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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I came late to the saxophone, buying my first Alto when I retired, after a lifetime of listening but not playing music. I don’t imagine that I shall ever become a great player or even reach the level of competence that I should like to. However, I do enjoy playing, and practice for about an hour daily. One of the major problems I’ve had is with teachers and an increasing dread every time lesson time comes round. It is difficult to synthesise a complex set of issues but save to say that I was struggling to relax sufficiently to get a consistently good tone - I didn’t realise how relaxed one has to be to produce a decent tone, so jumping octaves and screeching buffalo sounds were common - as well as dealing with new concepts and vocabulary regarding rhythm, reading music et al. My first teacher seemed to be a decent player but a poor teacher who didn’t know how to diagnose what my myriad issues were. My second teacher was much better but monthly lessons - which is all I could afford/deal with - were mutually unsatisfactory, so lessons with this teacher have been deferred. The result of all this was increasing anxiety to the point where I didn’t want to practice and when I did got no real enjoyment out of playing. However, to finally get to my point, since suspending lessons I have resurrected my enthusiasm for practice, especially playing variations on scales against a cello drone, for example, attempting vibrato, chromatic glissando and other barely understood techniques. Question to other beginners: notwithstanding the different qualities of,various teachers, have other beginners found doing their own thing rather than consistent lessons as emancipatory as me? No doubt I shall return to lessons at some point but at the moment I feel good about playing again.
 

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Man, don't dwell on it. The fact is the sax world will go on with or without you. It takes time; slow, methodic work over years, not months or weeks. I think you need to relax and pace yourself. Growth often comes in spurts. You'll hear advances in your playing that surprise even yourself, but then get stuck for a long time with no perceivable progress. It takes time. You're in for the long haul. Relax and enjoy the ride.

Regarding teachers, it's hit or miss. I have been blessed with three wonderful teachers and one pedantic, boring one. The pedantic one just got me concentrating on stuff that missed the big picture. I had to move on. My first teacher (Sadao Watanabe) was a hoot. His whole approach was to yell, "Your f***ing up!!" on every exercise. But the exercises were spot on and he was an inspiration. The other two were excellent players who were also excellent teachers. They definitely made a difference in my playing in a myriad of ways that I wouldn't have thought of. Keep looking and don't put so much on yourself. You've got nothing to prove.
 

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being on a similar path, i can relate to everything you're saying. i think in the long run, you'll make greater improvements if you find a teacher who understands your situation. i don't think our teachers expect perfection from a beginner, only we expect it of ourselves. you might explain your situation(age, anxiety, finances) to prospective teachers before any lessons and see if that helps.
 

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Teaching adult beginners is way harder and more humbling than school-aged students. The whole approach is different because the goals are vastly different. A quality teacher will be able to keep you going toward your goals while backfilling with technique and basic skill building in interesting ways for each student. Too many cookie cutter private lesson teachers out there taking inspiration and creativity out of the minds of curious learners.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I agree, teaching is hard and complicated sometimes by the ego and/or lack of experience and teaching ability of the teacher, I.e. teaching saxophone/music isn’t just about being able to play really well yourself but to be able to communicate and model that ability in ways that different beginners need. I’ve tried your suggestion with my last teacher who was good and supportive. At this stage I’m happy just practicing for fun again before dipping my toes again with a teacher; cheers
 

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I taught myself to play guitar in a few weeks, but nearly a year later after starting sax i'm still only slightly above beginner stage.
some things take a lot longer for me to learn.
 

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I'm self teaching... I recon...
For starters, by the time you are a mature learner, you should really know how you learn new things best. People are different and get more different with age. You should really be able to own decisions as well; objectives, changes in objective, attempts, successes and wrong turnings. My principal objective is to learn how jazz works by, amongst other things, learning and instrument..
I'm learning under my own steam because exploring the space is how I learn best in all areas (professional and recreational). I like breadth first, then diving into details as the interest takes me, and then seeing what the next steps might be. Even taking a wrong turn is a happy learning experience. That's me. I didn't initially fuss about getting a teacher. I may get a teacher when I feel I can't overcome some block. We'll see. Right now I'm having fun and seem to get past most challenges.
I should add that it doesn't work for everything - I don't seem to be able to get on top of languages. Such is life.
Others do very well with a guide who knows the way.

Which ever way. Enjoy the journey! It's a great world to participate in, at what ever level.
 

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It takes time; slow, methodic work over years, not months or weeks. I think you need to relax and pace yourself. Growth often comes in spurts. You'll hear advances in your playing that surprise even yourself, but then get stuck for a long time with no perceivable progress. It takes time. You're in for the long haul. Relax and enjoy the ride.
That is true for most worthwhile endeavours!

Being a good craftsman (or woman) is not the same as being a good teacher.
My teacher is very good, he works with wat you have and builds from that. I don't think he has a set curriculum in his mind, just gets working on a certain piece. Keeping us on our toes, moving us just beyond our comfort zone, getting us to try new stuff. But not too much in one go, keeping it down to bitesize chunks, not letting us choke on too much in one go.....
I heard yesterday that he will be retiring soon, which is a loss to all his students....
 
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