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It's school holiday time Down Under. Two weeks of rest, (read scrabbling for pick up jobs to pay the bills), and two weeks of preparing lessons for next term.

Most of my older kids have all their concert band music down, and some are working on preparing an Omnibook tune and solo choruses as part of the audition to move up to the Concert Band next year. It's a joy to teach 9 year old kids who'll give "Billie's Bounce" (including Bird's solo) a go on sax and clarinet.

For their last lesson of the term, I decided to let them have a little fun. There was no way they were gonna knuckle down to work, so I just said "let's have some fun. What do you want to learn?"

Surprise, surprise. No Kenny G. No Britney.

They all want to learn to play Rock n Roll Sax (or clarinet :shock: )

I spent the lesson just teaching them simple background parts for tunes such as

"See you Later Alligator."

"Shake Rattle n Roll"

etc. Then we had some fun with the major pentatonic scale and developing these riffs into a solo.

Had a blast! :D The kids loved it. The other kids and parents were crowding the doorway and peering in the classroom windows. The joint was rockin'.

Now the little terrors want more. :)

It always seems to work well, for kids and for myself, to have a base to build upon. More advanced rock solos are easier to play, remember and use, when you've got some basic solos and background parts under your fingers and in your ears. I think the basic stuff provides a set of mental "pegs" upon which you can hang the progressively more advanced stuff.

So often, we advise beginners to "go listen to these guys" and give them a list of great players, playing ripping solos, at tempos well beyond a young beginner/intermediate player. Sure, some of the kids will knuckle down and learn a difficult solo, but I've often thought that a simpler solo that can be refigured and adapted to varying feels and tempos, is more useful.

With that in mind, how about suggesting a few exemplary tunes/solos for various sub genres, that will give the young kids some useable licks,motifs, background parts.

Preferably, simple stuff that they can adapt to many types of tunes and feels. I always feel that you want at least one adaptable solo (with background parts), up your sleeve for each of the following. A bag of tools that'll get you through most any Rock n Roll sax tune.

slow, sultry, Blues

faster Jump Blues

Old-time, 50's Rock n Roll

Doo Wop

Funk Groove

Boogie style tunes


I'm missing many styles, but you get the idea.

If you were a teacher and you had to pick one or two tunes for each style. One or two, "learn these kid, and you can blow your way through anything" tunes. What would you choose?

Remember, nothing too tricky, these are kids (or adults) building a rock n roll foundation.

Happy Holidays
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the link Finnerski.

Hard to tell from the brief review on the page, whether the book contains just the vocal lines, or whether it's the horn parts and solos.

Lot's of views on this thread but not to many suggestions. :)

I guess I'll start the ball rolling.

For slow blues, I found that Eddie Vinson's "Juice Head Baby" gave me a foot in the door to play over that feel.

Likewise, Eddie's "Kidney Stew" (head and solo) is both easy and adaptable to to many other blues with a similar feel.

Bill Dogget's "Honky Tonk" is a similarly "useable in a multitude of ways" type of solo.

Knowing basic 1 3 5 and 1 4 3 1 types of background riffs will get you through many old time rock n roll tunes.

We've got some great Rock players here, as well as guys that cover many styles as part of their GB gigs.

If you had to suggest some tunes, tips, ideas for a young kid learning this stuff, what would be your take on it?

Not a list of players and solos a mile long, but rather suggestions for building a basic repertoire of ideas, riffs, licks, concepts, whatever, that wiould help these kids get a basic foundation together. To the point where they can get up and play with all their guitarist/bassplayer/drummer mates.
Not a lot of stuff, but a core of useable stuff.
 

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When I started playing other stuff than classical music in lessons, the first book I got was "Jazz Conception" by Jim Snidero. The book has 21 etudes based off of the standards. It also comes with a CD, so the musician can play along with just the band, or with the soloist.

Things I like about it:
1. Methodically improves a students skills, starting with fairly easy solos that get more advanced as the book goes on.

2. Works really well for teaching beginners the basics of improvisation.

3. Since the etudes are based off of a "standard," the student is better prepared to learn the actual standards once he/she is done with the book (the can also be taught concurrently.

