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Hellooo everybody,

I've been a member of this forum for a while, but I stopped coming here because I realized that it was less productive to try and understand the answer to "Why don't I sound good?" or "Why can't I play fast?" on a forum instead of realizing those questions by actually practicing.

Well, I've been learning the ways of the saxophone (I dare not say "I've been playing", yet) for a little more than four years, now. I "know" three songs in their entirety, because before when I would practice, I didn't set any goals other than "Just get better". I'm still working to play the songs as best I can in time, but I'm happy with practicing them all; that's not why I'm posting this.

I'm from California, but I'm a freshman at the University of New Orleans, the school that I've wanted to go to since I delved into Jazz sometime during my sophomore year in high school. I'm going here to gain the wisdom to be the Greatest Musician Ever, and to study with Ed Petersen, my favorite tenor saxophonist.

Here's the catch: I was too nervous to audition for the Jazz Studies program because I didn't know any song in its entirety at the time, nor was I comfortable enough to improvise (If improvisation is just like talking, then right now I'm a babbling buffoon.) I've met with Ed at least three times now (ever), even though the third week of school is coming up, and I pass his office everyday (I know it's creepy, but sometimes I sneak a peek, just to make sure that he's still here, then I scurry away.) He thinks my name is Ryan--which it's not--and I'd like to think he's kidding--but he isn't.

I'd love to just go up to him and say, "Ed, to my ears, you're the best!!!" but I don't want to just be some fan boy, and forgettable. Why on Earth would you leave the comfort of blue, sunny skies and luxurious weather of the Bay Area for a damp, dark place like New Orleans, let alone beg, borrow, and not steal $10,000 in tuition money, is what some classmates ask me, and I tell them what I want to tell Ed.

Someone gave me advice already, that Professors accept their jobs because they want to teach students who want to learn. And I want to learn, or gain wisdom/knowledge--whatever is the right thing to say!! And the guy told me to tell this to Ed, and that he'd understand. But I don't know, I guess I'm having trouble believing it, or if I do tell him, he'll *gulp* ask me to play.

The kids here play good--really good, and they have teachers and venues. I haven't had my own saxophone teacher for two of my four years of learning, and finding quality Jazz in San Jose is kind of hit and miss.

Not confronting Ed has inspired me to practice significantly more, and with goals... But I'm a glass cannon; if I were to confront him, and it turns out to be awkward and not-so-swell, my motivation might be broken.

I'm going to perform for one of the student recitals, eventually this semester, as part of an honors option-mission-thing for Music theory class (Performing is otherwise not required, but understanding theory is kind of easy for me, because for years I've tried understanding it in lieu of practice.) And I say this to conclude this narrative:

To ask for Ed's guidance, or to not ask for Ed's guidance?

The answer is already obvious, but I just don't believe it.

Also, I was wondering if an expert would be willing to critique the first draft of an essay for Music class that I wrote.

Thanks for bearing with me.
 

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I've gone back to school this year and one thing I have found is that even the best of teachers will stop to help you if they can see that you are keen to learn and work on things. It doesnt matter what level player you are. What's the worst thing he can say? "Sorry I'm busy"?

He's just an ordinary fella like the rest of your teachers, go introduce yourself, tell him you play and tell him what you are working on. He might ask you to play a bit and help you. He might not. Better that than you burn any more cycles tiptoeing around thinking he's going to tear you to bits because your tone isnt killer....
 

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You have nothing to lose by talking to this man, and everything to gain. You may see him as a "Sax God" but you know, he's just regular person and probably has been in your position at some time in his life.
So what if at first you are a babbling buffoon. Once you get over being 'star struck' any future conversations will come easier.
He's there to teach. You are there to learn. He may just give you some advice that will change your playing forever. :)
 

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Do it...life is too short to waste on the nervous, negative energy your stuck in now! I am crap at playing but I have started taking lessons again recently from the best pro player in town...I am still self conscious about my low level of skill but he acts as though he isn't the least bit bothered by all the times I stumble each lesson...every lesson I leave feeling like my head will explode but making much larger stride than I made in weeks or months on my own.
 

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Man... Get in there. Just think of him as a fellow player and go for it. You're only going to be in school for so long, so take advantage of what you can get from a killer mentor. You're right, if you want to learn I'm sure he'll help you out.

All else fails, bring up on of his influences and score some brownie points. ;D

-Bubba-
 

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He's there to teach. You are there to learn.
Bandmommy took the words right out of my mouth. I'm quite certain that Ed wants students like you, who want to learn. Otherwise what is he doing at the school? Get in there and get on with it!

One other thing. If you want to be the "Greatest musician ever," or even a passable musician, you are going to have to develop a thick skin and get past your fragile ego and nervousness, or you won't get far. The best way to do that is to use that fear (which is what it is) to work hard and do whatever it takes to learn to play well, which will help to eliminate the fear. Just a thought...
 

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You're letting all of this stuff reside in your head and it's all based on pure fantasy. The only reality is what you're creating. What if you replaced it with the real reality?

Just go and talk to the man. If he gives you some encouragement and some specific things to work on great. If he takes you under his wings, so much the better. If he pretty much ignores you and can't wait to get rid of you, well the pain is over with. In either case you have deal with the reality of it, and now you can get on with some forward motion on your part that can be positive, tangible and based on the way things are, not the way you might think they are.

Regarding his reaction, I've run the gamut of reactions from, haven't got the time for you, you're taking time away from me and my homies, to sure man, come on over to my crib and let's see what we can do.

And don't be afraid, anyway. My first saxophone lessons were with Sadao Watanabe in Japan. http://www.sadao.com/en/ Even at that time, in Japan he was a freakin' legend. Nowhere for me to hide. You just gotta let it all hang out and go for broke and let the chips fall where they may. One thing is for sure. Keep doing nothing and in six months, you will be in the same place as you are now - static. Is that what you came half the way across the country for?
 

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If it makes you feel any better...I have no idea who Ed Peterson is. He is not the greatest. Sonny Rollins is.
I'm also pretty sure Ed does not know who I am, either.

But, I'm sure he's a probably a really fine player, and probably an equally great teacher, so.....
He's THERE to TEACH people, right, thats his job, right?

cut the funny stuff & approach him & sign up
 

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OH! You could always have a friend or someone introduce you?

Hmm. Perhaps I'm enabling. Oh well. I aim to please. :)

-Bubba-
 

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Yup, like others said - go talk to him, and just be real. If he is a nice, warm, person who wants to teach he will help you out. If he is a mean-spirited prick, you might as well find that out sooner than later (esp. at $10,000 year). My wife chose her visual art graduate program based on her desire to work with someone whose work she admired, but he turned out to be a total jerk to her.
 

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Most guys in his position are open and generous with their time and knowledge. It's highly unlikely he is anything but those things since he teaches in a public forum at a university.

As I'm fond of saying, "the answer's ALWAYS 'no' if you don't ask."

So, ASK! I'm willing to bet he will be gracious, kind and very willing to help you. And I cannot imagine he would not enjoy meeting someone who is eager to learn and truly appreciates HIS particular take on music and the saxophone.


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