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I got 12 keys drones off the net, I find playing against them really helps my tone as it gives me a focus point to be in tune against.

Are there pros and cons to using them?

Another guy elsewhere said to use backing tracks, but I'm not fast enough yet to keep up with those much of the time & I like to noodle and improvise a lot with the drones. (as in playing the pentatonic scales.)
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I got 12 keys drones off the net, I find playing against them really helps my tone as it gives me a focus point to be in tune against.

Are there pros and cons to using them?

Another guy elsewhere said to use backing tracks, but I'm not fast enough yet to keep up with those much of the time & I like to noodle and improvise a lot with the drones. (as in playing the pentatonic scales.)
I can't think of any cons, unless you get so bored that you aren't concentrating. To avoid boredom with your long notes you can try varying them, e.g different intervals, with/without vibrato, different rates of vibrato, "turning on and off" the vibrato, dynamics, pitc bending. All kinds of stuff.

Playing with backing tracks is good, but is not to same thing and does not train the same aspects of playing so nothing wrong with continuing the drones and use simple backing tracks.
 

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Although musically beneficial, I find long tones difficult to stick with and laborious. But as a therapist, I think it's a good discipline in terms of mental health- working on the skill of mindfulness and being in the moment. So when I do them I try to think of them as killing two birds with one stone- a mindfulness exercise, which has been proven to help with mood and relaxation, etc., and a valuable exercise to help my playing. So that's an extra "pro"!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I can't think of any cons, unless you get so bored that you aren't concentrating. To avoid boredom with your long notes you can try varying them, e.g different intervals, with/without vibrato, different rates of vibrato, "turning on and off" the vibrato, dynamics, pitc bending. All kinds of stuff.

Playing with backing tracks is good, but is not to same thing and does not train the same aspects of playing so nothing wrong with continuing the drones and use simple backing tracks.
cool, tbh I didn't even know I could do vibrato on sax..?

Although musically beneficial, I find long tones difficult to stick with and laborious. But as a therapist, I think it's a good discipline in terms of mental health- working on the skill of mindfulness and being in the moment. So when I do them I try to think of them as killing two birds with one stone- a mindfulness exercise, which has been proven to help with mood and relaxation, etc., and a valuable exercise to help my playing. So that's an extra "pro"!
On their own longtones are quite boring but to have something to practise them against really helps.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Thanks, starry! Cool & useful. Just yesterday a fellow reedman & I were admiring the fluid melodic lines of Armenian duduk players who riff over a drone.
 

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Thanks, starry! Cool & useful. Just yesterday a fellow reedman & I were admiring the fluid melodic lines of Armenian duduk players who riff over a drone.

:)

I could play for hours with them if the neighbours didn't mind. lol
 

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So cool to play way out against drones.
Trains the ear to hear a key center while playing in another.
Charles Ives
 
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