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I've recently gotten back into playing tenor sax after a 7 or 8 year hiatus. I wasn't great before but was taking lessons for about 2-3 years and could get by. I know all of the notes and a handful of alternate fingerings up and down the horn and can sight-read at a slow pace. I can also comp to chords and know or can build scales from years of music theory on other instruments. I may seek out a teacher again to make sure I don't start developing bad habits but I'm in my 30s now, as such I don't have as much free time as I did when I played before in my 20s. I make sure to pick up the horn at least once per day, even if it's only for 15-30 minutes, though I probably put in an hour or two a day on weekends. Can I expect to be a decent player after a year of this? What about 2, or 5? I don't want to be a virtuoso but would like to be able to sit in on some funk or jazz jams, maybe write some accompanying parts to friends' music. I essentially want to play well enough that I can play in a bar band if I so choose by the time I reach my 40s. That gives me almost six years but I'd like to be there sooner if I can. Is this a feasible goal?

Also if anyone can suggest me any teachers in the Seattle area that are taking on students it would be appreciated.
 

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I think 15-30 minutes a day is better than 0. If this is the amount of time you have, this is what you have to work with. You have to accept that your progress will be slower, though.

I also think you can do a lot in 30 minutes if you have a good practice routine and you consistently work towards your goals, but your progress will be close to non-existent if you just play songs for fun. When I was in a similar situation, I asked my teacher to set a routine for me. She basically filled every minute of my 25 minute practice time with useful (and very annoying and boring) things. I followed her instructions and it was not much fun but I did make progress. I got one day a week to play whatever I wanted, too, and that helped.

Also, it is impossible to say what your progress will be in 1-2-5 years, it is personal. My best friend needs about 30 minutes to learn things I have had to practice for months! We are all different. Just accept your limitations, strive to be better and enjoy making music!
 

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let’s be realistic, 15-30 minutes will serve the purpose to take you through the rudiments but won’t make you make any real good progress past that.

A couple of hours a day will certainly be a completely different thing and get you to a different level but even that won’t make you a virtuoso. I started playing two hours a day and that, I noticed made me make some real progress, than I fell back to a 30 to 1 hour a day and that’s not even enough to stay in shape but just about enough to give me the ability to participate to easy jams.

There are no shortcuts, in many things time invested in practice is like “ investing” in a piggy bank, the more you put in it the more you will find when you need it. It is not like the stock exchange market.
 

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I stopped playing sax in my 20s and took it up again in my 50s. I practice 2-3 hours a week max because of time constraints - probably like everyone else on the late bloomers subforum. If your goal is to be at a good enough level in 5-6 years, I think your timing is realistic. If possible you may want to have a few longer practice sessions so you can warm up on long tones, scales, etc. Otherwise your chops and fingers will be "ready" just when you have to quit.

Also, consider sitting in on blues jams first (what I do). Only need to master a few scales and the chord changes are easy.
 

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Everyone is different. 15 minutes a day and an hour or two weekend days is actually a fair amount of practice for a multi-instrumentalist. Practicing any of your instruments makes you better at all of them. The sax is so much about shaping the sounds your making to being in tune and pleasing to the ear. Fingerings come pretty quickly - tone is a lifelong pursuit.

I suspect that if you really get into it, you’ll practice more, but your goal is attainable. Is it attainable by you? Who knows - but I’ve met a couple of guys in my life who were scary good on multiple instruments and didn’t seem to put much effort into any of them....

Good luck!
 

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There’s a lot you can do without the horn physically in your mouth in order to effectively extend your practice time. For instance, I spent a couple hours transcribing a Coltrane solo over the past three days (about 40 mins per day), but spent some time during my commute and at work mentally practicing the solo and thinking about note choices in respect to the changes. Now, when I go back to the horn, it feels like I’ve really absorbed the ideas, both from a physical standpoint as well as an approach one.
 

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15-20 minutes a day is pretty much the minimum just for maintaining an embouchure - doesn't leave any room for anything else, but you could do that on the weekends. When I am forced into a similar regimen, I might just play a few reeds, play some ballads with lots of low register sub-tones, etc. Basically anything you can do to get the horn in your hands and play for a half-hour or so is good - every minute helps develop that familiarity/rapport with the instrument.
Believe me, you can work out your embouchure in five minutes with long tones.
 

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If that is all the time you have then, as said, use it wisely.

Dont not practice because a little practice isnt enough.

Perhaps after you make a little progress you will be inspired to engage is some time management strategies to allow for more time and progress.
 

