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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

so, I started playing sax almost one year ago and at first I was very motivated. Now I feel im losing the will to play and I practice only every second day for a half an hour. I feel that the way of practicing and the songs that instructor is giving me to play which im not familiar with, do not encourage me. I think for now I just want to be playing some famous tunes and covers, as nooby as it sounds.

We are using a book called SCHOTT JAZZMETHODE SAX.

Do you think I should try to stick with the system or should I play what I enjoy playing.?

Can you maybe suggest me some good book for beginners that contains more familiar songs?

Thanks,

Rok
 

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Yeah, I hear you. I just wanted to learn to cliff dive - swimming is so boring...
 

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Why not do both (stick with the method and play some well-known easy tunes)? I don't know the Schott book, but it appears to offer good value for money from what I can glean from the web. But it's geared towards jazz (the title really says it all), and the concept in itself is quite ambitious... I can imagine that it's not all fun (but then, practise never is - that's part of the plan, really).

I personally think that the Saxmania! books (Google them) are a good source for simple yet worthwhile sheet music; if you like pop, rock or jazz (or standards - a mix of everything) is for you to decide. The books are inexpensive and also offer simple chords for accompaniment; no play alongs, though. I've even used them as a base for some minimalistic gigs (birthday dinner background...) with a bassist/drummer - worked pretty well.

But if you want to develop yourself as a player, you shouldn't avoid the hard work... The more you do, the better (as long as you don't do it wrong).

M.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks,

I will take a look at those Saxmania! books. We focus on the jazz songs but for fun I also play some famous songs. For those songs there is enough motivation. I remember when I learned La bamba and Marina (Rocco Granata) i was playing just one song for one hour and try to improve it everytime. So I'm thinking maybe I should try to focus on that for now.
 

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Discussion Starter #6

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you know, one thing you need to learn is that you will not have forever a teacher to help you with the motivation issue... musician are athletes but do not have a professional coach always working out with you. It's a good thing you start to find your answers by yourself. This may be by changing what you are working out or changing your ideas or both... start diggin' that and good luck.

But do not forget.. boring stuff is what makes you build musician muscles to support your musicality :bluewink:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
hehe thanks,

i sure do play boring stuff, scales, chords and from time to time also long tones... But there is a lack of fun stuff. Now I made my mind and ordered Saxomania! Great solos, just to spice up my learning process. I hope it will help.
 

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But do not forget.. boring stuff is what makes you build musician muscles to support your musicality :bluewink:
yes, ditto. i was losing motivation, i have been drilling excercises... and more excercises with more scales. my teacher gave me tunes i didn't like but to serve some learning purpose. gosh, i wanted to shoot myself, it was like being crazy glued to the toilet.
this week i spent a practice session playing tunes i enjoy, and just let loose. i pulled out old tunes my teacher made me play a year ago and it showed me how far i've gone since drilling on those scales and excercises. i think it's important to balance the joy, with the pragmatic parts. i mean, why else make music when a computer can do it technically better for us?
 

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Set a goal for yourself...maybe playing over a blues or standard at a local jam session, or getting together with friends to play some tunes. If I know I have a public performance coming up, that definitely gets the motivation back to 110%.
 

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I think there is much good advice here. It is important to build some pleasure into your practice routine and playing music you actually enjoy is a pretty good way to do that.

Listening to music is a great motivator, as well as an important part of a music education. I vividly remember walking into a grade 10 music class while the teacher was playing 'Cool Blues' by Charlie Parker. I was stunned and knew instantly that I wanted to be able to do THAT. I get a similar kind of motivation from listening to Seamus Blake and Chris Potter today.

But how to stay motivated and focused on the 'boring' stuff? That's the real trick and, as previous posters have pointed out, is the only way to become a real musician. Everyone is different and will find their inspiration in different ways. For me I think I just happened to luck into a different mental approach to that material. Because of the demands my teacher made on me I very quickly saw a connection between the time spent on the basics and improvements in my skill. So I learned to 'enjoy' scales and technical exercises because I could see the results in my abilities.

Hope this helps.

