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Sax teachers of SOTW, what are your methods for teaching students to swing?

I'm not talking about the basics of explaining what swing eighths are and to tongue/accent upbeats rather than downbeats. We all know you can learn to do that perfectly and still have zero swing *feel*, in the more ineffable sense -- that feeling of rhythmic drive and constant forward motion that makes audiences start snapping their fingers. There are lots of flavors of swing feel, but every good player has it, and as long as you're missing it, you won't sound like you're playing jazz. But it seems like a hard thing to teach. At least, as someone to whom it doesn't come naturally, I'm definitely finding it hard to learn.

Any particular methods you've had success with?
 

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Take a swing dance class. Seriously.
 

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Feeling the triplet subdivision instead of the eighth.

The first two parts of the triplet are the first eighth, and the 3rd part of the beat is the second one.

Use a metronome with the triplet subdivision on to play anything

Slightly bump the 3rd part of the beat with air, and be sure to connect eighths. Don’t break them up. Use a dah/dee/dot.....instead of a tah/tee/tot.

And LISTEN to tons of the authentic style.
 

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Listen....for a long time....then play along with the recordings....
 

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And don't pat your foot at four to the bar — two to the bar, please, which leaves space to move around in.
 

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I checked the link an noticed it's available in SmartMusic. I just downloaded it for future reference. Thanks for the heads up.
 

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There are multiple things....many that have been mentioned above.
However, I think THE most important thing (and something that will eternally drive me nucking futs) is to teach them what a "D" consonant tongue is versus the "T" consonant they've always used. Have them sing the word "TOO", then sing "DOO" and tell them to notice the "DOO" is still tongued, but it's a MUCH different sound/attack than the more abrasive T consonant. Pick a phrase/line of music and BEFORE they play it, have them sing the line using the correct articulation (singing "doo" and "dah" instead of "too" and "tah"). If they can sing it (at least partially) correct, they'll be able to play it. If they can't sing it, there's no freaking way it'll magically come out of their horn(s). I also have my students slur.......yes, SLUR as much as possible. That's not an excuse to play sloppy, but have them come to the harsh reality that their tonguing compensates for a LOT of extremely sloppy fingering. Once they can play that line with GOOD time, then have them throw in SOME tonguing. I tell them to only tongue in two instances: 1. When it's marked (staccato, marcato, etc). 2. When they need to tongue in order to execute the line (interval leaps, etc).

That's the Cliff Notes version. ;-)
 

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And don't pat your foot at four to the bar — two to the bar, please, which leaves space to move around in.
My first sax teacher would only tap his foot on 2 and 4. It was interesting watching him perform.
 

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this is when i wish i could really pass on these ketu candomble concepts, beats and dances. they really have secrets to swing and groove. this is cultural. its ancient west african concepts.

i swear, if a horn player learns a bunch of the bell parts of some of these beats , and strung them along half time and double time, it would swing like crazy

just the jinka/bravum bell part, the same thing for two beats, is in lots of written jazz peices like nows the time, and in huge amounts of phrasings, sometimes just "jinglebell/ jinglebell" to"jinglebelly/jinglebelly (strung eigth notes but when phrased like that , it cant not swing)"

these are the secrets of swing phrasing and groove, you just have to fill in the notes
 

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There are multiple things....many that have been mentioned above.
However, I think THE most important thing (and something that will eternally drive me nucking futs) is to teach them what a "D" consonant tongue is versus the "T" consonant they've always used. Have them sing the word "TOO", then sing "DOO" and tell them to notice the "DOO" is still tongued, but it's a MUCH different sound/attack than the more abrasive T consonant. Pick a phrase/line of music and BEFORE they play it, have them sing the line using the correct articulation (singing "doo" and "dah" instead of "too" and "tah"). If they can sing it (at least partially) correct, they'll be able to play it. If they can't sing it, there's no freaking way it'll magically come out of their horn(s). I also have my students slur.......yes, SLUR as much as possible. That's not an excuse to play sloppy, but have them come to the harsh reality that their tonguing compensates for a LOT of extremely sloppy fingering. Once they can play that line with GOOD time, then have them throw in SOME tonguing. I tell them to only tongue in two instances: 1. When it's marked (staccato, marcato, etc). 2. When they need to tongue in order to execute the line (interval leaps, etc).

That's the Cliff Notes version. ;-)
Wow, I never thought of doing these tonguing exercises before. This should be beneficial for all types of jazz or all music in general. Thanks!
 

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Sax teachers of SOTW, what are your methods for teaching students to swing?

I'm not talking about the basics of explaining what swing eighths are and to tongue/accent upbeats rather than downbeats. We all know you can learn to do that perfectly and still have zero swing *feel*, in the more ineffable sense -- that feeling of rhythmic drive and constant forward motion that makes audiences start snapping their fingers. There are lots of flavors of swing feel, but every good player has it, and as long as you're missing it, you won't sound like you're playing jazz. But it seems like a hard thing to teach. At least, as someone to whom it doesn't come naturally, I'm definitely finding it hard to learn.

