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Play or practice

  • Keep on playing

    Votes: 15 30.6%
  • Practice, practice, practice

    Votes: 16 32.7%
  • Just grab your sax and do whatever

    Votes: 18 36.7%
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Forum Contributor 2015, SOTW Better late than neve
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Discussion Starter #1
So, it's late and I'm thinking.... :shock:

This year, I joined up with my local community concert band and we've played 12 shows in the last 3 months with 4 more to go for the summer. And that doesn't include all the rehearsal time. In the same time I started a jazz duet with a piano player and we get together once a week for 2-3 hours. The pianist I've found is a great young guy and a strong talent. I'd like to keep this going. I also take lessons twice a month. My sax life has become very active.

Still, I know I need more practice time. My chops aren't anywhere near at what I want my sound to be. I know if I wasn't out playing, I would be woodshedding equal time. I dig the horn that much :)

So do I stop playing so much and go for seclusion with my sax? Or, is my playing time with the band and the duet just as good? Maybe I should just go with flow here.

Ah heck, I'll just quit my day job :roll:
 

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There is no point to actually playing or practicing, just grab ur sax and do whatever...! It looks like you have a few in your avatar pic... why not learn how to juggle them? :shock:
 

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Are you getting much real playing in the band or just doubling the brass and generic low ww's?

Do you get much time alone with the horn now?
 

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Prodigal Son and Forum Contributor 2008
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Just keep playing and mix it up as much as you can. The experience will build your lip and help with a firmer diaphragm.

What's the point in practicing instead of playing out? Isn't that what we want to do in the first place? Work your repertoire. Kick it into submission!
 

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Forum Contributor 2015, SOTW Better late than neve
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Discussion Starter #5
Carl H. said:
Are you getting much real playing in the band or just doubling the brass and generic low ww's?

Do you get much time alone with the horn now?
I play 1st and 2nd alto parts with the band. Tenor with the jazz duo. Maybe two-three days a week to practice on my own.
 

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Well, certainly you are not playing with the community band everyday. and you only play with that piano player once a week. If you dropped that duo, you've only added 2 hours once a week of practice time. Thats not that much, its not worth giving up that good group for. And lets say you have rehearsal with that community band (at most) twice a week, that still leaves 4 days in the week. So how about practicing then. The time you spend at the community band isn't equal to practice time, but the jazz duo is a great thing.
 

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Forum Contributor 2015, SOTW Better late than neve
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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
saxymanzach said:
Well, certaintly you are not playing with the community band everyday. and you only play with that piano player once a week. If you dropped that duo, youve only added 2 hours once a week of practice time. Thats not that much, its not worth giving up that good group for. And lets say you have rehearsal with that community band (at most) twice a week, that still leaves 4 days in the week. So how about practicing then. The time you spend at the community band isn't equal to practice time, but the jazz duo is a great thing.
When the band is in rehearsal, it's only one day a week. That's fine. Now we're into the summer season. We're playing as much as 2-3 times a week. That'll end in a couple weeks and then we get a 6 week break. Then practice for the fall/winter season starts up.

I typically need one day off a week. Else I'll be wearing the sax to church, on my head or somet'um like that :D
 

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I'd stick with it like you have it now. Use the down time from the band to practice and also to get away from playing for a bit. Go places and do things with others. Winter will come again and you can hibernate with the sax as much as you can stand then.
 

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Forum Contributor 2015, SOTW Better late than neve
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Discussion Starter #9
Carl H. said:
I'd stick with it like you have it now. Use the down time from the band to practice and also to get away from playing for a bit. Go places and do things with others. Winter will come again and you can hibernate with the sax as much as you can stand then.
Well, after the band goes to break, I'm going to be doing recordings with the pianist for future gig shopping.

Really the time I need is for the stuff no one else wants to hear. Long tones, overtones, etudes and other general "strength training" type stuff.

