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Discussion Starter #1
G'day guys and gals, I have decided to set a few goals for myself, my parents and sisters will be having christmas with us this year and it would be nice to be able to play a christmas carol for them, I was hoping for something a little more challenging then jingle bells :) although I haven't even tried to play that yet, I'm still to busy playing when the saints go marching in, the first song on Pete Thomas's teaching cd :D.

What I'm looking for is an easy to play carol but one that lasts longer than jingle bells and one that uses a few more notes to show of my sax. I'm thinking I have 6 months to go so I should be able to learn something by then, but I am wondering if I am rushing it, I've only had my yas-23 for 3 weeks and haven't got around to having any lessons yet, I do intend on having them.

What stage were you up to 6 months down the track, should I just concentrate on learning to play long notes and fingering or tackle songs as well, at the moment I'm lucky to put 9 or 10 notes together before I get a squeak or a fingering mistake, very annoying and seems to happen when I go from a C to a D :x, but I know I am at the very beginning of my journey and I know I will get there, I just don't want to go backwards by taking on something to hard to soon.

Tony
 

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First things first....Unless you're Santa Claus,... Ya can't move Christmas forward to October. Nope, Nada, Not a chance, can't be done.
You've got 8 months,not 6.

If you've got Pete's DVD, then stick with it. Pete put a lot of thought into getting you going in a methodical and logical manner. Put a little faith (it's Christmas after all) in the fact that Pete knows what he's doing. Stick with the DVD until you can play all the DVDstuff inside out.

One of the big "secrets" to making progress as a player, is sticking with a concept or idea until you master it. NOT jumping from one thing to another every week.

It's great that you have a goal to motivate you, but don't let it become a distraction. You're worrying about the morning after when you haven't even asked the girl out yet....so to speak.

If you just concentrate on the basics for the next 6 months, you'll be well able to play a whole bunch of Christmas Carols and whatever else takes your fancy.

Take my word for it. Christmas carols,by and large, are simple, often diatonic tunes, with the added advantage that you've heard them so often, you can play many of them by ear.

So don't sweat it. Just stick with the basics, put your faith in Pete's knowing how to teach, and don't get sidetracked.

For a real challenge, you could try playing some of the lesser known Christmas classics, like Kevin Wilson's "Hey Santa Claus you ****! Where's my ******* bike?!!!" :D :shock:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hey dog pants your showing your age now, I remember seeing Keven Bloody Wilson about 22 years ago in Lithgow, that ******* cats back :laughing:, and your right I do have 8 months, so I can spend 6 months on the basics then use the last 2 months to learn a song :D.

You never said what you could do or were playing 6 months after you started, was it to long ago and can't remember that far back :silent:
 

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Blues.

Still studying them now.

First 6 months.....A couple of hours every afternoon just on learning all my major scales, chords and blues scales. I actually enjoy practicing scales. Alcohol helps. :)

I don't know precisely what method Pete suggests, but I'm guessing that learning your major scales, chords, and blues scales would be a good part of it. Getting a grasp of reading and rhythm will help too. You could also pick a simple Christmas carol and try to work it out by ear, as a small part of your daily practice. The main thing is to attempt to make that daily practice.
 

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Many familiar Christmas carols can be played using the notes in a one octave major scale. That should be very easy to master by Christmas. I recommend getting a good beginning band book such as Standard of Excellence book I to take you through a logical progression of learning notes and rhythms. Of course, taking some private lessons would be the very best thing to do at this point in your development. Check your local music stores for collections of easy Christmas songs. Some of them even come with a nice accompaniment CD which will make your performance sound even more impressive. Good luck.

John
 

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jbtsax said:
Of course, taking some private lessons would be the very best thing to do at this point in your development.
Take lessons and you are guaranteed to get to your goal. Find someone you respect and stick to it. Possibly the best investment you can make at this point.

Dog Pants said:
One of the big "secrets" to making progress as a player, is sticking with a concept or idea until you master it. NOT jumping from one thing to another every week.

It's great that you have a goal to motivate you, but don't let it become a distraction.
So true! And yet, so hard to follow through on. :cool:
 

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Tony -

Since you mentioned Pete's DVD, I'll assume you're in the UK. Take a look at this Guest Spot book - http://www.musicroom.com/se/ID_No/05069/details.html. The backings are excellent, the tunes are easy, and you'll sound like a pro for the family Christmas get-together!

Frank
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Frank I will forgive you for your insult this time mate, because you gave me some good advice, but don't do it again ;) I see I will need to write were I live under my name. Americans may not know this but the worse thing you can do to an aussie is to call them a pom :x :boxing: :laughing: , just kidding my British cousins, Pete's cd course is great but I know I need to find a one on one teacher and intend to find one.
I will check out the link Frank thanks, oh and I forgive you twice, my grandfathers name was Frank :D

Tony
 

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Tony, great to see another fellow Aussie learning sax. I've been at it just a few months. I was able to find a good teacher from here:

http://www.allmusic.com.au/other.htm

If you're in Sydney that is.

Cheers and all the best with your playing!

Greg
 

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Thanks Greg, so how are you traveling a few months down the track.

I have a couple of leads on teachers, One lady who teaches full time, and the other who is an older experienced guy who has played for years, he plays for fun not as a pro, but does play in a town band, he is not interested in teaching but is willing to help out, I am keen to meet him as I am thinking he would of learnt a few tricks over the years.
 

