All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians

a lightbulb moment

El Robo

I've been practicing quite hard of late specifically for my upcoming grade exam in March (Gd4 and working on theory for gd5, at my age I need a little time :) ). This led me into a trap as all I've been concerned about is the exam and had forgotten about the music or rather what I was trying to say with my playing.

Anyway I listened to alot of versions of the pieces I have to perform and then practiced with those in mind. Had my lesson yesterday and voila! My teacher said she would have scored me 29/30 and that I had made the pieces my own. I felt so much 'in the music' I think is the best way to describe it. The nice things she said were great but the best thing was the feeling that I had played to the best of my ability and that my teacher on piano had enjoyed accompanying me.

I had a similar experience some years ago when I was struggling with improv on my guitar. I had spent a goodly amount of time learning my scales etc but it still didn't feel natural, it always felt scripted, which it usually was!! Then one evening I put on a blues in c backing track and started playing my set solo. When I made a mistake I just carried on and lots of nice riffs seemed to pop out (and mistakes but I told myself that was jazz :) ). My approach was different to the piece and from that point in time I lost all my concerns about improv and just enjoy it for what it and a chance to say something about the music I love if that makes any sense?

What did I learn from from these two experiences? Without the study and practice none of it would have been possible but as important are the reasons we do this. To enjoy it, savour every beautiful note, commune with our fellow musicians and pass this on to anybody listening. Thanks for reading my ramblings.



Sax-Mad fiend!
Hi El Robo.
Just wanted to say hello.
I hadn't spotted you here before, but I see we are neighbours!
I did my TG Jazz sax grade 4 last June and will be doing grade 6 next March (probably)
My improv is dire, I am in need of serious inspiration, but have yet to find it, although I keep practicing and listening to others.
Well done for working so hard and doing so well.

El Robo

Hiya Mandy,

ah yes you failed to spot me as I am one of those sneaky ninja sax players :) look out for the flying death reeds :)))

congratulations on you grade 4 sucess and good luck with the grade 6.

when I started improv on the guitar a friend said before I could do it I needed a firm grasp of the melody line from memory. then put on a backing track and change the line slightly each time you go round the section and as time goes on it sounds more and more like yours. Then add in some licks you have stolen, erm I mean admired from others and that can add other flavours to your improv. Try a few scale runs or chromatic runs, changing registers and you should soon get to know what works for you. If it sounds good to your ear chances are it sounds good.

One of the reasons I picked up the sax was to approach improv on guitar from a different angle. this has opened up a whole new world because although I've always liked jazz/bebop/swing I now listen to it in a different way. I also listen to a whole new bunch of top quality musicians I otherwise would not have tried. oh yes I've become addicted to playing too!! All hail to the sax :)

as for the Malverns. what better place could we live in? gazing out of the window as i typpppeeepppep. oops must stop gazing when typing! :D the snow is falling and I think to myself.......have to clear the drive again work 'til 27th dec result :D

Rob...i mean El robo (note to self to remember to always use secret ninja name)
Saxholder Pro
Help!Mailing List
Top Bottom