4. The CD. Students can really work the book on their own quite easily, so you can make it more of a "treat" to work on it at the end of lessons, rather than spending too much time on it too early.

I can't recommend it enough, really!

As for listening to stuff... for rock 'n roll, nothing gets my feet tapping like a little King Curtis!
 

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Can i join you class? Alright i'm 43 so maybe that would be stretching it a bit. It looks a complete hoot.

A serious point here, this is exactly what i and no doubt others want / need to develop as players. I really think there is a place for teaching adults in a group the rudiments of styles with an emphasis on improv, i can't be alone in a city of 2 mill, but how to connect up and get a teacher?

Your point about listening to the greats is valid, i marvel at them but there is no way i can get close to understanding let alone emulating them.

I look forward with interest to watching this thread develop.

Paulio
 

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Discussion Starter #6
rs1sensen,

Thanks for that, I've got the Snidero book, but what I'm talking about isn't jazz standards.

Party music. Blues, Funk, Rock, etc...

Jazz pedagogy has been done to death. There's a zillion books and methods.

Rock n Roll sax is the poor relation. I guess it's assumed to be too easy.

Say you were a rock/blues/funk/ sax player and in 6 months time, you were moving to Siberia to do take up a missionary position.
Suppose also that you had a young student you thought could play well enough to sub for you, but needed to get a handle on all the various styles he/she would be playing.

Now, what and who, would you tell your student to shed for the next 6 months?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
paulio said:
Can i join you class? Alright i'm 43 so maybe that would be stretching it a bit. It looks a complete hoot.

A serious point here, this is exactly what i and no doubt others want / need to develop as players. I really think there is a place for teaching adults in a group the rudiments of styles with an emphasis on improv, i can't be alone in a city of 2 mill, but how to connect up and get a teacher?

Your point about listening to the greats is valid, i marvel at them but there is no way i can get close to understanding let alone emulating them.

I look forward with interest to watching this thread develop.

Paulio
Paulio,

You're absolutely right. There's an enormous market out there for anyone that can put together a method/workshop approach that will help all the thousands of hobbyist players make the transition to getting out and playing.
For most players that avenue isn't gonna be jamming at the Village. It's gonna be playing in a rock/blues/funk/soul type band. Be it a covers band or GB band, party band, or whatever.

I have a very good mate that plays these type of gigs in his sleep (sometimes literally :D ;) ). I'm trying to convince him to get some kind of workshop happening. Not only for all the hobbyist adults, but also to try and retain the many great school kids we teach. You have no idea how many kids drop the sax like a hot potato, and take up guitar, or bass, or drums, once they reach teenager staus. Often this is simply because school band music is soooo lame to a teenager, and these other instruments give them a change to actually participate in a "real" band.

The sad thing is, most of these bands would kill to have a sax player who can play rock/blues/soul/funk sax. These kids are technically proficient enough to get up and play rock sax. They might not be Red Prysock or King Curtis, but who is???;)

There's gotta be a way to help these kids and all the hobby players build a basic foundation that will give them the tools and confidence to get up and play and know that they'll be able to handle most, if not all the types of tunes they'll be asked to play. This has been addressed ad nauseum on the Jazz side of things.
So if the Jazz folks can get it happening, surely there's hope for the would be, rock sax players. I'm gonna find some method that works, even if it it kills me. :twisted: :D
I'd sure appreciate some help though.
 

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Hi Dog Pants, what about the Dennis Taylor Blues Saxophone book, you should be able to get some mileage out of some of the stuff in there, either as is - or simplified depending on ability. gruss - spike
 

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A teacher that will do rock school- Dogpants, You the Man! An important element in rock playing is attitude. Show your students, maybe via a 1- or 2- note solo like the one on Ain't To Proud to Beg. Also relate to them the relationshp between jump and old swing.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
rbur said:
hello Dog Pants,
scroll up to the top of your screen:
SOTW: Rock'n Roll and Blues Saxophone:
Recommended Resources
Compiled by Neil Sharpe
http://www.saxontheweb.net/Rock_n_Roll/RockSax17.html
No kidding!!! :shock: ;) Hey there's even an article by a bloke called Dog Pants. I'd sue the bludger for stealing my name except with a face like that, he's got enough problems. :D

Further to the discussion, I lobbed along to a local big band rehearsal tonight, at the request of a fellow sax player, who was conducting an improv workshop there.