:sleepy2:

It's bedtime now. So I'mma gonna sleep on this. Or do I stay up and practice???? Decisions, decisions :scratch: :dontknow:
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2008
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Some of the great jazz educators don't like their students to be taking gigs if it cuts into their practice time.

1). you have to master your instrument and in order to do that you have to sit down in a hole and really work on it, this isn't an activity that you share with others.

2). you need to learn the language with transcription.

3). more than likely you need to be able to copy a great players style if not exactly than as close as you can get.

4). playing and gigging as much as you can stand. Getting in situations that are going to push you, playing with musicians that are much better than you.

A lot of this stuff requires a lot of time by yourself. If we look at the great masters most all them were pulling a lot of shed time. Very tough to get anything down if you're social calendar is full.

A good example might be Charlie Parker and his 3-4 years of 13 hours a day of practicing when he finally wanted to get serious. Tranes 10 hours a day of practice and so on.
 

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All playing is practice, it's just not a well-rounded practice.

I'm kinda in the same boat, since joining the community band I'm spending a lot of time learning the tunes for the band concerts. My "practice" is mostly reading the sheet music, learning to play faster and faster (a lot of marches). Not much time spent on long tones, scales, or transcriptions. OTOH, my sight reading abilities are quickly improving, timing and intonation are getting better, as is my ability to listen to what the other musicians are doing. So it's a trade-off, but right now I think I'm getting a lot out of it. When the summer season ends, the pace will slack off a bit, and I'll have more time to go back to the basics. And I'm hoping that by next year, I'll be good enough that I won't have to spend quite so much time learning each tune.
 

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Keep on playing out as much as possible. Performing with others is better for your intonation than just sitting at home by yourself.
But do try to cram every little bit of extra practicing you can.
 

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Bonsoir,

If I could go back to when I was a full time pro upright bassist, I'd have played less gigs in order to have more time on my hands to practice my instrument rather than playing gigs or doing band rehearsals. By the end of that period I really felt it stopped me from improving my technique and sound, and getting the chance to play with better musicians and more interesting gigs.

Now that I play the saxophone, I don't play gigs as much. Just enough so I know I can play my tenor with people, that I'm not just a bedroom musician. I've taken a part-time job to pay the rent, and I'm waiting for that time when I've reached a certain level to go back to the full-time pro sort of playing though I know it will come sooner than I want. Even then, I know I'll get tired of it (my playing that is) and I'll slow down on gigs and go back in my cave to shed and get a job to get enough money for a decent kind of life. The other point of that attitude is I'd rather have a regular job than doing compromises in my music and accept any kind of proposal in order to be able to play enough gigs to eat.
The good thing with having a part-time job is that you have the time to work on your instrument while having financial security, even a modest one, and with limited time on my hands I feel I need to be and I am more efficient during my practice time.

Sooo, while you're not an accomplished musician if you don't play real live concerts, cutting back on practice time for them will likely make you feel like it's slowing down your chops acquisition.

Finally, there are other ways to to practice than just being alone in a room with your sax. Do you read the parts in your community band? Well, right them down a major second below and sight-transpose them, then you get the chance to be able to sightread clef instrument parts. Do you take a bus with your band? Bring a pen and a paper and work on that theory stuff. See my point?

All the best,
Victor.
 

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you definitely need balance. you can perform too much, at which point you can't go beyond what you already know and have learned.
alternatively, you can practice too much without performing...that is, if you don't apply what you're practicing, then WHATS THE POINT?
also, i think as you progress it's easier to sound great with more performing and less practicing.....it's ok to go through phases too. you'll certainly feel what you need after a little while...
 

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Sounds like you are reasonably balancing everything and will have more time for shedding when the community orchestra is off season. Make sure you take time to smell the roses and you be fine.

You could probably figure out ways to work on some things while you are playing with the pianist. One sax and one piano - should be plenty of room there.
 

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heath said:
A good example might be Charlie Parker and his 3-4 years of 13 hours a day of practicing when he finally wanted to get serious. Tranes 10 hours a day of practice and so on.
13 hours a day ??!!:shock:
I just don't know how it is possible. One's have to be a little mad, haven't he?
 

