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Am I expecting too much - do people ever just pick up and make music?

Kath

Member
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119
I think I may be setting my bar too high. My vision is that I will be able to walk in a room of people playing music and just pick up my sax and join in. Is that unrealistic?? Does everyone practice a piece before playing it and expanding on it???
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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5,940
There's a lot of technique to playing in a group. There are plenty of issues around timing, synchronising, blending, articulation, balance, dynamics, tone etc. Apart from learning the music, there are many factors and reasons why rehearsing is necessary. And fun.
 

ArtyLady

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,030
I don't see why you can't aim to play at a jam session - especially blues - easy to hear the structure, and simple to solo over in a Minor Pentatonic/Blues Scale. Do you have a tutor who can work with you to achieve that? :D
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,618
I don't see why you can't aim to play at a jam session - especially blues - easy to hear the structure, and simple to solo over in a Minor Pentatonic/Blues Scale. Do you have a tutor who can work with you to achieve that? :D
+1 blues jams are great for 'just diving in'
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
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3,409
I think in truth you will be able to work the likelyhood of this out youself within a few weeks of playing but there's no reason you cannot achieve this goal and your own determination to succeed will drive you on,some people are naturals and find it easy others like myself find it harder for a multitude of reasons,I wish you good luck on your new sax journey the most important part is to enjoy your time on the sax which I believe is what most of the members do on this forum wether they consider themselves good sax players or mediocre....john
 

Sue

If at first you don't succeed try try try a Gin
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2,359
Another plus 1 for blues jam. Keep it simple - less really can be more. As Artylady (sorry don't know your name :blush:) says try sticking to the minor pentatonic/blues notes, although overused can become boring (imho) so add a few passing notes for interest. Once you've done it once you'll be so ready to do it again and again. Nothing like playing with others to get the artistic juices flowing. Enjoy :)
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
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3,409
Another plus 1 for blues jam. Keep it simple - less really can be more. As Artylady (sorry don't know your name :blush:) says try sticking to the minor pentatonic/blues notes, although overused can become boring (imho) so add a few passing notes for interest. Once you've done it once you'll be so ready to do it again and again. Nothing like playing with others to get the artistic juices flowing. Enjoy :)
If only I could do that it sounds so simple I'm sure I'm missing something....john
 

Mike

Senior Member
Messages
559
What Sue stated is actually very true and wise. We tend to think in terms of volume. We get influenced by others who think in those terms too.
Make the most of the notes you choose and try to breath life into each one. Each note has a specific characteristic and there's no law that say's we have to sound like Coltranes' sheets of sound to qualify as being an individual in our own right.
 

Kath

Member
Messages
119
thanks everyone - they're right - this is a really useful place to be! And encouraging too. I guess it is all about the journey rather than the destination :)
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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21,947
thanks everyone - they're right - this is a really useful place to be! And encouraging too. I guess it is all about the journey rather than the destination :)
The destination keeps changing. Enjoy the journey. If you get to your destination and stay there, the trip's over and life gets boring.
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,658
Kath.....you might find the book Effortless Mastery.....by Kenny Werner a useful read.

not sure where you are in your journey of developing technique ...but a number of top schools now use this book as a primer for playing with other people.


One other thing to keep in the back of your mind.....by all means learn all the notes and forms and harmony and all that....but the music isn't found in the notes...it's found in the spaces between the notes.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,059
Searching the soundscape for new horizons is an endless quest. The horizon remains the same distance no matter how far you travel. Don't forget your way home and remember not to try to bend the saxophone — that's impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth: there is no saxophone.
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,409
Searching the soundscape for new horizons is an endless quest. The horizon remains the same distance no matter how far you travel. Don't forget your way home and remember not to try to bend the saxophone — that's impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth: there is no saxophone.
Have you been watching THE MATRIX again....John
 

Sinne

Member
Messages
33
I focussed on jazz drumming for about 8 years in my teens and got drumming lessons from a well accomplished drummer who usually focussed on funk and pop. In that sense we both dove into that musical world, and he was excellent. From a volume perspective, jazz drumming tought me not to overdo volumes, your playing is there to make others sound better. I realised that this also goes for other instruments to some degree, especially in jazzy environments. In fact, I recently heard that Thelonious Monk said the same thing to his bandmembers in the sixties. Further down the road of music, I've come to the conclusion that in order to 'truly' play with others, one has to listen more than play (let's say 60% listening and 40% playing). Make sure you get addicted to listening to others, and let them feed your output. Have musical conversations, seek out that musical 'contact'.

I also read that human beings cognitively learn the most by explaining things to others. I'm certain I'm chiming in here to prove myself a point ;) Please excuse my ranting!
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,658
Sinne....I think that in order to be completely in the groove with others ....... one's playing has to be completely unconscious and 100% of your conscious attention is on listening to what is happening in the song...i.e. the sum of what the others are playing.
 

Sinne

Member
Messages
33
Sinne....I think that in order to be completely in the groove with others ....... one's playing has to be completely unconscious and 100% of your conscious attention is on listening to what is happening in the song...i.e. the sum of what the others are playing.
Wow, that's a groovy way to look at it. My percentages were meant to sketch some sort of energy balance between 'speaking' and 'listening', as it were. I assumed that producing sound does require energy and effort. There is no straight flow from surrounding sounds to what comes out of a player's instrument, unless the instrument is a perfect microphone with built in amplifier. ;}

Seriously though, I do believe that pretty much every player will have to deal with barricades that are hard to bypass (skill, for one). When I listen to the other players 100% I am simply not playing (I suppose men don't multitask so well eh?). In my view, those barriers are fine... Ideally every sound would trigger all sorts of creative musical ideas in me, and the music would be very much akin to conversations. I would try not to think too much before I speak, but bypassing everything the music might become either very absurdistic or very dull. Besides, conversations have their limits too... I guess I just dig barriers. :)
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
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3,409
Sinne....I think that in order to be completely in the groove with others ....... one's playing has to be completely unconscious and 100% of your conscious attention is on listening to what is happening in the song...i.e. the sum of what the others are playing.
That gives me a long way to go I'm still struggling to play along with a backing track without totally losing my own playing...John
 
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