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Discussion Starter #1
any ideas on how to get better at moving a bit more energetically on stage/on camera, while playing?

younger pros have the energy, at middle age its tougher. I'd started a thread a year or two ago on the topic; cant find it though.

at least lifting the bell a bit during crescendos is a start, or swaying a bit to the music.

because just standing there near motionless playing like in school jazz band doesnt look great.


maybe post some energetic youtube videos for inspiration? thx.. :)

this is about as energetic as i get (and yes i know im out of tune sigh)

 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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My advice would be to not go over the top, especially (due to the question) as you are probably inexperienced in the subtle art of stage movement.

Sop I would work into it gradually, as you say swaying and lifting the bell is a good start. If you are in doubt then don't be afraid to take some rudimentary dance or acting lessons. For some a convincing stage movement comes naturally, for others it's necessary to learn some techniques.

It is difficult, but try to be self critical, look at yourself in a mirror, or (possibly better) get friends and family to critique. People you can trust to be honest and positive.
 

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Picked up a sax in 2002 and here I am.
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Almost better to play more or less stationary than moving awkwardly or contrived. Not saying you are, but my wife and I saw a famous player I’ve really like going back to the 70s (shall remain nameless) and his stage gyrations and attire were “really” distracting and took away from the music. Left me looking around with a wth look on my face. When I looked at my wife I saw the 😬 emoji! I’d say try to be natural and nothing over the top.
 

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For me, I try to avoid thinking about things like how I look and put all my focus on playing. I'm not particularly concerned with whether folks think I look cool. Especially in the 4 horn R&B groups I play with, some of the horn players try to do steps and gesticulate and so on, I tend to think it's just silly. But I'll grapevine with them, as long as we're not playing.
 

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Almost better to play more or less stationary than moving awkwardly or contrived.
Strike “almost”.

If you are faking it, everyone will know - even the people that say “Hey, that sounded great” when you know you are out of tune.
 

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I found that a few Tae Kwon Do lessons really improved my stage moves. It really gets you aware of stance, centeredness, etc. Body language is every bit as much a communication as is talking, or playing the sax. First, avoid bad habits like scratching, physical tics, nose-picking, or facial tics or grimaces. Avoid turning your back on the audience for the most part.

Check in with yourself, emotionally. What are you attempting to say with your playing? Is it joy? Anger? Inspiration? Sheer excitement? or ???? Whatever it is, allow yourself to connect with and own that feeling. Then explore how you would communicate that feeling to someone if you were unable to talk, and could only use physical gestures and stance to do it. If your movement is congruent with the emotional tone of whatever music you are playing, it will seem and BE highly authentic, and people will LOVE watching you play. After some time, you will have noticed what "moves" seem to really move the audience, and which ones don't really come across.

Hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
great points; thanks! i try and ,push off' / move a bit from my right foot in tempo a bit; adds some motion... also a bit of head moving left/right like a jazz cat while playing a smooth riff, so it looks natural
 

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Just play. Focus on the music. Do not think about how you look. How you look doesn't matter to people who know how to listen. Thinking about how you look will distract you. The music wants you to play, just play, & that is all you need to do.
 

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Any time spent on contriving to look better with your saxophone is time that could be better spent on learning to play your saxophone.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Just play. Focus on the music. Do not think about how you look. How you look doesn't matter to people who know how to listen. Thinking about how you look will distract you. The music wants you to play, just play, & that is all you need to do.
Fine advice if all you need to do is play and not do any kind of visual performance, e.g. if you are only every going to be an orchestra or studio musician. Even then I would argue that it can be useful to look good and put some visual life when playing in the studio, I have been offered tours on the back of a studio sessions, people are watching you and may be thinking of offering you Moree work for which putting across a visual performance is useful.

Also it's all down to the genre of music also. Sometimes just standing up (or sitting down) and playing the right notes is just a part of the story.

However my understanding is that this thread is about the visual aspect of making a video and putting some life into the performance. If you don't care about how you look while performing, then surely there's no point in actually making a video and appearing in it.

Learning to present myself in an engaging and appropriate manner on stage and TV has been useful for me, I would certainly not have had the career I have enjoyed.

Any time spent on contriving to look better with your saxophone is time that could be better spent on learning to play your saxophone.
And the other side of that coin is time spent just playing is taking time that could be spent working on your stage presence. It can cut both ways IMO, it's down to what you want out of your musical career. Certainly, when I taught performance and coached undergraduate ensembles, the visual aspect could be hugely important to the students' success both in their performance exams and their professional work.

It's all down to context.
 

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If you’re worrying about moving, you won’t be playing with focus.
The worst I’ve seen are some of the jazz guys. The ”flapping chicken wing” guy and the Mark Turner “squatting like you’re taking a dump’ move.
The classical guys have their issues too.
There’s also this embarrassing stuff;
https://youtu.be/C0fj6Bwrp6M
 

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Any time spent on contriving to look better with your saxophone is time that could be better spent on learning to play your saxophone.
And the other side of that coin is time spent just playing is taking time that could be spent working on your stage presence. IMO, it's down to what you want out of your musical career. . . It's all down to context.
Indeed.

I was speaking in the context of the OP, who, if I understand correctly, does not have a career in music.

If one puts one's cart before one's horse, one will not travel very far.
 
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