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Beginner Carry on regardless or wait for teacher...

Alan M

New Member
Messages
11
Feeling incredibly frustrated at the moment. I don`t seem to be able to blow the same notes. twice. :confused2:
I realise its VERY early days for me and I`m probably trying to "run before I can walk"
With that in mind, I wondered if I would be better off waiting until I have seen a teacher. As a total novice, I could be making fundamental errors that are actually doing more harm than good. :confused: The thing is though, every time I see it I want to pick it up :D Opinions anyone ?
 

trimmy

One day i will...
Messages
10,272
How long do you have to wait for a teacher ? I don't see any harm in practising scales and attempting some basic sight reading it will only help you.
 

Sunray

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,708
Hey Alan ...

Just pick it up and blow mate ... :shocked:

Enjoy the freedom while you can ... :w00t:

Once your teacher gets you going you will need to spend all your time - Doing as you are told ... :)))

Have fun mate ... :)

Just work on getting your chops toughened up ... :thumb:
 

Alan M

New Member
Messages
11
How long do you have to wait for a teacher ?

No set date yet so could be a while.


I don't see any harm in practising scales and attempting some basic sight reading it will only help you.

Ok, thanks

Hey Alan ...
Just pick it up and blow mate ... :shocked:

Thats pretty much been my attitude, so far, but nagging doubts have crept in

Enjoy the freedom while you can ... :w00t:
Once your teacher gets you going you will need to spend all your time - Doing as you are told ... :)))
Have fun mate ... :)
Just work on getting your chops toughened up ... :thumb:

Cheers :cheers:
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
Feeling incredibly frustrated at the moment. I don`t seem to be able to blow the same notes. twice. :confused2:
What exactly do you mean by that? Do you mean twice in a row during a single practice session, or do you mean from practice session to practice session?

The reason I ask is because how far you slide the mouthpiece onto the neck will affect the tuning of the sax. So if you're not paying attention to how far you're sliding the mouthpiece onto the neck this may change every time you remove and replace the mouthpiece.

Also, there's an idea location for the mouthpiece (i.e. when the sax is in proper tune). If the mouthpiece isn't in that position (i.e. not nearly far enough, or too far on the neck), then you may very well experience unstable notes. So find the proper place to set the mouthpiece, and mark it on the cork.

Also different mouthpieces may need to have different positions as well. So if you use more than one mouthpiece they may need to have their own marks.

When I first started I had a similar problem. It turned out that I wasn't pushing the mouthpiece onto the neck nearly far enough almost by a full inch. And my notes were quite unstable too until I fixed that problem.

These are the kinds of things a teacher can hopefully help you with to get you started off on the right foot.

I realise its VERY early days for me and I`m probably trying to "run before I can walk"
I'm a strong supporter of running before you can walk. ;}

Especially on something like a musical instrument. You're not going to scrap your knees when you fall, so go right right ahead and stumble all over the place! You'll eventually learn to run!

With that in mind, I wondered if I would be better off waiting until I have seen a teacher. As a total novice, I could be making fundamental errors that are actually doing more harm than good. :confused: The thing is though, every time I see it I want to pick it up :D Opinions anyone ?
I don't think it's going to hurt to mess around with it yourself. That depends on how long you mess around with it before you find a teacher. What is usually bad about learning to play an instrument without a teacher is that you tend to build up bad habits. But it takes time to create a "habit". So your mistakes aren't going to become habitual right away. But put off seeing a teacher for 6 months or a year, and your bad habits will have become far more difficult to break out of.

What are you goals?

I'm just asking this more in terms of food for thought for you.

What do you hope to accomplish on the sax? Classical music? Jazz? Playing with a large professional band of orchestra where you are expected to sight-read from sheet music? Playing with smaller more-relaxed ensembles where the focus is on improvisation?

When seeking a teacher you should consider your goals and try to find a teacher that is in harmony with what you hope to achieve. How easy or difficult that might be will depend on the pool of teachers you have to choose from. It's probably difficult to find teachers who are much good at teaching improv. You're almost better off just finding other saxophonists to jam with for that and just pick up on what they are doing. That's probably better than paying for a teacher in any case (assuming your main goal is to just jam).

Not to say that there aren't also good improv teachers to be had, but chances are they are going to expect you to at least have a fairly good knowledge of scales, modes, and keys.

But for right now it sounds like you need a "technique teacher" more so than a "music teacher" at this point. You say that you can't play consistent notes. That's a matter of "technique", not music theory. A good teacher should be good at teaching both technique and music theory, but that's not always the case.

Anyway, best of luck in your saxophonic journey. :thumb:
 
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jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,000
Feeling incredibly frustrated at the moment. I don`t seem to be able to blow the same notes. twice. :confused2:
I realise its VERY early days for me and I`m probably trying to "run before I can walk"
With that in mind, I wondered if I would be better off waiting until I have seen a teacher. As a total novice, I could be making fundamental errors that are actually doing more harm than good. :confused: The thing is though, every time I see it I want to pick it up :D Opinions anyone ?
Some beginners on the instrument develop bad habits before getting instruction which are hard to break later on. That said, you would be safe following the directions given by Bruce Pearson on forming the Saxophone Embouchure

