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Discussion Starter #1
I'm seeking advice on whether or not to take classes. I can take a class at the local college for free (audit or for credit). I do have a sax teacher and I've been taking lessons for close to a year now. I know how to read music because I took piano lessons as a kid/teenage for several years. I had been away from playing any instrument for 20 years when I picked up the sax a year ago. I know very little theory. I'm proficient on my scales, and am getting a lot of chords down. And now we're working on Jazz improvisation ( a whole different set of questions, but I'm reading those threads).

My question is, is it a good idea to take a class. I imagine the answer is yes -- why throw away an opportunity to learn more about music for free!

I'm looking at the Introductory theory class and the ear training I class in particular. I can take one each semester (I work so more than one each semester is not doable).

Of course I'll be soliciting my teacher's opinion on all of this as well.

Any thoughts are appreciated.
 

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It seems you have asked and answered your own question. :)

I have heard it estimated that playing a musical instrument well is 95% mental and 5% physical. My suggestion is to work toward the goal of becoming a "musician" and not just a "sax player".

John
 

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Yes, I guess I did kind of answer my own question.

Well practice time is generally no problem. I know that there's no substitute for just playing and listening. I do sometimes get frustrated that I'm learning scales, chords, arpeggios, songs, and improv, without knowing why or without knowing how to develop musical ideas/creations based on that information. I have a pretty good ear, but any improv I do is a lot of trial and error as opposed to having an idea before I play the notes. I'm sure learning is the process of doing both of those things, but the latter is something I haven't figured out how to do yet.

Classes may or may not help with this. I'm a late bloomer I'm doing this for fun, but I want to do it well, and gain a growing understanding of music in general, and not just the sax.
 

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I think learning to be a musician involves such a broad range of things (skills, knowledge, habits, etc.) that attacking the problem from many sides is good.

A couple of semesters each of theory, improv. and ear training can only help, IMO. I say, go for it!
 

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Under the Minnesota 'official geezer rule' (over 62 and a state resident) I'm able to take free college classes at the local state university and can say from almost 4 semesters of experience - GO FOR IT!!!

I've taken a "Principles of Music" class - simple theory and some ear training - and then the "Theory I" and "Musicianship I" classes (more theory and ear training). They have helped me tremendously, as has a two semester series called "Class Piano" - basically supervised small group lessons in a multi-keyboarded classroom.

My recommendation, however, would be to audit the courses rather than take them for credit. Although I took all the exams, and probablty studied more than many of my much younger classmates, knowing that I would not receive a final grade for the course (and so could just be satisfied with what I had really learned) eliminated a lot of the possible student stress and exam anxiety.

Good luck, and keep us posted on your decision/progress!!
 
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