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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,
Im in my final year at school (Year 12) and am thinking of a career in music (playing, teaching etc).

Planning to do classical piano degree, along with jazz saxophone as my other instrument. Heres the situation, I only started learning saxophone about 2 1/2 years ago, I picked it up as a secondary instrument but now Im playing in all the jazz/concert bands at school.

I have jazz experience in a Big band (Lead Alto) but really want to learn how to improvise well. I am fine with most blues and minor improvisation but want to know how to really develop my ideas and playing to the next level. I currently play my cycle of fourths all around the scale, play long tones etc but dont have much rep to work with.

Any ideas sorry about the ocnfusing post!
 

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Do you transcribe solos off records? Play these phrases in all keys.

Transcribing is the one thing more people leave out because it's a lot of work to get started and it's slow going at first, so you get no instant gratification. Transcribe everyday and improve your ears. As a pianists you should be able to get the theory down fairly quick, but classical training is vastly different than jazz. Tear yourself from written music as much as you can and do the work in your head as far as learning your scale/chord theory. Spending the majority of your time working it out in you head will be essential when your up on stage in a jam and you have to fly by the seat of you pants.
 

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i would also suggest investing in/borrowing a Jamey Aebersold book. There's a list of "common jazz scales" and their relative chord in the back for study (I'm still working on making them reflex). The play-alongs are fun, definitely a treat after a long woodshed session or just on their own for practice.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have a Jamie Aebersold vol 52 i think it is. But the transcribing with your ear thing is a very valid point!. I guess after 8 grades of classical piano you get used to reading the tadpoles on the page!.
 

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If you haven't already, get Aebersold Volume 1: How to Play Jazz and Improvise. Learn the basics of the chord/scale relationships.

Get the Charlie Parker Omnibook. This is the most popular transcription book ever published and is also known as "The Beboppers Bible". It's an excellent source for seeing how the jazz language is put together.

Listen. Listen. Listen. You can't play jazz if you don't know what it sounds like.

Regarding transcribing: Get the album "Kind of Blue" and start with Miles Davis' solos. They're relatively simple as are the chord changes. Those solos are classics.
 

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As a saxophonists your job would be to transcribe the solos from other saxophonists that play your same instrument.

Parker might be a little too fast for you at this point, but owning the omnibook and all of Parkers records wouldn't hurt.

Stick with transcribing ballads at first and slower tunes. You want to get to the point that your a walking copy of somebody else for X number of years and then worry about developing your own style. Being an exact copy is a ton of work an there's a lot of lessons in that to learn. The subtle nuances of tone, articulation, rhythm feel and dynamics can only be picked up off of recorded jazz or working with a really good teacher. My teacher would play a phrase and I'd be forced to play it right back to him without any sheet music and by ear, stressful at first.

Finding a good jazz teacher....working pro that gigs on a regular basis is going to be a huge asset, . Also you can collect every book out there and you should start a little library, but you need to interact with others that can already play jazz.....it will move your game up much quicker.
 

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Like you, I was classically trained, then got serious about improvising about 3 years ago. The biggest thing is to change your perspective, from an "eye to hand" coordination (i.e., sight reading) to an "ear to hand" coordination..... you should be spending time every day playing what you hear in your head.... take something simple like Happy Birthday or Mary Had a Little Lamb..... play it in easy keys as first, then start on less familiar notes like G#....... it will be slow going and frustrating at first, but STICK WITH IT, the payoff is huge. Then, begin jamming along with recordings..... start with something relatively slow and diatonic......... Paul Desmond is excellent for this purpose...... when he plays a short phrase, try to copy it immediately afterward...... again, work on this every day for a part of your practice routine.

Spend as much time as you can playing with no music in front of you...... be patient. When I first started working on this, it took me hours to memorize a tune...... now I can learn a jazz standard in just a couple of choruses..... and I'm not particularly musically gifted.....

