Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 157 Posts

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
5,210 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Year after year for an entire life we study, practice, and buy lots of expensive gear for "THAT" perfect sound. Then the first gig after Covid is Wallpaper Jazz in the corner - "Not to loud." Honestly, Pentatonic Scales on a Yamaha Beginner set-up would work. This morning, I spend an hour and a half moving a 1 measure minor ii-V pattern around all keys today. Are we ALL CRAZY!!!!!

What are those poor kids getting Jazz Degrees going to do?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,139 Posts
Year after year for an entire life we study, practice, and buy lots of expensive gear for "THAT" perfect sound. Then the first gig after Covid is Wallpaper Jazz in the corner - "Not to loud." Honestly, Pentatonic Scales on a Yamaha Beginner set-up would work. I spend an hour and half moving a 1 measure minor ii-V pattern around all keys today. Are we ALL CRAZY!!!!!

What are those poor kids getting Jazz Degrees going to do?
I can answer that question in one word: "Waiter!"
 

·
Just a guy who plays saxophone.
Joined
·
4,109 Posts
Jazz hasn’t been mainstream popular in the US for over 50 years. Lots of/ most older players and fans haven’t embraced new jazz that doesn’t sound like old jazz since...ever. The successful younger students of music are good at using the language and skills they’ve learned to create music that’s relevant in today’s culture.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
599 Posts
Year after year for an entire life we study, practice, and buy lots of expensive gear for "THAT" perfect sound. Then the first gig after Covid is Wallpaper Jazz in the corner - "Not to loud." Honestly, Pentatonic Scales on a Yamaha Beginner set-up would work. This morning, I spend an hour and a half moving a 1 measure minor ii-V pattern around all keys today. Are we ALL CRAZY!!!!!

What are those poor kids getting Jazz Degrees going to do?
Well, I work in accounting :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,478 Posts
Year after year for an entire life we study, practice, and buy lots of expensive gear for "THAT" perfect sound. Then the first gig after Covid is Wallpaper Jazz in the corner - "Not to loud." Honestly, Pentatonic Scales on a Yamaha Beginner set-up would work. This morning, I spend an hour and a half moving a 1 measure minor ii-V pattern around all keys today. Are we ALL CRAZY!!!!!

What are those poor kids getting Jazz Degrees going to do?
When I was playing in jazz clubs and doing some festivals I mostly got the feeling that we were playing for other local jazz musicians. Kind of insane I think. It's nice that there is support for one another but there really isn't a huge market for jazz. It's kind of a sad but we all have to adapt. I'm glad I don't have to worry about it any more. I think it would be a really tough time to come out of school with a music degree and try to make a go of it.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
307 Posts
Year after year for an entire life we study, practice, and buy lots of expensive gear for "THAT" perfect sound. Then the first gig after Covid is Wallpaper Jazz in the corner - "Not to loud." Honestly, Pentatonic Scales on a Yamaha Beginner set-up would work. This morning, I spend an hour and a half moving a 1 measure minor ii-V pattern around all keys today. Are we ALL CRAZY!!!!!

What are those poor kids getting Jazz Degrees going to do?
A jazz degree always has, and always will be a useless piece of paper. I live in Milwaukee, and jazz has long been dead here. No more touring name acts for over a decade, big bands are a relic of the past, there are only two locals clubs, one is very tiny and closed, and the other is a hobby for an ancient rock drummer to play on Saturday night since he owns the business. The only thing a jazz degree does is keep some college teachers employed that try to justify their jobs. I never heard of a jazz club or name jazz group requiring a degree to play. I love jazz, and have since the mid 60's, but it is just dead.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
·
7,929 Posts
Considering the entire music industry, there are few people making a living at it. Narrowing it down to performing musicians, it becomes a tiny fraction. Narrowing it down to post-modern jazz, it becomes basically nothing. I existed on just playing for a total of about 8 years but I was not playing jazz.
Anyone majoring in jazz in college is basically just lighting cigars with $100 bills.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
When I got my jazz degree, I tried very briefly to make a living playing music. I made it about 6 months to a year. My income was just barely covering rent, and it was never going to allow me to pay off my student loans nor really improve my quality of life. Now, part of that could be I'm not a musician who "has it." At my peak, I think I was good, but I wasn't good, you know? I know this forum has a ton of better saxophonists than I, some of whom are making a living as musicians. But, I bet none would say they're making it solely on playing jazz gigs.
The other part of the equation is the scene you're describing. If you don't adapt to modern tastes, you probably won't make it. I have one friend who made it as a musician, but he wasn't really just playing music. Sure he gigged constantly, but he was also giving a lot of lessons, and doing guest teachings at local schools, and composing music for theater/etc... oh and he was married, so his household was dual income. That's probably the biggest mistake I made at the time. I happily took gigs outside jazz, but I didn't expand into composition and lessons.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
A violinist friend of mine one day told me, "I played an upper crust social event last night and basically I was just a piece of f-ing furniture stuffed into the corner of the room." We both had another beer and carried on playing Irish Trad music. Now, that's a genre that has an acquired taste.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
724 Posts
To be honest, it seems like most any kind of music played by real live people (e.g. not a computer) is pretty dead right now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
416 Posts
IMHO there is a problem or misconception that learning either classical or jazz in school is a good foundation for any type of playing. Those genres are definitely more suited to academic learning/structures, but as most would know, there are precious few jobs for there for anyone playing either of those styles. Thinking that you can just use those skills for pop music, reggae, blues, dance, or even folk music is just not real. Each requires familiarity with that style and it's quirks. The sad truth is that music education is failing to assist their students by ignoring the styles of music that are most popular and likely to require players.