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Forum Contributor 2015, SOTW Better late than neve
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Discussion Starter #19
heath said:
Some of the great jazz educators don't like their students to be taking gigs if it cuts into their practice time.

1). you have to master your instrument and in order to do that you have to sit down in a hole and really work on it, this isn't an activity that you share with others.

2). you need to learn the language with transcription.

3). more than likely you need to be able to copy a great players style if not exactly than as close as you can get.

4). playing and gigging as much as you can stand. Getting in situations that are going to push you, playing with musicians that are much better than you.

A lot of this stuff requires a lot of time by yourself. If we look at the great masters most all them were pulling a lot of shed time. Very tough to get anything down if you're social calendar is full.

A good example might be Charlie Parker and his 3-4 years of 13 hours a day of practicing when he finally wanted to get serious. Tranes 10 hours a day of practice and so on.
You've pretty much nailed down what I've been thinking. My one-on-one time with my sax needs to be focused on more if I'm ever going to overcome my weaknesses. Both playing situations do challenge me. So they do offer a benefit while doing that. Transcribing and coppin' the greats is also something I'd like to have more time with.

I guess it comes down getting serious or not. Hmmmm.

magical pig said:
Now that I play the saxophone, I don't play gigs as much. Just enough so I know I can play my tenor with people, that I'm not just a bedroom musician. I've taken a part-time job to pay the rent, and I'm waiting for that time when I've reached a certain level to go back to the full-time pro sort of playing though I know it will come sooner than I want. Even then, I know I'll get tired of it (my playing that is) and I'll slow down on gigs and go back in my cave to shed and get a job to get enough money for a decent kind of life. The other point of that attitude is I'd rather have a regular job than doing compromises in my music and accept any kind of proposal in order to be able to play enough gigs to eat.
The good thing with having a part-time job is that you have the time to work on your instrument while having financial security, even a modest one, and with limited time on my hands I feel I need to be and I am more efficient during my practice time.

Sooo, while you're not an accomplished musician if you don't play real live concerts, cutting back on practice time for them will likely make you feel like it's slowing down your chops acquisition.

Finally, there are other ways to to practice than just being alone in a room with your sax. Do you read the parts in your community band? Well, right them down a major second below and sight-transpose them, then you get the chance to be able to sightread clef instrument parts. Do you take a bus with your band? Bring a pen and a paper and work on that theory stuff. See my point?

All the best,
Victor.
Going part-time for the day gig isn't an option at this time. I have family and business clients that depend on me. Maybe I should run away with my sax??? Err, maybe not.

I do read all the parts. They change the music around a lot. There's little time to memorize the stuff. The driving and fighting traffic that I do around to all these different play events takes up way too much time. Just reducing that would add hours to my practice time.

silvin said:
13 hours a day ??!!:shock:
I just don't know how it is possible. One's have to be a little mad, haven't he?
Hey, but that's the secret isn't it. No, I don't feel the need to play Carnegie Hall. I still like to pack in my local jazz club one day :cool:
 

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This is going to be far off in left field I know but to offer another analogy.

I'm a cyclist and I spend a lot of time on my bike. I used to spend a lot of time training with other cyclists that race. My problem was that I had to spend an hour each day driving to meet up with these guys and then you have to depend on them to put in a hard day and push me.

Lesson I've learned over the years. I stopped meeting up with them and started to take that extra hour and put 20-25 miles more in every day. Guess what, I started winning races. This was done on all my own time. It frustrates others because I'm unattached to a team, I'm a lone wolf that just shows up by myself and I leaves by myself. Training by myself allowed me to move up to a whole other level and I stopped believing the hype that you have to have a hammer crew to push and motivate.....sort of like the guy that takes the fun orchestra stuff and thinks this is going to improve his game. You're the one that has to do all the work and much of the work can be done on your own.
 
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