Blowing pitches on the mouthpiece alone can be challenging even for more experienced players. I recommend that beginning students play just the mouthpiece and neck (crook) to begin to develop the tone production. The alto neck and mouthpiece should produce an Ab concert, and the tenor neck and mouthpiece should produce an E concert. Once a loud, clear, and steady tone can be held for 20 seconds or more on the neck and mouthpiece, then a student can work on long tones on the saxophone using the same air stream and embouchure.
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
Some beginners on the instrument develop bad habits before getting instruction which are hard to break later on. That said, you would be safe following the directions given by Bruce Pearson on forming the Saxophone Embouchure

Blowing pitches on the mouthpiece alone can be challenging even for more experienced players. I recommend that beginning students play just the mouthpiece and neck (crook) to begin to develop the tone production. The alto neck and mouthpiece should produce an Ab concert, and the tenor neck and mouthpiece should produce an E concert. Once a loud, clear, and steady tone can be held for 20 seconds or more on the neck and mouthpiece, then a student can work on long tones on the saxophone using the same air stream and embouchure.
This is a nice little test for working on embouchure. But I sure hope you meant Eb for the tenor neck and mouthpiece because that's what I'm getting.
 

Alan M

New Member
Messages
11
Thanks for the reply SD. Plenty of food for thought there.

But for right now it sounds like you need a "technique teacher" more so than a "music teacher" at this point.
I agree.
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,661
Hi Alan, have you had a look at this LINK
You may be able to add yourself to the map and hopefully find a fellow cafe member close to you, who may be able to give you a "helping hand" (the clue's in the title!) ;}
 
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rabidric

New Member
Messages
15
Hi all. This thread is of real interest to me as I'm sat here facing the same dilemma for a couple of reasons. First, how do you know a good teacher when you don't know anyone else that plays especially not near enough to use the same one? If you're bull headed like me you won't want to ask for help! And then there's the embarrassment of showing a "pro" just how bad your habits are and then opening yourself up to the inevitable tutting and that's not meant as a criticism of teachers - I can't say anything about them as I haven't used one yet - I just couldn't think of a better word. Also, is the pupil in danger of losing their individual style and simply becoming a partial clone of the teacher? That may sound harsh but there seems to me to be any number of different techniques which have been developed without the imposition of another persons preferences - which leads on to... Did any of the greats - please don't imagine that I think I will ever be anything more than competent, if that - go for tuition? Were they just naturally more gifted than the rest of us mere mortals and so didn't need help? Was it even available to them?
How long do you carry on teacherless? I made what seemed like great progress for two or three months and now seem to have hit a plateau with much slower advancement, which I kind of reckon is probably typical - is it, bearing in mind I am having to learn to read music at the same type as the sax? I don't have a goal of playing in public - this is solely for my own entertainment so time doesn't come into it. My goal is to be able to play Baker Street and Hazel O'Connors Will You - probably like so many others.

Cheers
 

allansto

Senior Member
Messages
471
First of all...... youre on the very medium of teaching / learning.........the internet
You want scales .........download em
You want fingering positions .........download em
you want emouchure help / technique........download it
Every thing you need until finding a teacher/lesson is here
calm down and relax
youre on an incredible journey that few people get to experience
If youre not havin fun now then what happens when things get hard.
ask the internet all the help is there.
play relaxed and slow down

Ps I agree with trimmy and sunray.
 
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Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,944
Most teachers that I've encountered are sympathetic and aren't going to haul you over the coals. Initially focus will be on basic technique - hold, fingering, embouchhure etc. In the early stages questions around 'style' are likely to be rather academic
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
And they're so used to kids not working, that getting an adult who's prepared to put the effort in is a breath of fresh air.... Couple fo friends of mine who're music teachers say this...

My experience has been that there's no criticism, just an honest assessment of where you are, where you want to be and a relaxed 'try this' approach to teaching. Other methods don't really work, especially with adults.

Get a teacher locally, arrnage a trial lesson to see if there's a good fit and take it from there. Playing an instrument is really about opening up to everyone, the teacher is just the first step.... It's a humbling, fullfilling and reqarding experience.

There are some teachers giving regular input here. Bit quiet at the moment, I guess cos it's Xmas/New Year, but hopefully one of them will pick up on this.

As for greats.... I don't think there's one who got to be great without a lot of feedback and help from other musicians. Whether it was all formal lessons or not is a different question.
 

Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,910
If you're bull headed like me you won't want to ask for help! And then there's the embarrassment of showing a "pro" just how bad your habits are and then opening yourself up to the inevitable tutting
Theres absolutely no need to feel worried or embarrassed, remember they've seen it all before...and probably worse than you, also, YOU are paying THEM to help you.
is the pupil in danger of losing their individual style and simply becoming a partial clone of the teacher?
No!
Did any of the greats - please don't imagine that I think I will ever be anything more than competent, if that - go for tuition? Were they just naturally more gifted than the rest of us mere mortals and so didn't need help?
Not necessarily, i think many of them grew up in an environment were music was so prevalent they just learned from each other...and consequently couldn't help getting better and better..

I made what seemed like great progress for two or three months and now seem to have hit a plateau with much slower advancement,
I think this is quite normal and nothing to worry about.

And regarding finding a teacher in your area, you could try the teachers section of this site.
 

rabidric

New Member
Messages
15
Thanks Fraser. Now why didn't I think of looking at that section?! Feel a bit silly now. Oh well I've had plenty of practice over the years.

Thanks again - I'll check it out now.
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,944
Just to add to what KevG said earlier, many teachers will insist on having a 'trial' session with you at no cost to assess you and to discuss your needs before going any further.
 
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