Here's a link to an excellent (and free) jazz handbook from Aebersold....... it's got a lot of great stuff in it:

http://aebersold.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=JAZZ&Category_Code=_HANDBOOK

Best of luck,

Al
 

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alsdiego,

Thanks for the link, useful & I didn't know of it.

Incidentally, your post reflects my own approach.
I hope this doesn't ruin your reputation here "by association."

rabbit
 

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rabbit, I don't know you!!! Hey, aren't you the big-time Kenny G fan I've read so much about? .............. or are you the guy who beat Alex Han in a cutting contest? Just kidding........... hey, this is WAAAYYY off topic, but speaking of prodigies, check this out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkl2kMfbGU0

This gal is freakin' 14!!

Al
 

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alsdiego said:
rabbit, I don't know you!!! Hey, aren't you the big-time Kenny G fan I've read so much about? .............. or are you the guy who beat Alex Han in a cutting contest? Just kidding........... hey, this is WAAAYYY off topic, but speaking of prodigies, check this out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkl2kMfbGU0

This gal is freakin' 14!!

Al
wow:shock:
 

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alsdiego said:
rabbit, I don't know you!!! Hey, aren't you the big-time Kenny G fan I've read so much about? .............. or are you the guy who beat Alex Han in a cutting contest? Just kidding........... hey, this is WAAAYYY off topic, but speaking of prodigies, check this out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkl2kMfbGU0

This gal is freakin' 14!!

Al
Al,

All that AND I invented smooth jazz!

But it all came to a crashing end last week when
I lost my head to Grace Kelly in a cuttin' session.

She good and she play with Wood.

rabbit
 

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rabbit said:
Al,

All that AND I invented smooth jazz!

But it all came to a crashing end last week when
I lost my head to Grace Kelly in a cuttin' session.

She good and she play with Wood.

rabbit
It's great to see a talent like Grace who can still be a silly, giggly teenager..... according to one news report, she once broke into a tap dance (she's also an accomplished dancer and singer) while simultaneously playing Anthropology on alto........ now THAT should be on Youtube!!!
 

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alsdiego said:
rabbit, I don't know you!!! Hey, aren't you the big-time Kenny G fan I've read so much about? .............. or are you the guy who beat Alex Han in a cutting contest? Just kidding........... hey, this is WAAAYYY off topic, but speaking of prodigies, check this out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkl2kMfbGU0

This gal is freakin' 14!!

Al
Wow, I saw Grace Kelly and thought to myself "I didn't know Grace Kelly(the actress, rip) could play the saxophone.":shock:

Nice link, Alsdiego. That young lady held her own, good concentration and focus.
 

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Which school are you at ksentine? I'm from Adelaide and I'm a first year doing BMus majoring in Jazz Performance (sax) at Elder Con.

If you get into the classical course next year you could always get some lessons from Dusty, Mike, Derek or some of the other sax teachers in the jazz course.

They will basically give you lots of technique work and lots of transcribing, those are the two things that form the assessible basis of our course, creativity etc. is covered a little but it is an academic degree.

Try transcribing some Lou Donaldson (alto), Cannonball, Hank Mobley (tenor), Sonny Rollins, and listen to some Joe Henderson, Trane, Art Pepper, Stan Getz etc. All the greats need to be covered!

Classical piano is pretty intense btw, I know someone who is doing it.

PM me if you have any questions

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hey just an update,
I grabbed the omnibook from music shop about 4 days ago and have been practicing it religiously!. Brilliant ideas in there for solos and the structure and intellect parker used for improvisation is amazing.

To answer your question I study at Immanuel college under Damien Hurn for Saxophone (Elder con) and currently am doing a Single studies scholarship0 with Diana Weekes for piano at the elder con as well.

My teacher suggested that I grab the omnibook and both of Bob Mintzers etude books as well for ideas and to improve my techniche and feel for the jazz idiom.

Will start this transcribing business after we finish our major concerts and my special study assessments:p.

Thanks
 
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