Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,369 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all!

How long do you think it would take to master the saxamaphone? I heard once in took at least 10 years to learn how to play that thing. I know everyone has their own learning capacities and such but are there requirements one should expect to achieve after 1 year, 2 years, 3, 4, 10 etc. Maybe there's a common school cursus for that, I don't know.
I'm essentially talking about technique here from sound production, to harmonico-melodic theory, to scale/chords playing knowledge as well as standard chord charts memorizing. Of course, the artistic part of the game is much more complex and is a life's work...

I wonder as well if there are and what would be the similarities/differences between classical & jazz music on that matter. Also I'm interested in everyone's personal experience...

Thanx for reading.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
176 Posts
I'll let you know as soon as I master my horn.

I've only been playing 40 years. :shock:


john
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/ Forum Contributor 2011
Joined
·
2,604 Posts
Someone told me recently of a study that said it takes about 10000 hours to become an expert at something, and apparently it also asserted that the difference between a musical prodigy and an average student was simply that they enjoyed practicing, so they did it more, and with more concentration.

This is all third-hand, of course, but it's my recollection of the conversation.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
4,596 Posts
I recall the conversation awholley is referencing, and if anybody wants to look into it, the thread is here somewhere on sotw... That's very roughly 10 years of practicing 3 hours a day. There is of course a lot more involved: how well the student's teacher is, how tenacious he is to seek advice and apply knowledge from various sources, how consistent and persistent he is, how much he gets out there and actually pursues playing situations versus time spent alone in the practice room....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
962 Posts
To quote my old colleague Bennie Wallace (Berklee 1964) from last November
(2005) "I'm living in Greenwich CT and still trying to figure out how to play the saxophone."

The message is .... It takes a lifetime, Grasshopper. Don't expect to find shortcuts or instant progress or prowess.

Listen, observe, assimilate, experiment, practice, perform, practice more, perform more, ad infinitum....

It isn't a car which you can fire up and go where you desire.
The instrument is the car, you are both driver and road.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,885 Posts
DD said:
The instrument is the car, you are both driver and road.
I like that. Well put.

How long does it take to master the saxophone? I don't agree with the "lifetime" answers. It's certainly more finite than that. There are lots of 'young' cats out there who have mastered the instrument by their 30s and 40s.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
4,881 Posts
I think 10,000 hours sounds reasonable, but you may get differing opinions on what is meant by 'mastery'.

For me it's the ability to get your point across in a manner consistent with your ideal. When you can play exactly the way you sing to yourself then I think you have 'mastered' the instrument.

I think this is mostly achievable.

It's like good story-telling. You don't need to know every word in the dictionary (though it can help) to be able to tell a good story.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, & Forum Contributor 200
Joined
·
1,492 Posts
Putting a figure on that question is ridiculous, especially when you're talking about an instrument. There are so many variables involved .
The biggest factor in ' mastering ' the saxophone, whatever that is, is ability and practice. It is not measurable in time.
Additionally, the goal posts are always moving...to use your example- by the time you can play exactly what you sing to yourself, you will be singing or hearing someting something more developed
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
4,881 Posts
davesaxa1 said:
- by the time you can play exactly what you sing to yourself, you will be singing or hearing someting something more developed
Right you are! So there won't ever be a point in anyone's life where they can play anything and everything spontanteously. It's simply not achievable.

I think at some point we all have different threshholds as to determining "how good is good enough." I sure hope I am 'good enough' after 10,000 hours!
 

·
Forum Contributor 2010 & Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,945 Posts
The more I practice, the less I seem to know.

Steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
mastery is only comparitive if you want to master three blind mice on sax you'll be a master in about two weeks
however if mastery is knowing everything that can be done on one's instrument I think the objective is being missed
do you play just to master the instrument, if so who do you think is going to give you the 'I know everything trophy' - trane and bird are gone and anyway even they could'nt play everything

the way i see it is that if one talented guy learns his instrument with all the perfect situations he needs over his life, good teachers,gigs,equipment etc
starts when he's eight and stops when he dies at around eighty, he advances the instrument to a certain level,..... to be twice the master he was you would need two lives

what counts is what you do and what you get out of it
not what the others think you're worth
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Depends on waht you mean by master?

If you mean get above the line to be a true professional - atleast 10-15 years of serious daily practice.

If you mean truly master everything there is to the horn - NEVER!

One should never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever consider themselves "done" with the saxophone (or any instrument or life pusrsuit). We can get to new plateaus but after a week or two of enjoying the new level of playing, one must turn their sights immediately to the next step. Too many people get a very short distance down the path, call it "Mastery" or "good enough" and that's the end. We can all improve every day, every year.

Sorry for the rant, but I do it out of respect for the poeple who have gone further down the path than me.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
844 Posts
Hey all...

Maybe we're being to hard on ourselves. The dictionary defenition of master includes: skilled, proficient, to gain an understanding of. It also includes: an artist or performer with of consumate skill.

LOL - Maybe more of us are masters than we give/get credit for??? :?

Of course, everyone's opinion will vary on skilled, proficient, and consummate skills. Darn - I better get back to practicing! :shock:
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,369 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Great answers from everyone!

Obviously I should have asked a more accurate question. 'Mastering' an instrument is indeed a rather unprecise word as 'technique' might have been. I should have put the stress on the school programs requirements in my first post as they might have avoided the thread to go the philosophical way. Not that I mind but it seems needless to say that never will anyone master all aspects of playing any instrument because first, music in itself is so vast - may I say infinite?- in its potential creativity and variety it seems difficult to apprehend and second, interpreting this enormous amount of information on a particular instrument, which means getting proficient with its own technical requirements & expressive possibilities, goes as far as the sum of every human creativity throughout the years, past and future. The common proof of the above stated is that most of the time when someone thinks he has achieve a certain level of mastery on any subject he starts looking for more, for the next level and also, not so long after some monster musician seems to have achieved a technical peak on a particular instrument comes another one even more advanced. Not less important is the fact that art is so subjective that the concept of being a master becomes entirely the listener's responsability. Take Archie Shepp and Michael Brecker for example. They both are considered as masters with their very own artistic approach though one might be viewed as more technical than the other...
The main reason I had for starting this thread was just to give myself a rough idea of goals to achieve as a mean to focus and work through an efficient practice rather than working on everything at the same time as well as sharing personal experiences...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
77 Posts
"Someone told me recently of a study that said it takes about 10000 hours to become an expert at something"

I was reading a book concerning this - The Science of an Obsession, or something along that line. It went into great scientific detail about all aspects of music, but it touched on the idea of pure talent vs. practice time.

Yeah, it takes around 10,000 hours to technically master something specific. That means around 10 years if you practice no less than 3 hours a day. If you average 1 a day, it goes to around 30.

Now, what does the term "Master" entail? I'mnot sure. Was Charlie Parker a master? Most probably. How about Coltrane? Desmond? Carter? Etc. It's difficult to guage expertise in music, especially with Jazz.
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top