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Do the best ideas come while down the pub?

PaulM

Member
Messages
143
Picture the scene: Christmas Eve in the pub with family and friends. The log fire is burning, I've a pint of Good Old Boy in my hand and a local brass band is playing carols. Life is good. When the music ends we got chatting about playing instruments. Someone says "Have you ever wanted to play an instrument Paul?" "Yes I've always fancied the soprano saxophone". My wife who is an accomplished harpsichord, piano and flute player looked at me in some surprise and said "you've never mentioned that before". Well, I hadn't but then she'd never asked either. I explained it all started back in the late sixties with those Wayne Shorter solos on In a Silent Way; one of the few LPs I had to replace because I wore it flat by playing it so much. She'd never heard of Wayne Shorter; she can name every obscure baroque composer known to man, but few jazz ones.

I have a neice who majored on the saxophone while at Trinity, so I called her for a chat. After persuading her that I really hadn't been under the influence when the calling came despite the venue, she suggested that going straight to soprano wasn't the best of ideas and suggested an alto or perhaps a tenor would be a more sensible starting instrument. To say that my wife was enthusiastic for me to start learning is an understatement, so as soon as the shops returned to normal in January, I was marched off to Dawkes in Maidenhead and left with a shiny new Yamaha YAS275 and some beginners books. A month and a bit later I have a teacher and despite my late in life start, she tells me I am making rapid progress. Mind you I'm retired, so I can practice a lot and I do. To be honest I've been surprised how much I'm enjoying myself. I can't wait until I feel sufficiently competent to blow a small fortune on a decent soprano, but that's a way off yet.

Thanks for the online community folks, just poking around here has been hugely informative and a lot of fun too. Long may it continue.

Cheers,

Paul
 

Pyrografix

Senile Member
Messages
1,026
Welcome aboard the Madhouse Paul!

You'll soon have the soprano and tenor to go along with you alto!

Enjoy the ride,

Cheers

Amanda
 

Chris

Well Known
Subscriber
Messages
3,821
Hi Paul, welcome to the Café, sounds like you have found the right instrument for you..have fun and enjoy playing..


Chris
 

Filton

Member
Messages
243
As long as your great idea isn't buying the pub (been there and made that mistake myself !) all is good !

Welcome to world of all things Sax!
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,773
Eyup Paul.

Yes Shorter's playing on Silent Way did it for me too, also on "Jack Johnson" by Miles. He can't put a foot wrong in my opinion.
As for me....all the right notes but not necessarily...

You'll have great fun, until you hit a brick wall and need some solace. You may get some, you may not. It depends if we've had a good day or not.

Enjoy your tootin'

Andy
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
6,006
I'd have suggested you started with soprano since that's what you wanted to play. Many people seem to have an irrational fear of them. I've no idea why.

Anyway - hi and good luck.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,937
I'd have suggested you started with soprano since that's what you wanted to play. Many people seem to have an irrational fear of them. I've no idea why.

Anyway - hi and good luck.

Agree. No-one puts people off starting on soprano clarinet.
 

PaulM

Member
Messages
143
Thanks for the welcome folks. You are all very kind.

I've no idea if playing a soprano is like the playing the top end of the alto; only more so, 'cos I've never had my hands on one. I've just started learning a piece with staccato Es three ledger lines above the stave. More often than not I just get farty noises rather than tones, so I clearly have some way to go before I've mastered the upper range. My teacher said I shouldn't be surprised if it took me a couple of weeks before the high notes started to sound right. I can creep up on high E by not tonguing en route and it plays, albeit not always with very wonderful intonation, but that isn't staccato. The one thing I've noticed is that there's no substitute for 'gob hours' on the instrument; though that's probably not the correct technical term. So I guess it's just a matter of practice. I'd love to be in the position by the end of the year when I can spoil myself with a soprano for Christmas and know that I won't embarass myself when I try and play it.

