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Discussion Starter #1
I am not going to practice scales & arpeggios for several hours a day - or even a week- perhaps not at all

when I listen to louis armstrong singing scat, when I listen to billie holiday toy with timing & melody in "this years kisses" - there is a freedom & joy which is spontaneous - does it really come out of hours of regimented practice?

I know the old gary player line - the harder I practice the luckier I get - but I can't be the only aspiring player with a busy full-time job who doesn't get to practice more than two or three times a week - and wants to enjoy what he plays - can I?

I'm never gonna be a pro - the best is to be in an occasional gig with friends - where what we play is worked out before

so - a practice routine based around a curriculum of standards - in a variety of keys, where by ear I can improvise around a melody: not one based on learning multiple archaic names for scales and modes - one which is FUN - not a chore: how about it??

km
 

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Well, the way I see practice is, while working on my technique, I gather knowledge about new chords, licks, and through this work, I can learn to add them into my solo.

While I can also create improvised melodies on call, my improv is still quite basic because my technical level is still low. If you look at Coltrane or Rollins, or any master for that matter, they resonate freedom and joy in their compositions, while still practicing for several hours a day. I think of practice as a supplement to my playing - if I just miss practice for a few days, my tonguing slows down 50%, and my fingers move a lot slower as well.

I practice because I want to increase the repertoire that I can play, as well as work on better solos.

I suppose it's what you want to get out of your practice time that matters.
 

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km said:
when I listen to louis armstrong singing scat, when I listen to billie holiday toy with timing & melody in "this years kisses" - there is a freedom & joy which is spontaneous - does it really come out of hours of regimented practice?

I know the old gary player line - the harder I practice the luckier I get - but I can't be the only aspiring player with a busy full-time job who doesn't get to practice more than two or three times a week - and wants to enjoy what he plays - can I?
Q1: "Yes", but without the "regimented" which is a value judgement in this context. And even if it didn't, i think it would be unwise to rely on your having the gifts of Holiday and Armstrong if you were seeking to imitate them.

Q2: "No", you certainly won't be the only one. But you may well find that your playing of tunes sounds better (and is therefore more enjoyable for yourself and others) if you spend some time doing things other than playing tunes when you are practising.

All the best. :)
 

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Practicing the fundamentals gives you the freedom to do what you wish, even if you don't always play or sing in every key all the time. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it.
 

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Remember too that some would say Louis Armstrong's improvising really took off after his new wife Lil' Hardin got him to start a serious practice regimen. You can't tell me Louis Armstrong didn't understand some amount of theory, scales, chords etc. Probably not the same way Bird and Trane did, but he understood what was happening well enough that he could play with that 'freedom & joy which is spontaneous'. Listen to the internal parts in old New Orleans style playing...tell me the clarinet/saxophone/trombone didn't know what was happening below the melody line.

Learning the theory, learning the scales, learning the chords, the arpeggios, the intervals, etc. provides the freedom to create melody. I wouldn't try to speak to a native spanish speaker in spanish because i don't know spanish. You can't hope to communicate with a group of musicians if you don't understand the language they are speaking.

and i'm no old gray player named gary.
 

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Technique is just a way of transcending the thought process. To precisely express the hearts desire through your fingers and breath is the goal. I have yet to be impressed be a single musician whose approach has not been somehow streamlined through some sort of discipline. It may not be specific scales and arpeggios. But, they've all developed some system for transcibing their hearts song into a technical expression.

Good luck to ya.
 

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Sure, go ahead and do it that way. Why not?

I've got more thoughts, but first I gotta ask - is this some kind of British slang or am I being quoted?: "know the old gary player line - the harder I practice the luckier I get", because if it's the latter, I don't believe it's a trademark saying of mine and I don't like having something attributed to me if it's not so.

But regarding the thrust of your post, I understand why you want to spend your time like that. If you merely want to "sing" on your horn, then you only need enough chops to play an embellished melody (excepting your wanting to sing up-tempo Anita O'day tunes) and if your playing (notice I don't say "practicing") time is limited I see no reason why you don't do what you are suggesting. You should be having fun and letting off some stress at the same time.

But here's something to consider. Not all songs are easy. If you want to improvise, even simple embellishments around a melody, be aware that, even though a song may look like it's in the key of C, it might go thorough a few "tough" keys before it works it's way back to the tonic. Here is one way where having all the scales under your fingers helps you do what you want to do.

Additionally, if you can play your scales and arpeggios with ease, you can concentrate on your improvisations without stress and enjoy them. If you're struggling with passages in different keys, scales and arpeggios are one was to resolve that. I mean, not everything old and traditional is good, but this method has been around for a veeeerry long time. It must be effective.

But it's your choice. I've known folks who use a modified version of your approach. For example going through the Omnibook with the thought that if you can play everything in it you can play anything. However, when it worked for them, it wasn't just a matter or rushing through a tune and improvisation, it was isolating each and every passage that was difficult and woodshedding on them.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
maybe I can come at this another way

I can enjoy the music of, and want to play with the spirit of, billie holiday or louis armstrong without having the smallest portion of their talent - that's a given

but is there an approach for sax which has any of the elements of the suzuki approach of learning an instrument through playing - akin to learning a language by moving to a foreign country and working hard to speak, not taking the lessons but interacting with the spoken word/

"the harder I practice the luckier I get" is from Gary Player the (South African?) golfer a few years ago - when it was suggested his holing putts was lucky:it's probably a hundred other people as well - but you get my drift

perhaps the key thing is as you say - playing for simple enjoyment, not practicing to improve - learning a few new tunes every now & again


km
 

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Sure. Listen to tons of records but learn as many of those solos and songs by ear that you can. Don't just noodle around in the dark though. Just play back wht they're doing and then use those parts you identify with most to form your own basis for music expression.

No sweat.
 

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gary: The original poster is a golf fan. Gary Player was/is a fairly famous south african golfer . :D Or did you know that already in which case you are being :twisted: gary again ? The last line of #7 is actually even weirder in this gary/Gary respect - i'm pretty sure this chap's on about Gary Player as well but i'm not absolutely 100%!
 

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RootyTootoot said:
gary: The original poster is a golf fan. Gary Player was/is a fairly famous south african golfer . :D Or did you know that already in which case you are being :twisted: gary again ?
Jeez Marie! I don't suppose using CAPITALS where they belong would be in order, wot?!

Thanks RTT. Now that you mention it, I have heard of Gary Player. I just didn't know he practiced sax, too. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I am a doctor - but I do it for real, not simply for fun - and I do it for more than a couple of hours 2 or 3 times a week - which is why I don't have more time to play / practice!

km
 

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km said:
I am a doctor - but I do it for real, not simply for fun - and I do it for more than a couple of hours 2 or 3 times a week - which is why I don't have more time to play / practice!

km
Just enjoy playing--when you get to a level you're happy with, just stay there. Just like golf.

Make sure, though, that you don't expect to get any more proficient.
 

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km said:
I am a doctor - but I do it for real, not simply for fun - and I do it for more than a couple of hours 2 or 3 times a week - which is why I don't have more time to play / practice!

km

I am not a Doctor....although I play one on TV.......sorry.
 

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KM -- you might want to look over at the thread called "Blues scale . . . little advice needed." The subject is different, but the fundamental argument is similar to this one, but starting from something like the opposite position. Could be instructive. (or not :D )
 
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