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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, Thanks for checking out this thread! :D

A while ago I got the idea of writing a technique book/course that would just have everything in it.

It's been a long time (over a year) in the making, some major players and teachers were kind enough to get involved and it took a whole lot of time and effort, but I think it's finally ready for you. On SOTW I'd Like to thank Steve Neff and Michael Karn in particular for their great feedback and help during the writing process.



All I can say is: I tried to write the best book I could. I hope it speaks to you, and that it helps you enjoy your instrument even more.

As I made some great new contacts through this website I'm happy to offer everyone on SOTW a nice big discount during this first launch week. So make sure to use the link below to get to the website.

You can find all the info and also a sample of Unleashing the Dragon here: http://www.unleashingthedragon.com/SOTW.htm

And of course I'd love to hear your feedback! :D

Kind regards

James
 

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I'd like to see a review by somebody with somewhat more knowledge and skill than I have, but I will probably be a buyer in the future.

James, have you considered making a copy available FOC to such a player for a review? There would be plenty qualified to do so posting right here on SOTW.

I hear what you say about some very good players having assisted/collaborated, but just occasionally seeing something through different (read 'consumers') eyes puts quite a different perspective on it. It's an easy format to edit too, unlike a hard copy.

Great cover, incidentally.

Oops, just did a search and found you'd asked for reviewers backa while. Sorry.
 

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I thought this was a very good book. I do want to add that when James uses the word technique he is talking about the concepts that go into playing the sax. Embouchure, tongue position, posture, practicing mindset, etc.......... It takes you more inside the mind and thoughts behind the fundamentals of sax playing . James does a great job really digging into these fundamental concepts and using great analogies and stories to teach them.

This is not a book with tons of technical exercises like cool scales and patterns. When I read the description I tend to think that because of my use of the word technique. I just wanted to state that so everyone is clear on what the book is about.


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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys! We had a great opening day. Very glad to hear you liked the cover design F4U, made that myself and it just took for ever to make :) and thanks for the support Steve!

All the best!

James
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Special holiday promotion!

Two small updates.

I received some questions regarding what I meant with my statement "just had everything in it" As Steve also mentioned above it's obviously impossible to put every lick and trick in existence into a book, since there are an infinite number of them. So when I say technique I don't mean to say "trick" I mean to say "essential skill". ULTD doesn't teach you any specific lick or pattern, instead it explains how to successfully learn any lick or pattern. When I said "just has everything in it" I meant to say "just has every essential skill in it". So things like: how to develop the best embouchure, how to cultivate true finger fluency, etc. In essence ULTD is meant as a recourse for: All the things we must know and be able to do, in order to play anything on the saxophone.

For example: Give any advanced player some sheet music. Now it might be a very difficult song, he/she might still have to practice it for a while in order to perform it at their best, but no matter what you give them, they know they have everything they need on board (skills, knowledge, experience) to perform the song eventually. Our mission with ULTD was to create a course that could get any player up to that level. Providing all the essential skills and knowledge plus a structured step by step way to gain the necessary experience.

The other update: To celibate the holidays we're doing a very special summer promotion :sunny:. Check it out at www.unleashingthedragon.com :toothy7:

All the best!

JD
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi there :D

I'm sad to say that the summer is coming to an end, and so our special summer promotion will soon have to end as well. I've decided we can keep the opportunity up for one more week.
At this moment we have just 5 specially priced courses left! So if you want to get our course at this great discount price. Be quick and visit our website www.unleashingthedragon.com

All the best!

JD
 

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Discussion Starter #7
We are doing a special price for the winter / last months of the year! Valid until Januari first! So if you'd like to learn some new tricks in the dark winter days ahead :). Go check it out at the website:

http://www.unleashingthedragon.com/

Hope you enjoy the winter!

JD
 

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Hi,
i can't say anything about the quality of a methodbook i haven't read and i haven't read this one.
But i have got the information that you, James Dox, are playing the saxophone for 2 years now. To be honest, after all the things you didn't understood about perfect pitch in another thread (which seem to got erased) and (if it is true) your very very short time since you started playing and so far lacking teaching experience, i must doubt that you know what you are talking about. To be a good teacher you need experience and knowledge about educational experience would also help. Impossible to get that in a few years. Are you really the writer or only the publisher???
If you teach whether it is live or by book you have to take responsibility for what you are telling the people/students because very fast harm is done. Teaching is not about making fast money.
So far i only can hope you had a lot of help of some very experienced teachers and didn't do it all yourself.
 