We are what we play. If you've spent 5 years developing perfect reading skills or a "jazz vocabulary" then you are going to be starting at the beginning again. If you're a great reader but can't improvise, you'll find that 90% of pop or other styles won't have charts or any written material other than possibly the lyrics. They collectively work up their pieces with each member expected to add their own part. If you're a jazzer, you may know how to take the lead and play technical variations, but that's not what the music is about. You need to hear a part to play that works with what's happening and in the right context/style .

There will always be work for musicians who are top readers or jazz players. Of the thousands of sax players graduating from University how many will ever be able make a living as a Jazz or Classical player? Widen the field and you widen the opportunities. Just a shame that Schools are ignoring the needs of their students. What we instead see are those graduates becoming teachers and continuing to perpetuate this failed paradigm.

An obvious waste of talent and opportunity and worse is the "it's everybody else's fault" attitude. I cringe every time I hear someone say that everybody should be educated (forced) to listen to, understand, and appreciate jazz. Ask them if they would like to be forced to listen to Indian classical music, which also takes an education, is based on improvisation with far more complex rhythms and thousands of modes (ragas) that are played.

Be part of today in your culture and entertain people. That's the musician's job. The job shouldn't be about trying to justify teaching systems that have failed their students.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
724 Posts
IMHO there is a problem or misconception that learning either classical or jazz in school is a good foundation for any type of playing. Those genres are definitely more suited to academic learning/structures, but as most would know, there are precious few jobs for there for anyone playing either of those styles. Thinking that you can just use those skills for pop music, reggae, blues, dance, or even folk music is just not real. Each requires familiarity with that style and it's quirks. The sad truth is that music education is failing to assist their students by ignoring the styles of music that are most popular and likely to require players.

We are what we play. If you've spent 5 years developing perfect reading skills or a "jazz vocabulary" then you are going to be starting at the beginning again. If you're a great reader but can't improvise, you'll find that 90% of pop or other styles won't have charts or any written material other than possibly the lyrics. They collectively work up their pieces with each member expected to add their own part. If you're a jazzer, you may know how to take the lead and play technical variations, but that's not what the music is about. You need to hear a part to play that works with what's happening and in the right context/style .
There was an interesting article attesting to that in the Rolling Stone not too long ago. It was someone from Julliard that was saying that the school needed to modernize. It spoke about a NY Times article about 10 years ago that found that less only 11 out of 44 graduates from the class of 1994 had jobs in music in 2014. Anyway, the author spoke about almost turning down a pop gig (Bruce Springsteen) because they had no idea who the person was nor did they want to play pop, even though it ended up being a huge gig. Here's the link in case anyone is interested. A lot of what is said could easily be applied to Jazz and Jazz schools as well.

 
  • Like
Reactions: mishmellow

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,242 Posts
Well there's a lot people playing on computers. Besides everyone recording on computers. Whatever gets listened to isn't restricted to particular instruments. There's an access to whatever sounds folks want to use. Can jazz be compelling to a new audience? Miles managed to spur on another decade or so of enthusiasts. Is there another Pops/Duke/Bird/Monk/Mingus out there?
 

·
Vendor
Joined
·
15,754 Posts
I will speak for myself and put it simply.....

I play saxophone because I have to and it makes me immensely happy. . It's part of my everyday life and deep in my heart.

It's not about gigging or practicing. Its just a big piece of who I am.

Its that simple for me.
 