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Bryan, it’s a matter of setting your goals. Set them low enough, and you are sure to “get by” - whatever that means. There are no guarantees. Some people here report struggling for years to get a decent sound - certainly getting good instruction will help you improve. Reinforcing bad habits by practicing poor concepts is seldom a good way to go.

For now, I suggest you set some short range, realistic and attainable goals. You may find that your rate of improvement increases, or you may change your mind about music entirely. We cannot know where life takes us. Live in the now, and enjoy the path. Don’t wait for the jams and gigs to enjoy your music. Every moment of practice can bring something positive to your life.

The good news is that you are playing tenor. :twisted: :bluewink:
 

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No, you can't. I practice two hours a day and I am getting better, but I'll never really learn the saxophone. You gotta start young and at some point do the 5 to 6 hours a day for a bunch years.
 

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15-30 min of focused, goal oriented practice is better than 1-2 hours of just practicing to practice. You have to have a plan and have a goal. Given the time restraints you have to be very focused on what your goals are. I would also try to set up your week kind of like going to gym, don't do arms every day, but have arm days, leg day, cardio...etc. If I were you, I would have cardio every day (think long tones, things that build stamina and good habits) then build in scales, etudes, repertoire, etc. Check out this TED talk, I think it's a great video talking about practicing and goal setting.

https://youtu.be/5MgBikgcWnY

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
 

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Can I get by on 15-30 minutes per day?
15 minutes is unrealistic, but whether 1/2, 2 or 5-6 hours take you anywhere depends, yes, on your goals and aptitude. I know, it's a third rail these days to even admit that people differ by aptitude, among other third rails, such as race and sex.

Violin virtuoso Paganini practiced all day long, but piano virtuoso Gieseking 2 hours at most. One may need 30 minutes a day to gracefully lead the bar band, and another one several hours to tag along in the background.

My violin teacher used to say: genius = aptitude of a capable man + work of an incapable man. There was no genius around: that was just her way to suggest the path to a decent orchestra chair for me.
 

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Absolutely! Efficient practicing is key. So many people waste time while practicing...I think they think it's cool to say they practice for a crazy amount of hours or something.
That is key. You can spend two hours spinning your wheels and going through the motions or very focussed targeted practice for a short period of time. You can make progress if you use your time wisely.
 

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Can I get by on 15-30 minutes per day?
15 minutes is unrealistic, but whether 1/2, 2 or 5-6 hours take you anywhere depends, yes, on your goals and aptitude. I know, it's a third rail these days to even admit that people differ by aptitude, among other third rails, such as race and sex.

Violin virtuoso Paganini practiced all day long, but piano virtuoso Gieseking 2 hours at most. One may need 30 minutes a day to gracefully lead the bar band, and another one several hours to tag along in the background.

My violin teacher used to say: genius = aptitude of a capable man + work of an incapable man. There was no genius around: that was just her way to suggest the path to a decent orchestra chair for me.
good point about variance in inherent talent. the nice part about music, too, is that you don’t need to have immense innate ability, nor do you have tons and tons of experience, to create something enjoyable (even though both obviously help). i remember some high school students solos i heard that i thought were super hip and connected to the audience, even if they weren’t particularly sophisticated or technical
 

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I've been paying attention to my "practice routine" since I read this thread. I find that I usually practice in increments of 10 - 110 minutes most days so there's no real help there. I do know that in the past few years I have gotten substantially better - which is more than I can say for my guitar and piano playing. I may end up only practicing 15 minutes on any given day, but may also play for 2-3 hours when I've got something I want to work on.

I know that everyone is different and some people need (and perhaps even crave) structure, but Life works best for me when I go with the flow and don't worry too much about routine. Too much structure and I find I begin to focus more on the structure than the goal - or even worse I quit because it's "quittin' time", where otherwise I might have just continued to work. The negativity of having to work late is also eliminated when your mindset is work until it's done.
 

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Well, the time you have is the time you have. 15 minutes is better than zero minutes. Beyond that, it's hard to say much.

For me, 15-30 minutes is not enough to make progress. Everybody has different abilities, and everybody has different standards, but for me, 30 minutes is what I would think of as "maintenance." It's not enough time to really work on anything, but it's enough to maintain my embouchure and do a few scales and arpeggios to keep my fingers limber. For me to make any noticeable progress, I need to be shedding for at least an hour, probably more like 90 minutes a day.

But that's me. You might make progress more quickly than I do, and you might be more patient about it. If an hour isn't an option, do 30 minutes. If that's not an option, do 15.
 
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