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Hi,
i can't say anything about the quality of a methodbook i haven't read and i haven't read this one.
But i have got the information that you, James Dox, are playing the saxophone for 2 years now. To be honest, after all the things you didn't understood about perfect pitch in another thread (which seem to got erased) and (if it is true) your very very short time since you started playing and so far lacking teaching experience, i must doubt that you know what you are talking about. To be a good teacher you need experience and knowledge about educational experience would also help. Impossible to get that in a few years. Are you really the writer or only the publisher???
If you teach whether it is live or by book you have to take responsibility for what you are telling the people/students because very fast harm is done. Teaching is not about making fast money.
So far i only can hope you had a lot of help of some very experienced teachers and didn't do it all yourself.
Very serious questions raised here, deserving careful attention.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi,
i can't say anything about the quality of a methodbook i haven't read and i haven't read this one. But i have got the information that you, James Dox, are playing the saxophone for 2 years now. To be honest, after all the things you didn't understood about perfect pitch in another thread (which seem to got erased) and (if it is true) your very very short time since you started playing and so far lacking teaching experience, i must doubt that you know what you are talking about. To be a good teacher you need experience and knowledge about educational experience would also help. Impossible to get that in a few years. Are you really the writer or only the publisher???
If you teach whether it is live or by book you have to take responsibility for what you are telling the people/students because very fast harm is done. Teaching is not about making fast money.
So far i only can hope you had a lot of help of some very experienced teachers and didn't do it all yourself.
Let me try to clear up a few things for you: All our books are carefully written together with experts teachers. I am just the principle writer and the way we create our materials is very different from others. You see, we assume that any teacher is actually at a natural disadvantage when it comes to teaching, because he or she doesn't know anymore what it's like to be a beginner. Think about it! The difference between an expert and a beginner couldn't be any larger right?

This often causes problems which the teachers then sometimes blame on the students, but which is actually the result of them not being able to step back into the mind of a beginner.

Now I have been a teacher and coach all my life. The unique advantage I have is: I can actually be the beginner. When I write a book I'm really learning these things myself at the time, so I naturally know all the questions every other beginner faces. Then I can translate the great information and insights that professionals have for other beginners in a way that is super practical for beginners.

Let me give you a simple example: I'm not a piano teacher, but I do play a little piano because I understand music theory quite well now. My girlfriends brother has a young daughter. She is 14 now and recently asked her dad if she could play the piano. So he arranged some lessons for her. A while back I'm at a family birthday in their house and my nice is there and her dad mentions that she has started learning the piano (she had three lesson of one hour at the time). So I asked her how it went and she reacted not very enthused with:"..ohhh ok I guess". even though she asked for this herself! Now she is always a very lively and active girl so I was a bit suspicious right away and asked her what she had learned. Obviously there is a piano in their house so I asked her to show me. So we sit down and she tells me she has learned where the central C is and she is learning the names of the keys in the first octave by heart ( all well and good I think). I ask her if she can play something. She answers with no and tells me that's still to difficult.

Now this to me is classic example of an expert wasting a huge opportunity! Here you have this young girl who was stoked to play music on the piano and it only takes the guy a few lessons to make her feel more uncomfortable then ever around the instrument and it's clear she isn't having fun with it at all.

So I asked her if she would like me to teach her how to play any song she wants right away. She says: SURE! Now I mentioned already that I'm not a piano teacher!

I tel here this: All music is made up of just three things: There is: melody, harmony and rithm. On the piano you usually use your right hand to play a melody. like this: (and I played a bit of random chromatic lines for her). Now melodies can be easy or difficult, but there is one very easy trick that can help you sound like you always know what you are doing. I showed her how: If you play chromatic lines, you can never go too wrong and you can use that to really riff freely with your right hand and just make up fun melodies as you go. ( I played her a few made up lines and then had here try it for herself) She went right into it (seeing that it was easy) and it wasn't Mozart, but after about ten minutes of practice she was having a ton of fun and she was making up and playing her own little melodies on the spot.

Then I went on to harmony and explained to her how it sounds cool if a melody is accomplished by other notes played with the left hand. I gave her a simple challenge. To play one note with her left hand and hold it, and then to play a made up melody line with her right hand starting on the same note (but played on the higher octave).

She tried this a bit and quickly got the idea. then I explained to her that there are various combinations of notes played with the left hand that work especially well.
I played one note for her with the left hand and asked her what the next note should be to make it sound cool as a background line. Playing around this way we created a nice sounding sequence for her which was made up of just 4 notes.

Then I told her to try and repeat this sequence in a rithm and then to try to play a made up melody over it with her right hand. Starting each line together with a lower note and on the same note as she was playing with her left hand.

The rest of the evening she was experimenting with this and in the end made up quite a descend sounding song. Her fear had gone and she was having fun and feeling free to play. After that I explained to her that all knowledge about scales and harmony and other stuff she would ever learn only has one function: To enable her to play better and to play the things she likes or wants to play! Now every time I go over there she comes to me with new songs she has made up and she is trying pop songs she likes now too.