Any particular methods you've had success with?
Here is something I've compiled through the years as a short guide and have been teaching this with great success. I then take these principles and have students apply them to Lennie Niehaus' Basic Jazz Conception Book. I also have an attachment with music that shows demonstrations of each of these concepts.:

1. Running Eighth Notes-should be in a triplet fashion (2/3 + 1/3) and should be played with a very legato approach. The first of a group of eighth notes should be tongued and then slur to the downbeat.
Exceptions- Top of the contour must be tongued and accented. “DOT” notes must be tongued. “DOO” notes must be tongued.
2. DOTs- are notes that start and stop with the tongue and are approximately 2/3rd’s of a beat. DOTS are any of the following notes: quarter notes on up or down beats, and eighth notes on an upbeat with a rest after them. Remember that any jazz articulation that begins with a “D” (i.e. DOO and DOT), must be started with the tongue (you have to use your tongue to say “D”) and can never be slurred.
3. DOOs- are the notes that come before DOT. Since DOO begins with “D” it can never be slurred- always tongued.
4. DOO WAH- looks like a DOO DOT except the “DOT” portion is longer than a quarter note. A DOO WAH has several important components: 1) you must tongue the DOO and slur to the “WAH” portion. 2) The DOO is soft and the WAH is Loud creating a dynamic contrast.
5. Longer Notes- greater than a half note should be interpreted Forte Piano Crescendo.
6. Triplets- are slurred if eighth notes and tongued if quarter notes.
 

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Sax teachers of SOTW, what are your methods for teaching students to swing?

I'm not talking about the basics of explaining what swing eighths are and to tongue/accent upbeats rather than downbeats. We all know you can learn to do that perfectly and still have zero swing *feel*, in the more ineffable sense -- that feeling of rhythmic drive and constant forward motion that makes audiences start snapping their fingers. There are lots of flavors of swing feel, but every good player has it, and as long as you're missing it, you won't sound like you're playing jazz. But it seems like a hard thing to teach. At least, as someone to whom it doesn't come naturally, I'm definitely finding it hard to learn.

Any particular methods you've had success with?
Listen, listen and listen. There is no substitute for learning style than to listen to the masters and distinguish the different types of swing. Frank Foster and Michael Brecker both swing but in different styles. The Lennie Niehaus Etudes are a valuable tool.
 

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No one has yet been able to give a complete, exhaustive definition of what swing is; however, every jazz musician and fiery jazz fan can immediately determine the lack of a swing feel. Yes, articulation is a very important component in creating the swing feel, but not the only one. You can perfectly play the correct articulation with triplets, creating the feel of jazz - polka or tarantella. Who can explain the features of English pronunciation in New York, and its difference from Chicago? There is no explanation, only big ears; and the same thing with swing feel ! It is impossible f.e. to neglect other components that also affect the creation of swing, for example dynamics and agogics - which exists only in real sound.
 

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No one has yet been able to give a complete, exhaustive definition of what swing is; however, every jazz musician and fiery jazz fan can immediately determine the lack of a swing feel. Yes, articulation is a very important component in creating the swing feel, but not the only one. You can perfectly play the correct articulation with triplets, creating the feel of jazz - polka or tarantella. Who can explain the features of English pronunciation in New York, and its difference from Chicago? There is no explanation, only big ears; and the same thing with swing feel ! It is impossible f.e. to neglect other components that also affect the creation of swing, for example dynamics and agogics - which exists only in real sound.
Which, as I tell all of my 6th grade students when I first teach it to them, is why it's called "swing feel" and not "swing count." ;)
 

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" and not "swing count." ;)
one - TWO - three - FOUR ?

I should not tell you how Michael Brecker, Steve Grossman or Dave Liebman played the drums, but we can safely say that this is one of the components of jazz education (as opposed to a jazz pose). For a beginner, there may be problems of money, the technique and neighbors; but there is another way: to study walking bass; possible on saxophone as well , and if not on a saxophone, then on EWI or some keyboard with a bass sound. 4/4 of swing walk - this is the platform with which the jazz flight begins; and no one will fly before has learned to walk (there are some who never achieved this ...) For me, the best sample for this purpose was "Kansas City Shout" by Count Basie. There is plenty to choose from:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-dH4WFQ9pU&list=OLAK5uy_mDEuoz5rmv8NtzgUXrGPYqmgdbwvFk7cQ&index=3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exwchu-DNiA&list=OLAK5uy_mDEuoz5rmv8NtzgUXrGPYqmgdbwvFk7cQ&index=5


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPQqkGj8Eqc&list=OLAK5uy_mDEuoz5rmv8NtzgUXrGPYqmgdbwvFk7cQ&index=9

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heYDFRvOpCQ&list=OLAK5uy_mDEuoz5rmv8NtzgUXrGPYqmgdbwvFk7cQ&index=11


This is fantastic historical example of circle of drug addicts who sniff swing ! Transcribe very detailed some fragment of 16 - 8 bars; and play for your health with the recording . I personally did this in the mornings for 2 years; and learned to fart with them in the same feel .

After that, when I listen to " C Jam Blues" playback from Aebersold series, I just laugh ................
 
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