Andy
 

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Back in the 70's I used to study with a guy in Chicago named Joe Daly. The guy was crazy, scared me, but he attracted a lot of great players. One thing he had me do each week was take a standard, any standard, and memorize the melody in all 12 keys, and know the changes for all 12 keys. He would call out a key like C# and we were expected to play the song perfect, improvise on it perfectly, plus all the other things he gave us. I made the mistake of writing the exercise out on staff paper, and he just ripped it up and threw it on the floor. Like I said, this guy was intense, but he pushed you to your limit. Buy a fake book or Real Book or whatever and pick out songs you like, and learn a new one in all 12 keys each week. Be able to play them from memory and you will learn very quickly.
Wisco
 

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Alto guy has it right - listen.

You need inspiration, and if it doesn't come from your teacher, it needs to come from Brecker, or Coltrane, or Dexter, or Phil Collins or Michael Jackson or Elton John or Olivia Newton John, or even Andrew Lloyd Webber, or anyone. It doesn't matter what tune you have in your head, you just have to get it out on the horn. And really want to...and really love doing it.

I learned to play with the "Music of 'Cats'" playalong tape. I got bored of Andy's tunes and started making it up myself, until I wore out the tape. There was nobody saying the words "Solo" or "improvise", and no mention of scales or keys, or anything dull like that. I had complete freedom to do what I wanted, and I did. I learned what sounded good to me, and I did it again and again; I also learned what crunched, and how to avoid it. I was inspired in a way that no teacher could ever match. But that inspiration later led me to the somewhat ironic realization that maybe I SHOULD listen to my teachers...because now I could see that all that boring repetitive sh*t actually had a purpose.

I guess the lesson is that boring Sh*t is just boring, unless you've found the spark which gives it purpose. And that leads back to Alto Guy's point - which is LISTEN.

Best of luck man, and I hope you persevere. There's a lot more joy in the saxophone after two years than after one, and the joy doubles every year after that :)
 

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Lots of great advice here. One thing to keep in mind at this point: You've only been playing for a year! That means you aren't yet out of the starting gate, so some of what you read here will be a bit premature (like learning 'Body & Soul' in 12 keys, etc!!!). The real key for inspiration, as others have pointed out, is to listen to great sax players and any music that you like. That's what will keep you going. The main difference between a good musician and all those who pick up an instrument only to give up after a few short years, is the ability to stick with it through thick and thin. You can only do that if you really, really want (& need) it.

Only a year in, I'd concentrate on the fundamentals. It doesn't have to be boring. Mix it up with scales, licks, chord arpeggios, long tones, easy tunes, and MOST OF ALL spend time working on your tone quality. Try to get the best tone you can and really listen to what you're doing. That is a lifetime endeavor, but you have to start sometime and it might as well be from the beginning. Keep at it and down the line you'll be glad you did.

p.s. I guess I'll add something I'd tell any beginner. Learn all 12 major scales cold, inside and out, up and down, in thirds, patterns, etc. Learn them well. It will take time so be patient.
 

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Every student needs a different kind of motivation. You should talk to your teacher and tell him your concerns. I've approached students before saying, "Learn this for me, and I will help you learn 'Yakety Sax' (or whatever it is they want to learn)." It's truly a win-win proposition.
 

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from listening to parker and coltrane solos, they play alot of "boring" scales and chords in their solos, but made them their own. i can hear klose's excercises influence coltrane's solos. realizing this also helped my motivation to study the boring stuff, and to make it a goal to make them sound interesting like these guys did. they can improv on something as simple as going up and down the c scale and blow us away. i think most of it is in the articulation but i don't know everything either.
if you can get your hands on coltrane's "fearless leader" 6 cd set you'll hear his musical evolution.
 

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Back in the 70's I used to study with a guy in Chicago named Joe Daly. The guy was crazy, scared me, but he attracted a lot of great players.
And I'm sure he drove off a lot of great players. And convinced a lot of potentially great players to throw in the towel.

This used to be understood as true dedication to music. The idea was that talent that won't take a lot of crap is talent that can be lightly neglected and tossed aside.

One thing he had me do each week was take a standard, any standard, and memorize the melody in all 12 keys, and know the changes for all 12 keys. He would call out a key like C# and we were expected to play the song perfect, improvise on it perfectly, plus all the other things he gave us. I made the mistake of writing the exercise out on staff paper, and he just ripped it up and threw it on the floor. Like I said, this guy was intense, but he pushed you to your limit.
 
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