Now I didn't teach her to play piano, but I do believe I gave her something very valuable. The right frame of mind to learn to play piano and the ability to feel free to play anything no matter what here experience level. Which at that point was what she really needed to learn!

Our books do the same thing. We provide the best info we can and get great teachers to make sure everything we teach our students is solid advise, but we add something extra: A real understanding of the needs of a student and how to keep them inspired and to get them to believe they can succeed! We can do that because we dive into the mind of a student. I teach things when I just learned them myself, because that's the best moment to teach anything! It's the only time when anyone can have both the perspective of someone who understands something and still remember what it was like to not understand!

As Neff is also saying above: "James is talking about the concepts that go into playing the sax. Embouchure, tongue position, posture, practicing mindset, etc.......... He takes you more inside the mind and thoughts behind the fundamentals of sax playing . James does a great job really digging into these fundamental concepts and using great analogies and stories to teach them."

Hope that clears up for you what it is that our books do and how they are made :)

All the best

JD
 

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James,
Your example is a little miserable because you show a worst case scenario were someone is doing a bad job as a teacher. Because someone else sucks, doesn't mean you are doing a better job. You did only show the girl the basics of improvisation, which is not everything you have to learn if you want to be able to play the piano (my 2nd instrument while i was studying). But learning to read is equally essential.

To work on the fun and intrinsic motivation of your students are the basics to get students to enjoy playing an instrument for a long time.

My opinion to some statements of you:
James you said:

"The right frame of mind to learn to play piano and the ability to feel free to play anything no matter what her experience level. Which at that point was what she really needed to learn!"

You can't teach someone to play anything irrespective of their experience level and abilities. Some abilities have to be prepared and to grow (some things are too difficult for a beginner and must lead to frustration).

"A real understanding of the needs of a student and how to keep them inspired and to get them to believe they can succeed!"

That's what you hope but can't prove because no 2 students are the same and you will always have to adapt your teaching to every single student but yes you must always show them that you believe in them. The standard problem of a book.

"We can do that because we dive into the mind of a student."

Sorry. That is something that you can't. Why? In your age you will not be able to see the world with the eyes of a child with the age of 10 or a juvenile with the age of 14 to 17. It simply is not possible (i had some interesting discussions about that with my psychology and pedagogy teachers at university years ago). The needs and the mind of a beginner with the age of 54 is different to the one of a child.

"I teach things when I just learned them myself, because that's the best moment to teach anything!"

This by far is the most stupid idea possible and already shows your abilities and your knowledge about teaching. How will you be prepared to work on problems someone is having if you never been in contact with these issues before and found solutions. This is something you can't learn in 2 years, you may know some problems but the solutions????
You got to have a bunch of experience to be able to help and teach. You gotta know different methods to teach the same thing and what students will need and also for what they will need it at what point.
This is a tough and very very responsible job. I'm doing this now for over 15 years and without my experience as a professional musician and teacher i couldn't teach and help my students. Ask Steve Neff if he could teach his students if he wouldn't be working as a musician and have done teaching for a long time.
James what you do is dangerous an irresponsible. If you really want to take responsibility don't teach and only try to be the publisher (that is something very important and good publishers are rare these days).
I'm really tired to correct damage done by teachers (or schools by teachers) without experience. Because of so many unexperienced (yes and also bad but experienced) teachers and also wrong methods, a lot of students lose their wish to go on with playing an instrument.
I really hope you have very very good people who control your work.
And please don't teach students the saxophone until you have a lot more experience.
 

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JamesD, you're so full of BS. Is that all you know how to do, try to sell people stuff on this forum using cheap arguments?
"we assume that any teacher is actually at a natural disadvantage when it comes to teaching, because he or she doesn't know anymore what it's like to be a beginner." Give me a break! I've been a teacher for 25 years. I feel insulted by your statement. There is a whole research literature on expert teaching that you obviously ignore. You really don't know anything about the subjects on which you decide to post (the same happened in the perfect pitch thread).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
To both Jilma and florian

The fact is that we work with many great and very accomplished musicians who love what we do! And it works! We have taught thousands of people who wanted to play the saxophone, but who didn't have access to a teacher or who can't handle the way conventional teachers work and who wanted to teach themselves. They use our books and they get great results! Now from the beginning there have always been many teachers and players (many with more years of experience then you) who applaud what we do, and also a few who screamed murder from the day we came on-line and accused us of being here only to make money etc. It's just nonsense! The only people who bash our books are people that didn't read them. Our refund rates (about 3%) are some of the lowest on the Internet. I understand where the bashing comes from though: They see their craft being changed through the coming of the Internet and E-books and videos and I guess that scares them a little and they feel a need to lash out against this "new thing". I know most of the great on-line teachers on the net personally and all of them get the same flack. Even though some of these teachers are schooled musicians with a great many years of experience. Some of them have written great books of hundreds of pages, but there will always be a few people going on about the two sentences in the book that they didn't like or agreed with. Always these people claim to be great teachers themselves and to have way more experience and better credentials then the writers. Some of them try their very best to accuse on-line writers and publishers of being hacks and witchdoctors who care about nothing but ourselves and are trying to teach as many people as we can as many bad habits as possible :).

