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Best bit of advice ?

chadders

Senior Member
Messages
314
Wotcha!

I have recently changed teachers. When my new teacher saw how I played and sounded he immediately suggested that I needed to take a bit more mouthpiece into my mouth. Apparently my bottom lip was slightly damping the reed - Neither of my two previous teachers spotted this - and I had previously been told I have a good tone, but my tone is now like my old tone on steroids - An amazing simple observation/tip which has improved my playing incredibly.

Have you ever had a simple bit of advice which has had a big impact and improvement on your playing ? Go on, spill the beans !!

Chad
 

PaulM

Member
Messages
143
Have you ever had a simple bit of advice which has had a big impact and improvement on your playing ?
Yes Chad, all to often I'm afraid. The two most common ones from my patient teacher are:

- That's fine, now play it as it's written
- No Paul, rubato doesn't mean you're allowed to slow down during the tricky bits and speed up when it's easy

As a beginner I'm wonderfully bad, but I don't care. Playing sax is a hoot on so many different levels.

Cheers,

Paul
 

adrianallan

Member
Messages
50
Yes Chad, all to often I'm afraid. The two most common ones from my patient teacher are:

- That's fine, now play it as it's written
- No Paul, rubato doesn't mean you're allowed to slow down during the tricky bits and speed up when it's easy

As a beginner I'm wonderfully bad, but I don't care. Playing sax is a hoot on so many different levels.

Cheers,

Paul
The best advice I've ever been given is "practise everything with a metronome".

I never had a sense of inner rhythm until I did this consitently.
 

Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
Messages
508
Attack! Or, in more modern parlance, "Go for it!"

Worst bit - from my piano teacher when I was about eight: "You try to do things you can't. Stop trying."
 
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PaulM

Member
Messages
143
The best advice I've ever been given is "practise everything with a metronome". I never had a sense of inner rhythm until I did this consitently.
Adrian, what's your secret of being able to hear a metronome while you're playing? I can drown out my traditional wind-up wooden one with ease no matter how softly I try to play. My understanding is that the electronic ones are even quieter.

Paul
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
Adrian, what's your secret of being able to hear a metronome while you're playing? I can drown out my traditional wind-up wooden one with ease no matter how softly I try to play. My understanding is that the electronic ones are even quieter.

Paul
Keep the metronome on 2 and 4 and use it only to check if you are right. Do not "sit" on the metronome.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
Best bit of advice:
"there are only three chords: Tonic, Dominant and Subdominant"
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Adrian, what's your secret of being able to hear a metronome while you're playing? I can drown out my traditional wind-up wooden one with ease no matter how softly I try to play. My understanding is that the electronic ones are even quieter.

Paul
But you can put one one a raised music stand to be nearer your ear. I can just about hear my Korg MA-30 if it's on the stand, even when I'm playing the bari. Or you can amplify it (eg through your stereo).
 

TonyM

Member
Messages
34
With regard to drowning out the metronome, I use one in almost everything for daily practice and I find the KDM-2 to be really nice and loud. Sometimes I just turn the volume down and use the light that flashes on the beat. It also has a headphone jack and the volume is adjustable. On the previous model, the KDM-1, the headphone output was not adjustable and it gave me a terrible headache to practise that way. The new model is very adaptable. The person who put me on to the KDM-1 many years ago told me that it was designed for drummers. I don't know it if that is true but it is certainly the loudest metronome that I've come across.
 

PaulM

Member
Messages
143
Thanks Tony, I've looked at the reviews of the KDM2 on Amazon. They all use the word loud, often in upper case. Sounds like just the ticket, only louder.

Cheers Paul

PS apologies to Chad for the mini hijack of the thread. I'll belt up now.
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,557
Keep playing - don't hesitate when you make a mistake, and don't signal it to the audience
(taken in context of course, and absolutely necessary when playing with others - I always used to stop and want to go back and try again. The problem then is that you never get to practice the end!)

and (probably related)
play with confidence, even if it's wrong. As my teacher pointed out.... then she can help me correct mistakes but she can't help if I don't play anything, as she's no idea where I am struggling.

This 2nd piece of advice resulted in a strange conversation at a Band rehearsal, where the conductor looked squarely at me and told me I was playing the piece wrong (I wasn't the only Alto 2 player, but I think he thought somehow I was in control of the others). His wife backed my up by saying..."well, no but she is playing with confidence"
In my defence, it transpired that I was playing correctly, but others were not, and I was in the minority, so the overall effect was incorrect.
 

adrianallan

Member
Messages
50
Adrian, what's your secret of being able to hear a metronome while you're playing? I can drown out my traditional wind-up wooden one with ease no matter how softly I try to play. My understanding is that the electronic ones are even quieter.

Paul
I would take the advice of the other on here re. the metronome. However, don't the electronic ones have a headphone socket you could put in one ear while you are playing?

I learned to improve my sense of inner rhythm while playing the guitar and the piano, not the sax, which I believe is hard to play really quiet. You don't need an inner-rhythm so much if you are playing in a band, but if you are a soloist without accompaniment (eg piano or classical guitar) it is absolutely essential to have that imaginary metronome running through your head, even when you bend the rhythm a little for expressive reasons. It is like the foundations of a house, to me - and in a live situation it keeps the piece supported even when your playing gets a little flakey.
 
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