Beginner 1st lesson down


Deputy junior apprentice 2nd class
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Week 1 of saxophony nearly completed and I've had my first lesson. In fact, I had two, one yesterday, one today, with different teachers, to see if there is a difference in styles of teaching, styles of learning, etc. and to see which one (if any) I preferred.

You see, while I've personally never had a music lesson before, I've taken my kids to plenty. From this I have deduced that not only are there good teachers and bad teachers, there are also good teachers that suit one person and good teachers that suit another. What are the odds that the first one you go to is the right one for you?

With guitar (my instrument since I was a nipper) I taught myself, and felt confident doing so. Some of that confidence has come over to the sax, but there's also the knowledge that there are a lot more bad habits for me to get into with the sax than with the guitar. Blowing down the sax I have a vague feeling that I'm combining music with plumbing, and I've never understood plumbing. Hence my trip to the teachers: I want someone that I can visit on an ad-hoc basis, as and when I feel it necessary, to rid me of bad habits, instill good, give me tips and hints, bolster my confidence, etc. I'll work out the rest.

There was a clear difference between the two. I think they're both good musicians, and both good teachers, but one style suits me much more than the other. To sum up:

  • I want someone who asks me about my experience, preferred music style, and what I actually want to learn (teacher 1 did, teacher 2 didn't).
  • I want someone who is interested enough to look over my sax for me (Jericho Tenor, he'd heard good things about them and, after playing it for a bit, and making one slight adjustment - with my permission - to the octave mechanism, he said he was impressed and that it was a fine instrument), and make sure that I know how best to put everything together, position it on the sling etc. (teacher 1 did, teacher 2 didn't)
  • I want someone who gets me to play a few notes, suggests a few changes to breathing and embouchure, and keeps at it until even I can hear an improvement, and then explain why he's suggested what he has. (teacher 1 did, teacher 2 didn't)
  • I want someone who then keeps showing me stuff for this introductory lesson so that I can see what will be possible in time (I was able to do most things - badly - but the fact that I heard myself almost do it was great). Teacher 1 did, teacher 2 didn't.
Above all I want someone who shows enthusiasm for the instrument and for the love of teaching the instrument. (Can you guess which teacher that was :D)

So, it wasn't a hard decision really. I'm sure teacher 2 will suit some people better, but playing music has always been a source of great enjoyment and fun to me, and I'm damned if I'm going to start getting all serious with the sax. I came away from yesterday's lesson with a grin on my face, but not from today's. I learnt from both, but I know I'll enjoy learning more from teacher 1 and that matters to me.

So watch out world, I've got a teacher and I'm not afraid to use him >:)
Great news, and really important to get the "right" teacher.

One of the things I most enjoyed with my main sax teacher was that we would choose a particular scale (minor, blues, pentatonic etc. ) and take it in turns to do some improvisation! It was great to develop ideas from each other and build a solo which had genuine conflict, challenge flow and
shared ideas. Sounds like your teacher would enjoy doing that with you when you are up to it.

Kind regards
Tom :thumb:
We actually did that! He showed me a simple blues scales in G, got a background beat going, and we jammed! And though he can rip it up completely, he kept his playing simple so I could join in and not feel a complete nelly.

I then went home and tortured the family for the evening. In G :D
Really pleased for you, it took me two attempts to find a teacher I was happy with.

Hello Timbo,

Sounds like you're in pretty much the same situation as I am - know the ins and outs of guitars but never touched a woodwind. What I've felt is I really need to concentrate on the embouchure and breathing technique, and not care so much about the fingers. As a guitarist who's mostly played progressive rock and heavy metal, my fingers are much faster than the rest of me, so I've needed to slow down with the sax to get it right.

A lot of the time I don't really even play songs or scales, just try to "taste" the way the air flows in my mouth, bending notes up and down (trying not to tighten or loosen my embouchure, just changing the size and shape of my oral cavity), blowing overtones, and just generally trying to get a feel of how to shape the sound with just the mouth.

The longer you play the sax, the more connections you make with everything you can do with the guitar.

Thanks Jeanette.

Jori. Yep, I'm doing a lot of that. My fingers don't sound as fast as yours, but they're certainly in better nick than my breathing and embouchure ;}
Really helpful post, thanks. Would do a lot of music teachers good to read it.
Ah... two fellow guitarists at the same stage of sax playing as myself and with what appears to be similar attitudes... nice :) my guitar fingers move faster than my brain too

Thanks for the tutor post Timbo - i have a tutor in mind but will also now look for a second as a compare. good idea - why get bogged down into something that doesnt work. guitar fingers move faster than my brain too...

To be honest, there's quite a few things that move faster than my brain. Snails, glaciers, continental drift...

Good luck with the search :thumb:

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