Great people! Really nice bunch. Good readers. A mix of old stagers, the middle aged and young kids. A few "ring-ins" that could solo, but the vast majority didn't know a blues scale from a bar of soap. They all had to solo, no excuses and the results were very good.

The workshop went well and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. There's definitely a need/demand, for more workshops like this.

Fella next to me had a beatiful MK VI alto and one of the old fellas had a stunning mid 20's Buescher C Melody, with the silver plate and gold wash bell. Nice!!!

The Dennis Taylor books are good for getting some licks under your belt and I like the way he deals with different feels and styles.

Still,no one has had a shot at the question.

"Who and what would you have a potential subbie shed, for say the next 6 months, to prepare him/her to play in a rock/funk/blues/soul or "party band" type setting?
 

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"Who and what would you have a potential subbie shed, for say the next 6 months, to prepare him/her to play in a rock/funk/blues/soul or "party band" type setting?"

--- This is where I'd like to be in 12 months, looking forward to some suggestions!
 

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Dog Pants said:
No kidding!!! :shock: ;) Hey there's even an article by a bloke called Dog Pants. I'd sue the bludger for stealing my name except with a face like that, he's got enough problems. :D

Further to the discussion, I lobbed along to a local big band rehearsal tonight, at the request of a fellow sax player, who was conducting an improv workshop there.

Great people! Really nice bunch. Good readers. A mix of old stagers, the middle aged and young kids. A few "ring-ins" that could solo, but the vast majority didn't know a blues scale from a bar of soap. They all had to solo, no excuses and the results were very good.

The workshop went well and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. There's definitely a need/demand, for more workshops like this.

Fella next to me had a beatiful MK VI alto and one of the old fellas had a stunning mid 20's Buescher C Melody, with the silver plate and gold wash bell. Nice!!!

The Dennis Taylor books are good for getting some licks under your belt and I like the way he deals with different feels and styles.

Still,no one has had a shot at the question.

"Who and what would you have a potential subbie shed, for say the next 6 months, to prepare him/her to play in a rock/funk/blues/soul or "party band" type setting?
DP,
I love the question you pose here and am reading this thread with great interest. I easily fit the description of the players described in this post---my entire experience on sax until recently has been concert band; I'm a very good sight reader and thoroughly enjoy playing concert band, but have recently been playing alto with a "big band". I have no background in theory and would be completely at sea without my music in front of me. I can easily play most of the transcribed solos in the charts we use, but have no idea where to begin to improv. (there is one guy in the band who thinks he can improv but he sounds dreadful, and my great fear is that I would sound even worse) or how to "play along" in one of the settings you mention.
So, please, keep those suggestions coming. I would love to be in DP's class!
Ruth
 

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Dog Pants said:
"Who and what would you have a potential subbie shed, for say the next 6 months, to prepare him/her to play in a rock/funk/blues/soul or "party band" type setting?
Hey, I'll have a go, but for all our sakes, DP, I'm hoping someone more knowledgeable will happen along ;) . Interesting thread.

I say:

1. Major and minor penatonics in *all* keys (in case the "party band" wants to play a lot in concert E/A/D/G). But maybe start in easy sax keys to get the feel of the scales. Plus learn about blues structure and be able to outline chords and play shifting riffs on chords in a blues.

2. Listen to a lot of players in the style you're aiming for and steal some licks to use and work on them in different keys. Keep this aspect as simple as possible.

3. There's a book by John Laughter ("Rock and Roll Saxophone" and one by Dennis Taylor "Blues Saxophone", that contain some good material and there are the other books mentioned in the link at the top of the page...

And then there's tuning, articulation and rhythm...

(You know, if I ever managed to follow my own advice i think i might start getting somewhere...;) )
 

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Hey dog Pants, great ideas you have!

