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A rather silly problem with reading!

Fraser Jarvis

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1,910
OK, The problem is this, although i can sight read quite strongly (to a point) and am able to play/keep time at most tempos i really strugle at anything above high C, i seem to lose the plot when i go beyond this and consequently the timing goes to pot and i'm lost, sometimes resorting to stopping and counting up from top G to find out what the note is! This is getting to the point of being rediculous, and has been going on far to long for my liking now.

Has anybody else had problems in this area, and what have you found helps to get over it?

I know it's basic stuff and it shouldent be happening, i mean i can improvise and use altissimo strongly and confidently so whats going on?

Thanks in advance...
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
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3,409
Hi Frazer

I know exactly how you feel, I'm the same and funnily enough the problem was noticed by my tutor this week and he recommended I practice scales that run into the high register so you can become automatically familiar with the fingering for these higher notes and what they are. Hope this helps you ...john
 

Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
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1,910
Hi John, the problem isen't with fingerings, it never has been, it's note recognition when reading notes above the ledger lines, like high F or E for example.
Cheers.
 

stefank

Member
Messages
366
The other thing is getting used to all those ledger lines. As someone who came to saxophone from flute I'm quite comfortable with lots of ledger lines above the staff, but it's a different story if I have to cope with lots below.

Unfortunately it's just another case of practice makes perfect.
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
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695
The Universal Method has a section called "preparatory exercises for high notes". They are all very slow, and they would allow to work out your spot on the ledger line.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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I know, but I was talking about ledger lines, using the string for the joke. :))) And I bet you realised that as well. Teachers... >:)

Can you imagine the sound of a violin tuned in thirds in equal temperament..... :w00t:
 

VirusKiller

Member
Messages
449
Hi John, the problem isen't with fingerings, it never has been, it's note recognition when reading notes above the ledger lines, like high F or E for example.
This is exactly the point though: a moment's hesitation, subconscious or otherwise, is probably what is messing up your timing. If you improve your note recognition, I'm sure the timing will sort itself out.
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
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3,409
Hi Frazer

I think you missed my point a bit, when you practice scales you don't think THAT'S C press them THAT'S D press them ETC you just do it automatically as you read it off the stave and it kind of works the other way round because you know what the notes are that you are fingering,so when you practice playing scales into the high register it becomes automatic and logged into you subconcious playing and then you don't really need to recognise exactly what those notes are when you see them written in the music.Playing music smoothly is really all about being automatic in your fingering rather than automatic in your recognition of the name of the note (simples)...best of luck ...john
 
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old git

Tremendous Bore
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5,545
Why not approach the problem from another direction?

What is wrong with a better and simpler form of writing music?

There will be the same squeals of protest from those who rejected Jim Schmidt's logical saxophone and flute fingering system. Takes the form of, "It took me long enough to learn the modified Böhm fingering system on the saxophone so I'm not going to learn a new system." Presumably they would also be happier not using anything propelled by internal combustion engines, preferring wood, peat or coal fired steam engines as they preceded Adolphe's invention. ;}

Put on your thinking caps and make suggestions.

Please note:-Only those physically possible without damage or pain, will be attempted.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Why not approach the problem from another direction?

What is wrong with a better and simpler form of writing music?

There will be the same squeals of protest from those who rejected Jim Schmidt's logical saxophone and flute fingering system. Takes the form of, "It took me long enough to learn the modified Böhm fingering system on the saxophone so I'm not going to learn a new system." Presumably they would also be happier not using anything propelled by internal combustion engines, preferring wood, peat or coal fired steam engines as they preceded Adolphe's invention. ;}
For the same reason that Betamax didn't take over from VHS and a lot of other examples, like Mac, esperanto, Selmer MkVIs, Blu Ray. Why didn't Oboe & Bassoon keywork get revised a la Boehm?

