Sax on the Web Forum banner
41 - 60 of 87 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
i am a slow learner when it comes to theory tis my age ,it does seem to me though in life you have many kinds of styles of learning, cereble, kinetic, ect ,i favour the hands on approach, like that guy said listening is the main way i learn but if you are a cereble learner then reading the dots is the only way it will make sense ,sorry i went into teacher mode ,to simplify some ppl can improvise and feel the music where it is heading and some have to stick to 11 5 1 progs and chords to be safe, at the end of the day we are all right as improv is personal and regardless of theory and methods to a great degree we all play as we feel stan getz would play what we would see as clashing notes but they fitted it was what he felt at the time,if he felt that note was right out of context or not he would play it,,,as for copying solos you end up in a loop sounding like the person you transcribe
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Thanks for posting this, it was a fascinating and very well written and argued essay from someone who quite obviously knows what he was talking about. I enjoyed every word of it, please do post more!

Your friend makes the point:

I believe in the biological axiom of ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, ie. the stages of development of the embryo replicates the stages of evolution of the species. (example:at a point in the development of the human embryo, it has gills). In regards to improvisation, this means that one should embrace the logic of earlier stages of jazz as one grows artistically. One beauty of jazz improvisation is that, as in other art forms, it has the potential for growth and change reflective of the growth and change throughout your entire life (note the changes in Getz throughout his life).
I think this is a very interesting point, but one difference that he doesn't mention is that every developing foetus aspires to the same genetic end game in it's development, ie becoming a fully developed human. This is not necessarily the case for sax players, ie we can choose what type of "animal" we wish to develop into and we therefore do not need to repeat the same "evolutionary path" as any other player or as jazz itself has taken. We are therefore free to select our own evolutionary future by choosing what we actively listen to and spend time playing as we develop into maturity as a player.
Interesting thought, consider that almost all mammals share at least 2/3 of their DNA with humans. In the same way, almost all Jazz musicians can be traced back to Louis Armstrong or at least the Duke, ie: Brecker is a acolyte to Trane, Trane can be traced back similarly to Johnny Hodges, whose style was evident in the Duke's earliest years. Almost every great Jazz musician recognises the greatness of Louis Armstrong in one way or another.
Good piont, though, lots of food for thought. :)
 
G

·
Improvisation is something that all musicians should learn. I believe it is the most important aspect of musicianship, because by improving, somebody can express themselves 100% through music while having no limits. Improv is the ultimate form of creativity. Improv extends far beyond jazz and into any genre of music. When you can turn on any music and just play, letting the notes flow out of you, while just feeling the music and not trying to think about the notes you are playing. I love turning on the radio and just playing with music I hear, constantly creating new melodies and rifts as i just let the music flow out of me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
69 Posts
Thank you everyone. This has been such a brilliant thread for somebody like me who having been classically trained is now entering into the world of jazz and improvisation.
All the best
Maggie :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
354 Posts
"If you can not hear quickly, how can one play quickly?"

That reminds me of what they saw about drawing classes; you are not taught how to draw, rather you are taught how to see!

An instructive lesson in approaching improvising.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
4,881 Posts
Here's a funny story. I turn to a fellow 'jammer' and say 'stop yacking and try to follow what's happening.' So I catch him later staring at the sax soloist.

"What are you doing?"
"I am watching his hands!"

True story!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
Transcribing is an interesting thing.

I believe you can transcribe a hundred solos and get very little out of it.

I believe you can transcribe one solo and squeeze heaven and earth out of it.

A solo is the sum total of what an instrumentalist contributed in the moment. It contains his influences, his rhythms, his unique musical "fingerprint".

Transcribing and playing back a solo is just "listening" to it with your ears, fingers, breath, and body. Its listening very, very closely.

Analyzing a transcribed solo is listening with your intellect. It has its place, but mostly in the practice room (just like learning new changes). On the bandstand there is no time for analysis as the river of music flows.

If someone's ears are very well developed (for example, after years of training), that person has access to anything played in his presence. At that point, just listening is great. Before we reach that point, we may want
complement the listening with some good old fashioned shedding.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
...marvelous essay, very intriguing
probably the best look at improvisation without an instrument,
however, it directly effects the use of the instrument ...hah
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
462 Posts
There are many opinions in this article here that I share.

