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"Grip it and rip it": Arnold Palmer revolutionized golf instruction with his book called (I think) Hit it Hard. Basically what Palmer argued was that the idea of swinging slowly and trying to hit the ball softly was the worst thing a golfer could do: the fact, he said, is that the one thing all good golfers do, regardless of how relatively smooth or slow-looking their swings might be, is hit the ball really really hard. That's why Snead was called Slamming Sammy. Never mind all the teachers, Arnie said, just grip it and rip it, and this will provide the proper basis on which to build your game.

Anyway, I was practicing my scales on the porch yesterday: no book, no metronome, nor real concentration, and I realized that I was doing it all wrong--just sort of wizzing through as fast as I could with no thoughts about phrasing or rhythm. I'm not saying that this is a useful way to practice, but is there a sax playing equivalent to Arnie's "grip it and rip it"? I mean some thing that you can do to improve your playing that sort of goes against the orthodox thinking of proper technique?

I guess the argument about the proper embouchure might fall into this category?

Rory
 

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Rory,

Scales are important and that might be like going to the driving range or putting green.

I think gripping and ripping would be learning a tune and really knowing/owning it. It can be any tune but play it like Pavarotti or Sinatra might sing it. OWN IT. Tear it up. the MELODY , HUGE TONE , bring out ALL the BRAVURA (you know what I mean??)
Play it BIG on the front porch.
My .02, keep on
 

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Perhaps practice LESS but practice better, as in the adage:
"Practice does not make perfect.
Perfect practice makes perfect."

This adage fits what you said about "doing it all wrong"
perfectly. Real thought is some of the hardest work
you can do.
 

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Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
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On the specific subject of scales, i think the "against the received wisdom" approach might be to play them very slowly, with a full range of movement for each change of position (to each note) with each finger raised to the extent that one can feel the tendons in the forearm (I apologise if that's old hat to some of you but when I was learning it was always - "build up speed, keep the fingers close" - which I now totally disagree with). The other thing with scales specifically would be to improvise on each scale almost from the start (again this may be old hat for you, but learning piano all i ever did was run scales up a down and I know from others that they had similar experiences). I think there are a number of "teaching cliches" that can be usefully reversed, in fact.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks fellas,

My own practicing/playing repetoire consists almost entirely of bad habits, and so I thought it might be good to learn some new bad ones that are actually good ones.

I'm thinking I should try playing my scales with a great deal more emotion:D
 
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