Innovations only take off if there's a big enough advantage for the buyers to switch. And the more inertia (embedded) in the old system, the harder it is to get change accepted. Or there's a huge advertising spend to convice people that they need the new standard, when they don't.
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
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3,557
Not wishing to state the blindingly obvious, but if you have no problems with the fingering, why not simply write in the salient notes in pencil above the stave?
As a recorder player for years, coming to the sax 2 years ago, any notes above the G were challenging for me to read.
My sax teacher suggested learning the scales of e.g E - writing them down and reading them off, but I found I just played the scale rather than reading the notes. So I didn't learn what those notes above the stave on the ledger lines actually were.
So, I write the note names above the stave. This way I can play the piece without the hassle of stopping to "count up" to work out the note.
I have found that slowly I have started to recognise those notes much better now.
I wouldn't say I was perfect yet, but I have no problems at all with A, B and C now, just E and F to go :)))
 

Christian H

New Member
Messages
8
Hey Fraser,

I used to struggle with this, just like most I guess. What really worked for me was to separate playing and reading, as it is easier to learn one thing at a time.

Try reading through music when you have some spare time, without thinking about getting your sax out. At first read the note out aloud, as this is more affective than just thinking it. Hopefully you'll be surprised at just how quickly you'll learn to recognise the notes.

Sometimes its just as good to leave your sax in its case!
Cheerio Christian
 

stefank

Member
Messages
366
Not wishing to state the blindingly obvious, but if you have no problems with the fingering, why not simply write in the salient notes in pencil above the stave?
As a recorder player for years, coming to the sax 2 years ago, any notes above the G were challenging for me to read.
My sax teacher suggested learning the scales of e.g E - writing them down and reading them off, but I found I just played the scale rather than reading the notes. So I didn't learn what those notes above the stave on the ledger lines actually were.
So, I write the note names above the stave. This way I can play the piece without the hassle of stopping to "count up" to work out the note.
I have found that slowly I have started to recognise those notes much better now.
I wouldn't say I was perfect yet, but I have no problems at all with A, B and C now, just E and F to go :)))
Then again, I've often found that students who "write in the notes" just wind up reading the letters rather than the notation, so in the end they learn nothing (or little). Sometimes you've just got to bite the bullet and do it the hard way - it's all for the best in the long run.
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,409
Hey Fraser,

I used to struggle with this, just like most I guess. What really worked for me was to separate playing and reading, as it is easier to learn one thing at a time.

Try reading through music when you have some spare time, without thinking about getting your sax out. At first read the note out aloud, as this is more affective than just thinking it. Hopefully you'll be surprised at just how quickly you'll learn to recognise the notes.

Sometimes its just as good to leave your sax in its case!
Cheerio Christian
I like this idea it's a good one for me....john
 

Filton

Member
Messages
243
Hey Fraser,

I used to struggle with this, just like most I guess. What really worked for me was to separate playing and reading, as it is easier to learn one thing at a time.

Try reading through music when you have some spare time, without thinking about getting your sax out. At first read the note out aloud, as this is more affective than just thinking it. Hopefully you'll be surprised at just how quickly you'll learn to recognise the notes.

Sometimes its just as good to leave your sax in its case!
Cheerio Christian
Absolutely spot on advice - it is actually an amazingly beneficial exercise to sit and 'read' through a piece of music both naming the notes and also singing it in your head.
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,557
Then again, I've often found that students who "write in the notes" just wind up reading the letters rather than the notation, so in the end they learn nothing (or little). Sometimes you've just got to bite the bullet and do it the hard way - it's all for the best in the long run.
depends what you're trying to achieve, I guess.
It helps you to learn the notes, but more importantly to continue playing at the same time. You can't just give up on a piece because you can't read a couple of the notes.
I don't write in every single note above the stave, just the ones that stump me at first - that might be the first note of a run, or one that no matter what I do it just never gets read right for some reason.
I would happily write in any note, if I seem to persistantly read it wrong. Indeed, in one of the pieces I am currently learning, I have written in a low E (the one just above middle C) as for some reason I kept misplaying it.
Do what it takes, but don't stop playing, or play bum notes just because you don't think writing the notes in is a good idea.
 
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