Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
130 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here are some things I've been doing:

1. Figure out the overall structure of the tune (AABA, blues, whatever).
2. Find the key centers, 2-5-1s, and other coherent progressions (e.g. 3-6-2-5-1).
3. Measure by measure, play the guide tones.
4. Play arpeggios of various kinds (ascending, descending, starting on 1, starting on 3...) over each chord.
5. Practice the 2-5-1 patterns I know over the appropriate bars.
6. Listen to recordings of the tune and transcribe and practice any ideas I like. (I don't actually do this that often since I'm currently mostly concerned with learning to use the vocabulary I already have, but should probably do it more.)

What else do you find helpful?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,807 Posts
Figure out which blues scales work over different sections.
A solo can breath with a little blues thrown in between chromaticism.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,202 Posts
If the tune has lyrics, I always memorize them and I find it helps me to be able to keep the melody in my back pocket while I improvise. I also practice doing four bar phrases of improv. and then four bars of melody. The lyrics just make this process easier for me. Often the sentiment of the tune as described in the lyric also helps to drive the direction of my solo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,901 Posts
I'm trying this method

1) Play the roots - whole tone
2) Play roots & if applicable other chord tones - half notes
3) Play chord tones & scale notes - quarter notes
4) Same as 3 but with 8th notes
5) Play chord tones, scale notes, and chromatic approach notes - 16th notes
6) Same as 5 but with triplets.
7) Now that you know the tune put that aside and just play.

Before, I used to:
1) Scan the chart to figure out the underlying key(s)
2) Memorize the melody and changes
3) Start playing and figuring out lines to play over the tune, establishing a framework.
 

·
Out of Office
Grafton + TH & C alto || Naked Lady 10M || TT soprano || Martin Comm III
Joined
·
30,105 Posts
Here are some things I've been doing:

1. Figure out the overall structure of the tune (AABA, blues, whatever).
2. Find the key centers, 2-5-1s, and other coherent progressions (e.g. 3-6-2-5-1).
3. Measure by measure, play the guide tones.
4. Play arpeggios of various kinds (ascending, descending, starting on 1, starting on 3...) over each chord.
5. Practice the 2-5-1 patterns I know over the appropriate bars.
6. Listen to recordings of the tune and transcribe and practice any ideas I like. (I don't actually do this that often since I'm currently mostly concerned with learning to use the vocabulary I already have, but should probably do it more.)

What else do you find helpful?
Unusually for this type of post I have to say "spot on" - I think you've more or less nailed what I would advise.

5. Practice the 2-5-1 patterns I know over the appropriate bars. But how about the 2-5-1 patterns you don't know? (sorry, just thought I'd throw that in there as a sort of make you scratch your head zen thing)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
130 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Some great ideas here -- especially the 4-bars-melody-4-bars-improv thing! I'd never heard of that before, but will definitely be giving it a try.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
130 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
462 Posts
This is quite a thorough checklist.

Something extremely helpful and important that I picked up about 20 years ago is to play the changes on piano - while humming the melody.
And do this in several keys.

It's amazing how well this gets the chords in your ears.

Happy studies!
~ Rick
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
202 Posts
Rick,
I like to play the changes on piano too, except I put the transposer on for the horn I'm most likely to play the tune with, then play the changes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
My personal advice -
ALWAYS start with the melody. When you keep the melody in your mind's ear at all times during playing, it will by itself direct you towards the correct changes.
I cannot stress this enough - the melody of the song/tune/composition is the most crucial!
After you have mastered the melody and you got it inside, and you can play the changes while thinking about the melody, you might notice that you do not have to look on the sheet music / written changes anymore. After this start transposing the song/playing it with recordings by different performers (especially singers usually have them in some weird keys).
That should do it - pretty quickly AND you will remember the song for a long time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,390 Posts
"My personal advice -
ALWAYS start with the melody. When you keep the melody in your mind's ear at all times during playing, it will by itself direct you towards the correct changes."

+1 Also, make sure the melody IS in your mind's ear and that you can sing or hum it without any accompaniment. When you can sing it, then learn it on your horn. Now you know it and can use it as a reference. Many players can play through any set of changes in front of them but they don't know the melody well enough to have it make the sense it should. If you are not going to use the melody you might as well just improvise on the changes and sound like you went to an Industrial Music College as many do. The combination of melody and changes is the answer plus your other suggestions. Ideas are up to you.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top