·
Registered
Henri Selmer Paris Mark VII Tenor 316xxx
Joined
·
213 Posts
Year after year for an entire life we study, practice, and buy lots of expensive gear for "THAT" perfect sound. Then the first gig after Covid is Wallpaper Jazz in the corner - "Not to loud." Honestly, Pentatonic Scales on a Yamaha Beginner set-up would work. This morning, I spend an hour and a half moving a 1 measure minor ii-V pattern around all keys today. Are we ALL CRAZY!!!!!

What are those poor kids getting Jazz Degrees going to do?
It seems like learning music software, getting set up with the right gear to record, mix and produce music yourself would be the skillset of today... and that Contemporary (smooth, pop-like, etc.) Jazz and also wind instruments mixed with electronica / techno / BPM and chill music is still enjoying a little more popularity. I was gigging for a little while a few years ago, basement sorts of local jazz clubs and pubs with jam sessions and such... we were totally playing for an audience of other music students, musicians and their buddies. The draw was almost as much the cheap beer as it was the music.
 

·
Registered
Henri Selmer Paris Mark VII Tenor 316xxx
Joined
·
213 Posts
I will speak for myself and put it simply.....

I play saxophone because I have to and it makes me immensely happy. . It's part of my everyday life and deep in my heart.

It's not about gigging or practicing. Its just a big piece of who I am.

Its that simple for me.
I feel the same. I was a bit of a natural in 7th grade band and went on to play jazz band, ensemble, quartet and even touring orchestra, up to college and one year at University. That's a long time ago for me... and I am often playing to my walls at home with no back-up track now. I play it because there's just some connection to the darn thing that's on a soul level. Maybe I'm also a "sucker for punishment" or something because it sure isn't the easiest instrument out there...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
724 Posts
I will speak for myself and put it simply.....
I play saxophone because I have to and it makes me immensely happy. . It's part of my everyday life and deep in my heart.
It's not about gigging or practicing. Its just a big piece of who I am.
Its that simple for me.
I feel the same. I was a bit of a natural in 7th grade band and went on to play jazz band, ensemble, quartet and even touring orchestra, up to college and one year at University. That's a long time ago for me... and I am often playing to my walls at home with no back-up track now. I play it because there's just some connection to the darn thing that's on a soul level. Maybe I'm also a "sucker for punishment" or something because it sure isn't the easiest instrument out there...
My story is a bit similar to @Sonorous1 's. Played through 6th grade through Jr. High, High School. Played Sax for Jazz Ensemble and Clarinet for Orchestra through University. Even played Sax in Jazz Ensemble and Orchestra while I was doing my Masters degree. Toured with a band for a bit, but I never saw playing professionally as my end goal, I just enjoyed playing. I still enjoy playing, even if it is just in my bedroom. I used to hate doing long tones and now sometimes I just find myself grabbing one of my saxes and just playing long tones for an hour or two. There are times I've thought about selling everything and just giving it all up, but like you guys have said it is just too much a piece of me to do that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
439 Posts
I play because the first time I ever got to play on a stage it was the only thing I wanted to do. I play because I can’t not. Even when I was homeless near 20 years ago. I had a horn. I don’t work in the music industry because I don’t always like the culture; especially as it relates to drugs. I would also likely have to move to a city with more gigs (and I may still) since I can’t travel as much (or risk not being married). But... I can stop playing... that’ll always be me. You got to be true to yourself in things like that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
616 Posts
Any "high art" form has a limited audience...often the audience doesn't even take notice until the artist is dead. Vincent van Gogh, Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickenson, J. S. Bach, Herman Melville, Franz Kafka...all passed before any significant public acclaim was bestowed on their works, in most cases, with no acclaim or financial reward whatsoever in their lifetime. Improvised music is unique in that the art is, at its best, performance in real time...no one goes to see a painter paint or a writer write...the jazz musician observes the reception of their efforts at creating art as it's being created. It can be deflating (the ensemble banished to the corner & told to play quietly). The love & reward of creating the music, & positive reception from their peers...this is all the improvisor can hope for or expect...anything more is a bonus. I could play the Love Supreme suite, & no one, even close friends & family, would care other than (some?) fellow jazz musicians or a very few non-musician enthusiasts...the school's aren't to blame...they're teaching how to make art, & students attend to learn the art form...people go to art schools knowing the risks. Kim Kardashian is a billionaire...top athletes now sign contracts for 100s of millions...it's obvious what society rewards, so there's no mystery what a musician is getting into should they choose a career in art.
 
1 - 20 of 157 Posts
Top