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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a late bloomer of 54. Played Trumpet in H.S. Played Bass in, what we thought, Rock Band in the 70's. As I was practicing today, I started thinking, how much should I have learned playing Sax after about a year. I had several teachers which I didn't think where any good. None of them ever mentioned anything about my embouchure, good, bad, not a word. I just played tunes with one, I can do that on my own without paying someone to play with me. Last one had me all over the place, something different every week, which is O.K. with me, but, at my age, you don't absorb as fast as you do when you're a kid or teenager. He was a great player though, he just started throwing things that were tooo far ahead for someone starting out.
I have quite a few of Jamey Aebersold play along CD's, lots of books, etc. My tone is good and continues to improve. Some tunes I play really good, Autumn Leaves, Summertime, Stella By Starlite, All of Me, granted these are easy. I have Dexter Gordons I'm A Fool To Want You almost perfect.

I can't afford a teacher right now, so I will be learning on my own for now, but, I'm well aware that there is no substitute for a GOOD teacher.
 

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It depends on what you want, mostly. You're right about the good teacher and it sounds like maybe you haven't found the right one for you yet. In my experience, a really good teacher will help you find a pace that works for you and give you reasonable challenges without being too pushy. Teaching adults is a different enterprise than starting out a youngster. If you just want to have fun then you can keep doing what you're doing now and maybe pick up some pointers on here. There are plenty of older threads and current ones about technique and how to structure practice sessions.

But if you genuinely want to move on as a serious student there is no substitute for an experienced teacher. I'm 61 and have been playing music since I was 6 but only took up the sax when I was in my late thirties. I had a great teacher then and still have a mentor/teacher/friend who works with me every week. Have fun and keep playing!
 

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Find some others to play with. Nothing will help your journey more.
 

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Find some others to play with. Nothing will help your journey more.
This is a great idea. Is there a community band in your area that you could join. Some are better than others, and you might find that learning the parts gives you something to work on. Some of the lead players might also be able to give you some tips.

Also, what do you do for a living? Maybe you could barter for lessons...
 

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I played some sax back in the 80's and due to family obligations quit playing the sax around 1988. About five years ago I got together with some old friends I used to play with and they said they wanted to start playing again, next thing I new I bought a sax and started practicing. I was surprised how much I still remembered when I started playing, I did take some lessons, told the teachers specifically what I was interested in learning/improving. He put together some lesson plans and I've been pretty much on my own for the last four years. I can honestly say most of my progress has come from playing with others, especially players who are better than I am (which is pretty much just about everyone). Since getting back together with that first band I've played in bands with horn sections, blues and R&B bands as a solo horn player and a rockabilly band. I'll never be accomplished enough to play in a jazz band, but that's okay, I'm very happy doing what I'm doing. I think more progress is made when you put yourself out there, sure you'll have plateau's (that's when I go back for more lessons) but overall your progress will significantly improve when you get away from the play along tracks and start playing with others.
 

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SaxMI,
No matter what your age you are still starting, a beginner, but also at 54 you've got the maturity to realize you're not going to change the world with your playing!

From that maturity you also have the intelligence to know that after one year you are going to need many, many more.

The best thing to remember is that you might have the songs you mention, the ones you say are easy, down "note" wise but there's a huge difference in playing notes to actually sounding good playing those notes.

Just keep practicing, playing and having fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks everyone. swperry1, as far as barter for lessons, that's not likely to happen, it would be nice if I could. RandyJ, absolutely right. I usually play everything with passion, even scales and long tones. I realize that everyone learns at a different pace. I was hoping to get some responses regarding scales, chords, etc.

I just thought I would know more buy now. I still haven't memorized all the Major scales as an example. I haven't started on Minor scales yet. My practice usually is this.

15 min on long tones
20 min on scales
20 min on arpeggios
30 min on difficult fingering, like low register
20 min on play along tunes
30 min playing songs from Bb Real Book. Improving on the one I know already. Start a few bars from a new song to see how well I can play it.
By then, my embouchure will start to go.

Should I change my practice routine?
 

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Thanks everyone. swperry1, as far as barter for lessons, that's not likely to happen, it would be nice if I could. RandyJ, absolutely right. I usually play everything with passion, even scales and long tones. I realize that everyone learns at a different pace. I was hoping to get some responses regarding scales, chords, etc.

I just thought I would know more buy now. I still haven't memorized all the Major scales as an example. I haven't started on Minor scales yet. My practice usually is this.

15 min on long tones
20 min on scales
20 min on arpeggios
30 min on difficult fingering, like low register
20 min on play along tunes
30 min playing songs from Bb Real Book. Improving on the one I know already. Start a few bars from a new song to see how well I can play it.
By then, my embouchure will start to go.

Should I change my practice routine?
It took me a year to learn all of my major scales over the full range of the horn practicing for an hour each day with at least 30 mins just on scales. When you are older stuff just takes longer to learn. Keep at it
 

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I don't see anything seriously missing from what you're doing. If you play from the Real Book and use Abersold tracks, you obviously want to play by ear so you should add ear training. Not necessarily something long and drawn out.

Depending on how well developed your ear is now....take a simple idea/riff/melody and play it in all 12 keys. Something just one phrase long is enough. If that goes OK pick a new one tomorrow. Do this daily forever and keep improving your ear. It can be anything from "Pop goes the Weasel" to the first four bars of Joy Spring or a riff off a Dexter Gordon CD. This is not so you have a bag full of memorized licks, but just to train your mind so that you can execute on the horn any idea that you hear in your head.

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Read through this site and drill down into specific areas of your playing and see what folks are saying on this site. Some of the best info is often pinned at the top of each section.

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Two more thoughts....

1) If you have the luxury of doing so (at least on days you don't go to work) break up your practice into two or three 40-50 minute sessions so that neither brain nor embouchure become fatigued.
:coffee:

2) Record your practices from time to time. Without a teacher this is a must. Listen to everything. Do your scales/arpeggios sound smooth and even? Is your articulation good? Do you have complete control of your vibrato and use it creatively and intelligently? Can you do scoops and growls, slap tonguing etc.? And if you use special techniques do they make sense they way you use them?

When you play music do you have proper breath support in your phrases? This is a huge break point between amateur and pro. Pros play a phrase and it just flows because they support every note with a powerful uninterupted airstream. If your phrases start to wimp out as they get toward the middle or end point you'll hear that and much more on a recording.



Good luck!



:glasses7:
 
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