Here's a video of mine in which I put many of them into practice:

This is the type of approach I've used with success with my students.

Any thoughts?

Sincerely,
~ Rick
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
174 Posts
That is some of the best writing I have seen on the subject of learning to improvise. Or rather, learning how to discover the improviser you wish to become. Personally, I have rarely retained or assimilated anything from reading a transcription. Only through active listening and personal transcription (meaning I was the one doing the transcribing). I always aim to convince students that the rewards of transcribing even a single phrase on their own far outweigh the temporary satisfaction of reading it and discovering the correct notes. Big difference between learning French from a textbook vs. living in France and learning by being immersed in the language and culture.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,812 Posts
Your friend had some wise words. I would substitute high quality ear buds and a good mp3 player over headphones. They actually go inside your head rather than on your ears so it is even more personal.

Transcribing saxophone music for a sax player is incestuous. You shouldn't even listen to other sax players.

Once again as I have done before, I recommend playing random notes as an exercise.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013
Joined
·
11,501 Posts
I thought of inserting this youtube video originally recorded in 1972 in its own thread, but I think that it really offers another point of view on the mastery of improvisation. The late great saxophonist/arranger Willie Maiden expounds on the idea of "Be you, Now." It offers some insight on how you can start building upon your improvisational basics regardless of your current level of development. Almost everything he says could be used as a signature block by one of us.
At the end of the video there is a white haired gentleman sitting in the back of the band that makes a comment... that's Stan Kenton. So take about nine minutes and just dig this video... I guarantee you'll like it.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
5,092 Posts
There are many opinions in this article here that I share.

Here's a video of mine in which I put many of them into practice:

This is the type of approach I've used with success with my students.

Any thoughts?

Sincerely,
~ Rick
Very cool video, man. This is exactly the methodology I learned in Daryl Lowery's transcription course at Berklee.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian
Joined
·
7,153 Posts
This is an excellent insight on jazz improvisation, but why is it still up there after so long? Is there no new insight?

x
Maybe because getting away from transcribing is a dead end for jazz educators as professionals. As such, what they teach has to be reproduceable, gradeable, and develop concrete skills. Reading, scales, etc. are concrete. Learning to improvise as such is not, really.

I agree with Bob Amram that listening is more to the point than transcribing, but only up to a point. I mostly listen, always have. But at some point I noticed my "ears stopped growing." I couldn't hear new styles well enough to learn them. That point was, I think, where jazz got more theoretical / intellectual / systematic. What I heard would only have made sense if I had developed more concrete skills - theory, scales, and identifying sound immediately with them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
I would have to say that I have come to some of the same conclusions as those mentioned in the article. I've found that transcribing is really frustrating and unhelpful for me at this stage in my development. For me listening closely to recordings of the greats and asking myself questions like, What is it that I like about this improvisation? What things does he do to express himself or his ideas. How does the musician portray specific moods or feelings, and so forth has been more beneficial than transcribing. By doing this I'm able to take Ideas and themes that I can try out in my own way instead of regurgitating some lick. This has given me more freedom in my playing. For me the formula to learning to be a good jazz improviser is Listen to Jazz a lot, play as much as possible, and experiment. When you read about the older cats this is really what they did. they listened, played every chance they got, and experimented with ideas.
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,682 Posts
Transcribing saxophone music for a sax player is incestuous. You shouldn't even listen to other sax players..
Sorry, but this is probably the most useless bit of "advice" I've read on here. Hopefully no one who is trying to learn to play won't take it seriously! If you don't listen to other sax players, how are you going to ever learn to play?! Music, and improvisation especially, is an aural art, passed on by listening and using your ear.
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,682 Posts
I wish the editing would work again on here. My last post contained a 'double negative' in the second sentence, but I still think my meaning got across. Still I wish I could fix that sentence!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,992 Posts
Discussion Starter · #58 ·
I wish the editing would work again on here. My last post contained a 'double negative' in the second sentence, but I still think my meaning got across. Still I wish I could fix that sentence!
Until we get it fixed, use the GO ADVANCED feature. It is working and well let you save your edits.
 
41 - 60 of 87 Posts
Top