Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I see so many exercises where the author says "practice this in all 12 keys". Sometimes they'll actually print it out in all 12 keys, but more often than not its just in one key and they expect you to transpose it yourself.

My question is, even if it is already transposed for me, how much time am I supposed to devote to each key? Am I supposed to play it once in each key and then move on to another exercise? Or am I supposed to memorize and MASTER it in each key which could take hours, days, weeks or months!

Am I supposed to devote one full practice session to each key? Or one full week? Or am I supposed to just keep moving through all 12 keys around and around regardless of mistakes until they are all 12 memorized and mastered?

----------------

And here's another related question. Are any keys really inherently easier or harder than any other on the sax? Or is it just that some are more familiar than others?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
Joined
·
4,567 Posts
altobeginner said:
I see so many exercises where the author says "practice this in all 12 keys". Sometimes they'll actually print it out in all 12 keys, but more often than not its just in one key and they expect you to transpose it yourself.

My question is, even if it is already transposed for me, how much time am I supposed to devote to each key? Am I supposed to play it once in each key and then move on to another exercise? Or am I supposed to memorize and MASTER it in each key which could take hours, days, weeks or months!

Am I supposed to devote one full practice session to each key? Or one full week? Or am I supposed to just keep moving through all 12 keys around and around regardless of mistakes until they are all 12 memorized and mastered?

----------------

And here's another related question. Are any keys really inherently easier or harder than any other on the sax? Or is it just that some are more familiar than others?

Get a teacher to help you with this!!!! It seems overwhelming and it is. but don't try to take on too much. Go at your own pace and try to keep it fun. But really get a teacher ...Tomorrow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,079 Posts
Play each exercise in each key until "YOU" are happy with the results and can play them repeatedly with few mistakes. then move on. And that will take?

I always go back to exercices after a while and repeat the whole thing again somtimes months later just to be sure i have learnt somthing.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Columnist/Official SOTW Guru
Joined
·
3,764 Posts
The flip answer to your question, is "however long it takes."

If you are familiar with all of your major scales,that might be a few minutes, with maybe a few minutes more on the keys that present unique fingering difficulties.

Mastery ain't gonna happen in one practice session, so drill the lick in each key a few times until it doesn't present any huge fingering difficulties.Then run the lick through the keys each session for the next couple of months. I grab things quicker and retain them longer when I do this using a combination of knowing my scale degrees and using my ears.Rather than just reading the lick in 12 or 14 or 15 keys (depending upon how enharmonically pedantic you want to be. :) )

Your question goes to a deeper issue. Learning to play and improvise, is very much intertwined with learning how to practice and organising your time to achieve the results you're after.

If you are a beginner, learn your major scales in 12 keys. Start with C major and add one # (G major) and one b (F major) scale each week. As C major gets more familiar, spend less time on it and more time on the newer scales. Once all the major scales and their chords are familiar, repeat the process with your Minor scales and chords, again spending more time on the new material and warming up with the majors just to keep themin your head and under your fingers. Then Dominant 7th scales, Blues scales, Diminished, Karma Sutric, and ad infinitum. :D

The starting out is the most difficult thing. With daily practice,you'll have your scales memorised in a couple of months. Learning to play something with them.....that's the endevour of a lifetime.

check out Tim Price's website for a good series of articles on fundamental stuff to shed.

enjoy.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
12,798 Posts
I agree with whats been posted above. It's hard and tedious at first but it gets easier the more you do it. As far as how long to spend on each key that is up to you. If you want to be a great player then you have to master whatever you are working on in every key. You don't want glaring weaknesses in your playing that are obvious. You could sit in with a band and wail on a Bb Blues but the the next tune is in B Major you still want to be able to hold your own. I spent months practicing approach notes in every key and I didn't move from a key I was working on until I was plying 16th notes at 200 on it. Sometimes I spent a whole week on one key that was tough for hours every day! It ain't easy but it's worth it!:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
647 Posts
I also had this question when I was starting on sax.
On memorizing the major scales, this is what helped me:
1) Arrange all the scales according to the number of sharps (C-no #, G- one #, D- two #s, A- three #s, and so on). Write them down. You'll find it comes out like this C,G,D,A, E, B,F#, C#)
2- Make an acronym for C,G,D,A, E, B,F#, C#. Think of something you'll find easy to remember. (I used Christ Get Done All Eternal Blessings For Children)
3-The location of sharps for each scale also follows a similar pattern but not exactly the same (you can also figure it using your acronym).
4- Practice the scales using this arrangement. It's a bit like arithmetic, just add one sharp for each succeeding scale. By remembering your acronym, you'll know exactly how many sharps go into each scale and which note they are located.
5-You can do the same for the scales with flats.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
5,160 Posts
Keys are either familiar or UN-Familiar.

I learned to play with guitar players as a kid. No real formal improvisation but ripping licks in Concert E. I then go to my first improvisation class in college and the professor is playing a Bb Blues - "This will be an easy key." He says to the group. It was for everyone but ME.

I didn't start with Bb but with E, A, and D. Of course, I learn Bb blues:D

It's long, slow, and endless work. I've been using Steve's ii-V exercises and pulling 1 and 2 measure phrases out of the omni-book as well as some small bits of transcriptions. THIS WORK HAS TO BE DONE. I only wish I had started the process when I was 13 or 14 years old.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
196 Posts
A Greene, i couldn't agree more. i wish i would've started what i'm doing now at 25 when i was first starting the saxophone. I came through a classical only curriculum in grade school, and thought that since i didn't know anything about jazz that i couldn't take an audition to be a jazz major in college, so i went to a classical school. Now that i'm in grad school, i finally realized that it didn't matter, i NEED to learn this stuff...
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,021 Posts
altobeginner said:
I see so many exercises where the author says "practice this in all 12 keys". Sometimes they'll actually print it out in all 12 keys, but more often than not its just in one key and they expect you to transpose it yourself.
There's a couple of reasons for this. First, it takes a lot of paper & printing to put exercises in 12 keys rather than 1 key. So the author can get a lot more exercises into a reasonable size book, if he doesn't write them out in every key. MUCH more importantly, you will learn the material far better if you transpose it in your head, using you ear, rather than just reading it off the page. So yes, take Dog Pants advice and learn all 12 Major scales. Get them down cold! Then it won't be so difficult to make the transpositions.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,319 Posts
trinitron said:
I would really like to see what more people's routines are when acquiring vocabulary by playing it in all keys.
Sometimes I'll first practice it by ear in all keys just going up chromatically-ex.- first in C, then in C#, then in D, etc. After I kind of have the lick, let's say a II/V/I lick, I'll get my keyboard and record a II/V/I chord progression in C. Then I'll practice in different keys by using the transposing function of the keyboard so I can practice it in all 12 keys with a background.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top