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Hi Tony,

Things are progressing ok. I played sax in high school many years back so the fingering wasn't completely new. That said, I still make my share of fingering errors. But practice is slowly combating those. My teacher (Raoul, from that list I sent you) has been incredible in teaching me music theory type stuff. Timing, scales, chords etc with some very basic improvisation techniques that I find quite manageable. My tone is getting better but still has a long, long way to go.

I've also been playing a few tunes. I bought one of those jazz standard fake books that has a stack of stuff. So I can find a song I know and like and play it half from reading half from ear. After a couple weeks I can usually iron out most mistakes. My one has a few xmas songs too so maybe this is a good option for you too. I'm sure you would have no trouble nailing a couple xmas tunes in time for xmas.

Keep us posted on your progress. Stuff like that C to D thing disappear with practice. Right now I'm wrestling with something that has me going from Bb to G to Bb. Practice will sort that and I'm sure another problem just like it will be around the corner. :)

All the best.
Greg.
 

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tonyh said:
What stage were you up to 6 months down the track, should I just concentrate on learning to play long notes and fingering or tackle songs as well, at the moment I'm lucky to put 9 or 10 notes together before I get a squeak or a fingering mistake, Tony
Please find a private teacher,
also the blue RUBANK Elementary Method for Eb Alto Saxophone is the standard by which most if not all sax players learned from as beginners.
It comes in 4 volumes.
Elementary method
Intermediate method
Advanced Vol 1
Advanced Vol 2
good luck!!
"King"
 

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Yup take King Koeller's advice.

Get the Rubank series 4 books total: Elementary Saxophone, Intermediate, Advanced 1 and 2.

Then try the Universal Sax Method.

Of course get yourself a teacher to, don't try to figure all this out on your own if you don't have any music training.
 

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Hi Tony,

I started in October last year, and after a couple of lessons asked my then tutor to help me learn Jingle Bells for Christmas, she helped me learn a simple version that wasn't too taxing.

Christmas morning came and my wife videoed me playing Jingle Bells to the Kids coming down the stairs.....I sounded crap but tried my best.

Now five months later I can play a real jazzed up version with ease, pick a few sentimental songs and you'll be surprised how easy they become after just a few months.
 

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why cant it be done dog pants? i learnt the song misty on my first lesson and after playing the sax for 3 months had learnt take five, its about how dedicated you are to playing, i been playing around a year now and am getting gigs, and i practice for about 3 hours everyday

gd luck, dont listen to what these people say, if your dedicated
you can play anything
 

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tonyh!

You can do it! I agree with everyone, gandalfe in particular. You have to make practice a part of your daily routine. I let myself take 2 days of a week. If I take more I get frustrated. otoh do not overdo the training in the beginning. Just do it often. I sand (read: polish) the reeds with #2000 grit sandpaper. I do not take down the thickness. I find this is good for my lip; it does not get sore as easily. Rest often as well.

I have a teacher, it cuts down on time you spend messing with problems. He'll give you progress in small weekly doses. Keep you from learning things in a not so clever manner. Then you do not have to relearn them in the proper way later on.

Do scales, long tones, stay with a few melodies you like and learn them by heart.

I started playing in October. I have never played before. I enjoy it very much:) It takes away much of the stress in life. I used to do more than 5 hours a week. Now I am below that, but I still love playing. I am not happy with the small numbers of songs that I know by heart and can play easily.

I played for a friend in our living room a few weeks back. I made a very bad performance. And he left unimpressed:cry: But I realized I had not prepared for this, I was just happy and wanted to share it with someone. My nerves were not up to the pressure either, as I knew my friend had played for three years back in school. I felt that I had to perform, and I failed for that very reason.

Since I love to play, I play everything I can get my hands on. This is not a great advice. It is fun, but it will take you longer to become proficient in your x-mas carols.

What is great is that my son has been playing with me since January, and we have a great time. I put down a lot of energy to help him and keep things interesting and fun. So I might suffer a little in available time and energy for myself. But I think it is a very worthwhile thing to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the encouragement guys, I have picked a song to play for Christmas and can play almost all of it, I'm just getting caught out on a few notes towards the end, the song is, Silent Night.

You guys will all know the bit I am having trouble with, it's this bit, it's the high notes

A A | C A F# | G F# G A |B |

I know it is only practice and I will get it before Christmas, well get the notes, the timing may be another matter altogether :)

I have to agree with all of you, I see the need to get the basics down pat first, but it is hard not to want to try out a few songs as you go, I am playing, When The Saints Go Marching In, really well, except for the timing and now almost all of, Silent Night.
 

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A singular emphasis on technical facility and prowess early on is for robots. You'll progress twice as fast if you are trying to play songs well from the beginning. In other words, you're doing things correctly, keep it up :) I sometimes think that sax players tend to be so creative because the majority of us began by learning a few notes and then going at it figuring out tunes and messing around for months or (in my case) years before undergoing any serious study. It's sort of like a child learning to walk: is he going to learn through walking lessons, or because it'll get him that much closer to the Cheerios box on top of the fridge?! We all know the answer to that one! :D

In answer to the original question: What level was I at after 6 months? Somewhere between really awful and mildly terrible. Still just a notch above bad ;)
 
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