If you only had 6 months, it would first depend on what level the player was at. It sounds like you a talking about relative beginners. Maybe they have a few major scales under their fingers and can play all the notes in the normal range. Ok, I have to say I'd give them the formula for the blues scale (the "minor" one that fits over an entire blues progression) and have them shed it in all keys. I know, I know, it's overdone, it can get boring, everyone uses it (well, that may actually say something), HOWEVER, the blues scale is a huge component of the blues/rock & roll sound and most importantly, it will get a relative beginner soloing and sounding at least passable in fairly short order.

The other thing I would get them working on is the dominant chord, mixolydian and related scales. But for most, six months would only be enough to get a start on this aspect of it.
 

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post deleted. jeez, I must've misunderstood the original question altogether. I though you were looking for one style to start the kids off with. My bad.
 

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Hey, DP, how about "Heartbreak Hotel"? Easy melody, simple form, recognizable, and the kids can play it for their parents (grandparents?). Opportunity for solos, and the kids can do some fun horn lines behind it.

Heck, if Clinton can do it...

Pete
 

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As a beginner, I truly wish I would have been introduced to more saxophone effects and improvisation. When a player reaches a certain level, where he/she starts to really like their sound, it gets really difficult to teach something new, like vibrato, for instance. When they first start learning vibrato, it sounds horrible, and a skilled player hates it! So, start them on different effects early when they don't sound very good anyways. I'm not just talking about vibrato (just an example, I start all students on vibrato early), but all sorts of rock 'n roll effects, as well as improvisation. I think you'll find they'll get the hang of things much easier, and those effects will come more natural to them. You can (and should), of course, combine these with actual solos and pieces.
 

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Thanks Guys. So far, a few swings and near misses, but we'll get there.

Just to clarify, here's the question again:

"Who and what would you have a potential subbie shed, for say the next 6 months, to prepare him/her to play in a rock/funk/blues/soul or "party band" type setting?"

So let's assume we're not just talking about kiddies, but also your average adult player, garden variety late bloomer, etc. Someone who's listened to the various styles I mentioned. Someone who knows his/her major scales and pentatonics/blues scales (some better than others).

JL is on the right track I think. Remember we're trying to come up with a plan to prepare someone for a real band situation, not just find an easy rock tune for beginners.

Along with having the Major, Dom 7th, Pentatonics etc down in all keys, what about things such as form.

Just as there are "contrafacts" or common formulas and turnarounds in jazz, so too do Rock, Soul, Funk, Blues, Doo Wop etc, have common progressions.

Perhaps there's fewer of them and they're less complicated than jazz progressions, but you gotta know them and often recognise them by ear "on the fly."

Certain of these progression will sound better and more idiomatically correct using certain approaches when playing background or soloing.

Try soloing over "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay," using the blues scale. Train wreck city, here we come.

This is just one of the things I'mm talking about and I'm sure we can come up with others. In the meantime, I have a list somewhere of a dozen or so of the most frquently encountered chord progressions in Rock n Roll, and ideas for soloing over them. It's in one of the million folders in the spare room. So now, I gotta clean up the spare room to find the sucker. I knew this idea was gonna hurt. :D
 

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Dog Pants, yes the form would be a really important thing to stress. Even if you can play a blues scale over a 12 bar blues, it won't sound like much without an understanding of the form. Which leads to phrasing. That would be an important, but actually pretty difficult, concept to get across. Some forms include the 12-bar blues, of course, as well as one or two chord (usually I-IV) vamps, 8 bar blues, and yeah, turnarounds are used too.

Quite right, the blues scale won't work for tunes like "Dock of the Bay." Maybe work on some major pentatonics also.

One piece of advice I would give to anyone trying to play in this (or any) genre is to learn the commonly-played TUNES, so you can play them with some authority. Listen and learn the "hooks" in each tune, as well as the form. It will take more than 6 months to master a good number of tunes, but certainly a start can be made.

I don't know if I'm one to give advice on this, though. I learned it all in a very helter-skelter fashion, which might explain why it's taken me so long. And I guess I'm just like those grammar school kids: some of my favorite music to play is the "simple" blues/jump/swing tunes!
 
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