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Discussion Starter #1
Been going to a jam and playing with my duo partner weekly now after not playing out or really be able to practice for a year.

Last night we were playing a standard with three other horns piano bass drums and guitar.....good grief.....

It came time for me to solo and it really was a duet with me and Willem on bass. I'm just not able to play many lines stacked on top of the rhythm section anymore. Its more like weaving in and out of everything that's happening. Sometimes I'm even comping like I saw Sonny do last year

I find that I can't personalize every note like I want to when I'm running changes. If I have anything orginal to say I think its going to be on a note by note basis.

Hmm.......
 

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Practice a lot at home, use backing tracks or an auto-accompaniment program like Band-in-a-Box.

Listen intently to a lot of solos, guitar, vocals and other instruments from a wide range of music genres.

Practice all your scales.

Do all of this daily.

If I remember my first improvised solos correctly, they were terrible. But given time they got better and better.

If playing music was instant gratification, anybody could do it, and if everybody could do it, people wouldn't pay me to play music and then I'd have to get a real job ;)

Insights and incites by Notes :)
 

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People don't take a year off from physical activity and then walk straight on the playing field to play pro ball. Music is like that too. You need to go to training camp first, for which Notes suggestions are excellent. BIAB is good and so are the Aebersold and Hal Leonard playalongs. And if you need it, there is cheap software available that will let you both slow down and change the key of the playalong tracks (e.g. Transcribe, but there are others.)

Be cool and take your time. Good luck.
 

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Ummm . . . I don't think the OP was asking for advice on this. Dude, from what you've described above, it probably works out great. Sounds like what I would call really listening instead of treating your compadres like a friggin' Aebersold. In other words, music!
 

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VonBraig, for some reason I thought you were quite an accomplished player. Do I have you confused with someone else? Are you asking a question here? Are you lamenting your loss of chops? Lamenting the deficiencies of your bandmates? Both? THroth? :)

Whatever it is -- it's never as bad as you think, or as bad as it could be.
 

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Transcribing, intentional listening and knowing ALL my scales and lots o' practice does it for me. However, I thought you knew that already?
 

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yeah, like lamplighter says, i've taken long breaks from sports/activities and find that getting back into it isn't an instant pick-up-where-you-left-off kinda thing. but i HAVE noticed something that is quite satisfying - as i continue into it, my skill and conditioning comes back and i improve in ways i didn't even think of before.
... sometimes, though, i notice that the drive/zeal to accomplish is not there anymore. my interest/focus is in another direction. in such cases, i just relax and enjoy what i AM doing, and have come to accept that keeping me "interested" tends to involve new things. all part of (my) life experience.
 

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relax .. go back to square one .... take it really easy and just try playing with one thing at a time ... say finding one note or maybe two and just play with the timing for 8 bars ... don't think about it just let it happen. You have the music in you and it's just your head getting in the way.

I'm sure you know the time for thinking is practicing .... You also know playing is all about listening and adding something to the mix that doesn't take you out of listening mode. Just let your head get out of the way and let your inner self play.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yea I've played long time and have done a few things well and some not. I have hardly touched the horn in the OCD way I have the last couple years, got up at 4 am to shed for my grad recital for four months, got really sick too. I'm the guy.

I am in a very fast change in the way I approach music in every way. At 44 and with two little kids and a will things have change and I have aquired some wisdom, the hard way.

I truly feel like I can find some things that are my own but I have had to let go of things that "work" to explore them.

Thanks for letting me share. This is a weird time for me and my family but very exciting.
 

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there was a time where i was on a musical hiatus for quite some time. felt like a year or so because when i got back to the sax, my chops were just not all there. i felt like i couldnt play the sax. when i did pick up the horn again, i decided, as others have suggested, to really take it back to the basics because it was frustrating as hell to not be able to play the way i used to. im still in the process of re-discovering my voice, but ive noticed that things have changed as well. maybe its the new horns im playing, or maybe its my finger muscles, but i feel that my playing has changed and i have a different "feel" in my playing. im deciding to go with the flow and see where the "new feel" takes me because honestly, im diggin it more than before. (i dont mean to sound conceited). :)
 

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Ummm . . . I don't think the OP was asking for advice on this. Dude, from what you've described above, it probably works out great. Sounds like what I would call really listening instead of treating your compadres like a friggin' Aebersold. In other words, music!
Best comment of the week!!!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
OK DT I'm officially asking.
 

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You have a master's degree in jazz sax ? you already have all the information you'll ever need and already digested that info too at some point.
It just takes time getting back in shape. be patient and do what's necesary. You could also see this as a new starting point, not only getting back in shape but with new insights that comes from where you are right now. DO that exploring and letting go, I think the previous poster made a very valid point of really listening to your compadres and reacting to that using your ears instead of well oiled chops. After some time you will be a better player then you were before your break. And you'll have more of a story to tell too since you "aquired wisdom the hard way"
It'll work out.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks guys! Yea my bass duo partner, who never talks about music, rolls his when I say this stuff. I pretty sure he just want me to shut the F up and just play.
 
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