Let me be clear:

We take great care to make the best practical knowledge available at a super low price. All of our books cost less then the fee for a single lesson with a teacher, but readers get months worth of material.

Any suggestion or notion that we teach people wrong info or do anything shady is just plain nonsense!
 

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To both Jilma and florian
Let me be clear:

We take great care to make the best practical knowledge available at a super low price. All of our books cost less then the fee for a single lesson with a teacher, but readers get months worth of material.

Any suggestion or notion that we teach people wrong info or do anything shady is just plain nonsense!
Hi, in the first post above, you mentioned a 'sample'. I followed the link, but don't see anywhere where I can view this sample. Have I just not looked carefully? Also, the book was edited prior to release, correct? Thanks.

Also, one person's wrong may be another person's right. In most things, however, it is not black and white. Perhaps sending the two people a sample of the book would help them better understand what it's all about? It seems somewhat pointless to argue when they haven't even seen what it's like yet...

Sure the basics are pretty clear cut, but each person has their own method of teaching. In the age of computers, I think that as long as you can name a few of those who collaborated with you to produce this book that might be a rather convincing argument.

No, I'm not a self-taught saxophone player, I took private lessons from someone reputable from the age of 11 to 17. I'm just out to improve again, after I quit playing. Sure, learning from a book and from a teacher are very different, but as someone who is only interested in casual playing, I don't think it's a bad idea at all.
 

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Who are these great saxophonists and musicians you keep mentioning that helped you write this and who also love it? You'd think they would want credit for the finished product if they did most of the work.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
That's an easy one: On this forum Michal Karn (Of amongst other things: the Ray Charles band) and Steve Neff (of Neff Music) have helped in editing the ULTD book. Their quotes are also on the website for anybody to read by the way :).
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ow and about the sampling: Since we have a 60 day full refund guarantee anyone can try our materials without any risk. Much better to check out the whole thing right :)!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
You'd think they would want credit for the finished product if they did most of the work.
Not true actually: Writing a book is A LOT of work! Much more then you would probably expect. Experts helping us with the information content is just a small part of production.
But yes there are over a dozen of them mentioned in the book (because I love giving people credit for their unique insights) and naturally their is a special "thanks" section in the end pages :).
 

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This whole subject made me look back,
I did not start teaching before my third year studying the saxophone, pedagogy and popular music. At that time I was playing reeds for more than 10 years!
Before that I just didn't feel ready for it, I was really concerned about the quality of my teaching and wanted to make sure I did nothing wrong to my students.
I'm a victim of bad teaching myself - it took me years to overcome false techniques, quite a hard fight (guess not even ended till today)

A player writing and selling a method book for saxophone after playing the instrument 2 years? That's quite dangerous IMHO, I also think (like florian) it's insulting for everyone who is devoting every free minute of his time to his or her profession! A friend of mine wrote a quite good school for saxophone and it took him 2 years to finish it, that's not because he's lazy - it takes time, thought, research and most important: knowledge!

My advice for you JamesD would be, because your obviously good in marketing and business issues, look for another way of making money (there are certainly many other there)! The net is already filled up with useless saxophone literature, we don't need more of that!
 

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That's an easy one: On this forum Michal Karn (Of amongst other things: the Ray Charles band) and Steve Neff (of Neff Music) have helped in editing the ULTD book. Their quotes are also on the website for anybody to read by the way :).
James asked me on this forum if I'd be willing to take a look at his book. I thought it was a pretty good book although I thought it was being marketed very strongly as a technique book which by my definition of the word it wasn't. When I think technique book I'm thinking scale patterns and etudes..............This is more along the lines of common sense ideas and approaches that you teach beginners. I did have some suggestions and things that I didn't agree with but those were just opinion issues. I wouldn't say in any way that I helped write the book though because I didn't. I remember liking many of the analogies in the book. Some of the English usage could have been better but JamesD finished editing it after the first copy I looked at and I never looked at the final product. I did give him some input on some of the English that didn't make sense to me. I was doing this as a favor for another SOTW player. I'm just saying this because I don't want people to think I helped write it. I am surprised that James has only been playing for 2 years. I just assumed he has been playing and teaching for many years from the advice in his book.
 
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