Best wishes,

Paul
 

Sunray

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,708
What! You're gonna wait til Xmas before getting that dream sax ... :shocked:

Wossup wiv ya mate ... Your birfday must be before then ...:old:

Don't you know how to beg ... :)))

Welcome to the Cafe Paul ... :thumb:
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
26,445
I'd have suggested you started with soprano since that's what you wanted to play. Many people seem to have an irrational fear of them. I've no idea why.

It is odd how people think they can't start on soprano. Both the tutors I approached were fine with it but when I went to purchase one in the local music shop I am sure the older guy wouldn't have sold me one as he was convinced I should start on alto.

Needless to say I purchased one secondhand and haven't looked back I love it..........................................still a long way to go tho!!

Jx
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Yep! Total myth the whole "don't start on a soprano sax" thing - generally most beginners used to be in their teens and start on alto as tenor was thought to be too heavy. Soprano sax can be slightly harder in terms of getting the notes at an accurate pitch, but that is surmountable. I started on soprano sax as I really liked Jan Garbarek. No problem!

Anyway, a big welcome to Cafe Sax from the Skabertawe Lites Horn Section, down by yer in South Wales, mind. Hope you have a really enjoyable time being part of the community here! As you are starting on Alto here is something to inspire you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaoLU6zKaws !

Of course you could have started on Soprano:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mjgr9UJuODM

You decide!
Kind regards
Tom
 

PaulM

Member
Messages
143
Evening Tom,

As you are starting on Alto here is something to inspire you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaoLU6zKaws !

A confirmed batchelor acquaintance of mine told me something about having to practice in a cottage or somesuch to be able to play like that. I didn't really understand what he meant though. I doubt he was being serious.

Of course you could have started on Soprano:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mjgr9UJuODM

Until recently I had little knowledge of Jan Garbarek other than those recordings he did with the Hilliard Ensemble years ago where he played soprano over plainchant to turn it into a kind of new age aural sedative. It's nice to know he's done other, though probably less profitable work. Judging by some of the other videos of that quartet on YouTube the drummer is rather good too. I must hear more of their stuff.

Cheers,

Paul
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,199
A couple of years ago a young pupil (8) wanted to start having saxophone lessons.
Due to his little hands I recommended soprano rather than the incomplete alto designed for little beginners.

One year later, after he demonstrated to be very talented, asked me: "is it true that soprano is the most difficult saxophone"?

"Yes, it has tuning problems, but since I never told you, you play in tune"
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,937
I've often wondered whether teachers who recommend not starting on Sop do it because it really is hard - or for self preservation. >:)
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,921
It seems to me that any tuning problems there may be with the sop come from the extra "bendablilty" of the notes. So a beginner with no previous musical training will probably be closer to being in tune on an alto or tenor than on the sop (but they still won't be very well in tune). But, as your ear develops, it may even be the other way round, in that any inherent intonation flaws in the horn will be easier to correct on the sop than on the tenor (or especially, I would imagine, the bari). As an analogy, which is easier, playing the flute in tune, or singing in tune? Depends on your experience. Even I can play an in-tune piano in tune (not in time, though!) but an out-of tune piano is just that, no matter who plays it.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,199
It seems to me that any tuning problems there may be with the sop come from the extra "bendablilty" of the notes. So a beginner with no previous musical training will probably be closer to being in tune on an alto or tenor than on the sop (but they still won't be very well in tune). But, as your ear develops, it may even be the other way round, in that any inherent intonation flaws in the horn will be easier to correct on the sop than on the tenor (or especially, I would imagine, the bari). As an analogy, which is easier, playing the flute in tune, or singing in tune? Depends on your experience. Even I can play an in-tune piano in tune (not in time, though!) but an out-of tune piano is just that, no matter who plays it.

Thanks BM, you are coming close to the point. If you can sing in tune, you can play in tune. At such a young age, students are very adaptable and flexible. If you tell them that a note is sharp, they just flatten it.

It seems so easy for them. And I try not to mention any mouthpiece/reed issue. They just play. To find the right combination for an adult is far more difficult, since they cannot easily modify their embochure.
 
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