. If I can motivate myself to practice once a week on this thing for 6 months, I'll be happy. If I am able to sustain practice for a year or longer,
I will consider buying a real sax. No point buying a real sax now when I don't even know if I will continue playing after 6 months, let alone a year.

I know that playing on a wind synth is not the same as playing on an acoustic instrument, however I feel that I can get the same amount of joy (if not more) playing on a
wind synth. As long as I am able to jump right into playing jazz standards and be somewhat capable with the wind synth, I'll be happy with my purchase. I also won't have to worry about developing my embouchure or tone as I can adjust the breath setting to make it easier and download great sounding sax sounds. I know it's not a replacement for a real sax, but at this time. I dont even know if I will enjoy playing music again. If not, I will not be too distraught having spent a few hundred bucks on this thing.

I don't expect to join any local bands or jazz ensembles. If anything, I can find a friend to jam with but nothing too ambitious. If I can not find a suitable teacher, I will just learn as much as I can online. The great thing about re-learning the sax now is that there are so many more resources and tools available for learning.

Thanks again for taking the time to answer! It's nice to hear that there are others who have picked up the sax after a long extended break.
 

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I only want to play Jazz and learn as much as I can about jazz improvisation.
Anyone have any advice for re-learning the sax?
3 rules

1) Listen constantly to Lester Young

2) Listen constantly to Lester Young

3) Listen constantly to Lester Young

Itunes, 100 Lester Young Tunes $8-99

How goods that.
 

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...
I only want to play Jazz and learn as much as I can about jazz improvisation. I felt that music theory was always my biggest weakness and held me back from becoming truly invested in the instrument.
...
Also, there were no online courses 20 years ago for learning the sax. Are there any out there now you would recommend for a novice/intermediate?
as someone who started even further back than you....
First, I'd be the last one to deny that listening is very important - but, in my case anyway, one may have to build a bit of brain with which to listen. Indeed that's why I started learning sax. And I have found
||the more I play, the more I learn, the better I listen, the more : ||

Actually, following many of technical discussions here opens the ears and there are some tremendous YouTube folk - even though I mostly can't "master" what they say, it all drops into to the landscape somewhere.

I ploughed my way (am ploughing my way) though a number of Randy Hunder's lessons and etude books; mostly for musical brain cell development. There are a number of great providers of online material, not least of all on SOTW. But that's the one a plonked for and found the materla to be great. your value may vary; but most folk have video samples - scratch round till you find one with a sound you like.

I also got sucked into piano... and - IMHO again, as a beginner - find much of what I learn on one instrument flows to the others. Seems to me, for capital-M-Music learning, just which instrument is secondary - but, ofcourse, primary for actually producing the kind of music you want to produce.

2Øre
 
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