ABRSM Jazz Sax Grade 1


Sax-Mad fiend!
The Malverns, Worcs
Hi Chris,
I listened to the whole thing while searching or the syllabus online - so I didn't watch you!

I was trying to check that that you didn't need alive accompanist (which, it seems, you don't)

I liked Sonnymoon very much, and don't think anything stood out for me that needed improving.

I felt a little lost in the middle of Mack the Knife, like we'd arrived with determination and then weren't too sure why we were there anymore. Is it an improvised middle section? also it just seemed to drift away at the end. Was that a written ending - if so, then I guess there's nothing we can do with it.

Oye Coma Va was also a good piece, again it has a couple of small sections where I felt a little lost but not for as long as in Mack the Knife.

Unfortunately I couldn't really hear the backing tracks once you started playing, so I'm not able to comment on your timing or keeping with / off the beat.

Overall these were good presentations, my one suggestion would be relax a little more on your upper-most notes - they felt a little strained, maybe you are biting.

And enjoy your performance - that is definitely worthy of a great mark.
@MandyH Thanks for that. Yes, the backing track is a little too quiet, I need to get an amp for it. Each song has about 20-30 bars of written music which I am supposed to follow fairly closely, then 8-12 bars for impro, then 4 - 8 bars to wrap up, where I am free to embellish a little - so the areas where you felt lost are probably my improvising. I'll take a look at that. Thanks again Mandy.


Senior Member
Wolverhampton West Midlands
Hi Chris,good luck with your exam I did 1-3 abrsm jazz,but did not like the pieces f0r no 4,and I think they changed the syllabus,before you only had to do so many scales,arpeggios and other stuff,but I think you have to do everything in the syllabus now....anyway, you know what to do regards playing the tunes,just relax and enjoy,make sure you take everything,if you playing the cd,make sure you pack it,and if you supplying your own cd player make sure you pack the lead or batteries are ok.Bumnote.
Good luck with your exam Chris. I'm thinking of going for grade 1 next year. How do you know when you're ready for taking it?
Hi @andyjb good question - I went on to their website and looked at the syllabus, and thought - well I can learn those scales, and those songs don't look too hard, so I'll give it a go. I have been learning the sax for about 5 months, and I practicing about an hour or so per day, so if you have been doing a similar amount or more, you could go for it.
Also - if you have a teacher - they should be able to guide you.
Hi Chris- I’m also working on Oye Come Va this term, in the jazz workshop I go to. There are 4 versions on Tom Unwin’s YouTube site, in the Exeter Workshop - you might like to check them out
Good luck,
Ps That song is a terrible ear worm - don’t finish your practice with it, or you’ll be humming it all day. ;)
Hi Chris
I'm unofficially on Grade 4 Jazz, my teacher passes me off when she thinks I'm good enough as I'd have to travel quite far for exams.

Don't forget to carry on practising sight reading. As the ABRSM Jazz books only contain say 8 or so bars of music then the impro part then another 8 or so bars. I have found when I come to play as part of an orchestra i'm not very confident when it comes to sight reading, and am lost if my friend (a very good player) doesn't turn up... she hides my mistakes:)
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