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I switched sax instructors and have gotten the same advice from each of them, learn the piano. I barely have time for the sax. Actually, I don't have anywhere near the time I would like to put into it. So I know spending time with the piano is just going to hurt me in the short run as it would take time away from the sax.

However, if piano knowledge would help me in the long run, which feels short and shorter all the time, then I might consider it.

Have any of you discovered that working out some knowledge on the piano allowed you to better learn something on the sax afterward?
 

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Playing piano helps everthing... Hearing, writing, playing, arranging, improvising... of course it does!
 

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YES! Do it! Learn how to voice on piano every tune you'd ever want to play on the sax. It will open your ears to an entirely different world. Get Mark Levine's Jazz Piano Book and work through it. I promise it will make you a better musician/sax player.

One more thing -- just because you aren't putting air through the saxophone doesn't mean you can't be practicing. You can be singing to yourself and thinking and counting and still be getting useful practice out of it. Any time spent at the piano is NOT going to make your sax playing any worse. The instruments themselves are just tools, the musician resides between the ears.
 

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As hgiles said... sing your lines of thought over what you play on keys... compose/write!
 

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The time you spend on piano, especially if you are learning chord voicings and guide tone function, will absolutely enhance your saxophone playing. This is especially true if you are studying jazz improvisation. The main thing is that you realize the concepts you are learning on piano apply directly to the improvisation concepts you are learning on sax. That way, you are practicing music, not just an instrument.

As suggested in an Hgiles post, the Mark Levine book is great. It can be difficult to understand, however, if you don't already have a reasonable understanding of music theory. Since your teacher is suggesting that you learn piano, perhaps he (or she) can help you develop a practice strategy that is geared toward complimenting your saxophone studies.

Randy
www.randyhunterjazz.com
Online Jazz Lessons and Books
New Lesson:
Making Sense of Jazz Improvisation
Lesson Series:
Introduction to the Blues
The Arpeggio Circle
Through the Keys
and more...
Lessons page: www.beginningsax.com/Jazz Improv Lessons.htm
Rhythm Changes Demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrT0Xw_y9d0
Rhythm Changes Lesson:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMOW7QAfpwo
 

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I switched sax instructors and have gotten the same advice from each of them, learn the piano.
That's just a gentle way of telling you that your tone sucks. At least they didn't recommend the accordian or banjo. :twisted:

OTOH, the piano may help you in many ways - but those will not include breathing, support, or embouchure.

It's up to you to determine how best to integrate another instrument into your life.

G'luck.
 

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"That's just a gentle way of telling you that your tone sucks. At least they didn't recommend the accordian or banjo."
ROTFLMAO - now, that's funny! Absolute one-of-a kind inspiration.

Time management can be tough. I re-kindled my jazz roots last year by picking up the sax after a 30 year hiatus. This seriously cut into my acoustic & electric guitar playing time which I have been doing since I gave up the alto sax for rock & blues guitar. I worked it out by sometimes alternating between sax/guitar every other day, or practicing more than once a day to get time on both. Now, I am also hitting the keyboards to re-learn longtime idled and forgotten theory. Plus, I am adding soprano sax to my practice time. The only, and obvious answer to managing all these activities is ------- more TIME!

But, it is time well invested and shall reap great rewards, more than I can possibly imagine. Even if it means sleeping less and paying someone else to cut my grass.
 

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Pre-supposing that you dont live in the middle of nowhere and are somewhat sympathetic to your neighbours, (or in my case have kids in bed asleep that I intend to keep that way) One advantage of learning piano too is that if you go the digital/keyboard route you can practice at more antisocial times than you can Sax, as long as you keep headphones on, thus making more available time for music.

Piano certainly helps me get my head around some of the theory stuff much more easily.
 

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it helps a lot.... but if you don't have much time, use that time just with the horn...
 

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Doing what is fun AND interesting at the same time will improve everything about your life including your music, I guess. So my advice would be, check out the piano maybe with a friend who plays himself and if you like it go for it. Otherwise stay with "just" the sax.
 

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Pre-supposing that you dont live in the middle of nowhere and are somewhat sympathetic to your neighbours, (or in my case have kids in bed asleep that I intend to keep that way) One advantage of learning piano too is that if you go the digital/keyboard route you can practice at more antisocial times than you can Sax, as long as you keep headphones on, thus making more available time for music.

Piano certainly helps me get my head around some of the theory stuff much more easily.
+1. When it's too late to practice, compose. Cubase Essentials 5 is about $100 and an excellent place to start.
 

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Any instrument learned helps with any other instrument. Playing is 70+% ear...the rest is just wiggling your fingers or manipulating your body to produce tone....
 
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