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Fletch's Newbie Thread


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Alright all, I'll post the link to the beginning of this thread below for anyone who's interested to have a read through.

Deadlink to old forum removed

Well I'm not going to write a long post tonight as this is the second attempt at it, the first one got wiped as I posted it.

So......... got an hours practice a day in last week, went o.k. few problems but it's early days yet.

Had my lesson on Tuesday, went o.k. but when I listened to a recorded run through it sounded harsh with a few screeches in there and my teacher commented that I was producing a really nice tone in the warm up but it was going to pot in the run through, it turns out when concentrating on playing the song my mouth tightened up and my breathing went wrong so he got me to drop my jaw with limited success to achieve a more breathy sound, had another run through and on playback it sounded much softer although still clearly miles away. I got 3 new tracks to learn for next week, Nobody Knows The Trouble I've seen, Short Stop and Freddie Freeloader, after that came home via KFC and got another half hour practice in.

WPT: 7 1/2 hours

TPT: 19 hours
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Thanks very much, it's such a pity I couldn't copy all the threads across. This is great.
Thanks Pete

Right time for an update.

Well first off I have barely practiced the last couple of weeks due to the refurb of my new house, been ripping it out myself so not had much time. Anyway I managed to squeeze in 3 hours over the weekend which was not nearly enough.

I missed my lesson last week so was really looking forward to getting stuck in. We started with a couple of warm up scales as usual and then moved on to some new notes basically taking in the full range of the horn from bottom Bb to top F# which I found pretty tricky I can tell ya but eventually it started to click, I'm gonna need to get a lot of practice in, my teacher, Mike has asked me to practice all these new notes chromatically from Bb to F# and back down again, Mike did note that there was a marked improvement in general tone but I still can't tell, I'm really trying though so I'm glad someone has noticed improvement. Mike has said he would like to start concentrating more on improvisation as reading and understanding the written music isn't really a problem due to years of playing various things so I've been ordered to start listening to more stuff to get inspired and we're gonna start working on some licks and phrasing e.t.c.

So until next time, I'm gonna try and get lots of practice in and try to listen to whatever I can for inspiration, on that note if anybody has any suggestions on some specific songs with some great licks I'd love to hear your thoughts.

See ya

WPT: 4 hours

TPT: 23 hours
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Oh dear oh dear, well I've had another busy week. Nearly finished stripping the house out but that means I've not had a spare minute to practice this week.

Had my lesson yesterday and was a little worried to find out how bad I was going to sound. To my surprise it wasn't too bad, air went in one end, sound came out the other and Mikes ears didn't start bleeding so it wasn't all bad. Anyway we started with a little warm up for a few minutes and because I hadn't practiced we quickly went through what we had done last week, after that we started to focus on solos and started by going through the formula for blues scales and working through a couple that applied to the songs I was playing and started to try to fit them together. The result was nothing special but I think I get the principle and it sounded like I kind of knew what I was doing. I have noticed that I'm feeling more comfortable and confident with my sax and I don't feel like I have to force the air through the horn to get a sound out like I have been previously so that can only be a good thing, I'm also not thinking about fingering as much, it's becoming a bit more of a reflex action.

Anyway, I've got a new tune to go through (can't remember what it is off the top of my head, I'll have to look in the book tomorrow) and I'm going to go through as many blues scales as I can before my lesson next week. I'm also gonna go through some stuff to try and find some cool licks to try to apply to my improv stuff so as always any recommendations for some tracks with great licks and riffs welcome.

WPT: 1 hour

TPT: 24 hours
I've been getting on well with improv lately, I worked out the tune for 'The Professionals' early on -

Eb E Eb E

I've been able to play around with the tune to come up with some kind of laid-back improvisation sounding like the sort of thing you get at the end of the episodes when they're having a laugh with Cowley, it works for me anyway!
Cheers Sloth I'll have a go at that.

On another note, I've been wondering what I actually sound like outside of my head so I'm gonna record a couple of bits and listen back, if you're really unlucky I might try and put them on here and you can all give me a good roasting
Alright all

So, I found myself not practicing again this week as the house strip-out is taking a lot longer than I thought, It's really getting me down now as every morning I say to myself "I will get at least half an hour in today when I get home" but I never get in before 7 in the evening and then I have to spend time with my kids as I've barely seen them in the last 3 weeks and as much as they get on my nerves I have been missing them, by the time my son (1 year old) settles down it's 10 o'clock and too late to start making loud noise as the house we are living in is so small the neighbours can hear a pin drop, so I end up looking at the case in the corner longingly.

Anyway, this morning I managed to get 10 minutes in before I had to leave for my lesson (WOW a whole 10 minutes).

We started the lesson with our usual warm up and then went through the range a few times chromatically from bottom to top which didn't go well at all, I just couldn't hit top E through F#, after 5 minutes of trying I started to get it so we left it there and moved on, we started on the track from last weeks lesson "Solitude" and went through the chord breakdowns again, after a few play throughs I think Mike was satisfied that I could handle the tune so we threw the tune to one side to work on the solo stuff, by that I mean making the whole song one big solo, it was around this point it really sunk in, it's not reading the music and learning the song that's the problem and my style will develop as I progress so I'm not worried about that, it's the solos, I really need to learn this skill, I can sort of play something that is in the right key but nothing good, I need to really practice and pick up some common licks and phrases to help me along and give me ideas, my big problem with that is, what do I listen to? I haven't got a clue where to start, that and the fact that all we get to listen to in our house is whatevers on the disney channel so I don't have time to listen to lots of stuff unless it's in the car or the office.

Anyway, I digress.

After we'd had a good look at "Solitude" we moved on to the next song in the ABRSM Grade 1 book which was song 7 "Sombrero Sam", I must admit I quite like this one, it's a bit funky. We played through this a few times before it was the end of the lesson and I was on my way.

I think all in all it went o.k. considering I'd had no practice at all and I'm looking forward to getting stuck in this week, in fact I got an hour in this evening, I don't care how late it is the neighbours will just have to put up with me, I'll be moving out in a couple of months anyway haha.

Mike did put me on to one thing, SPOTIFY, how cool is that site, one click and you can listen to pretty much any version of a given song, fantastic, I did read about it on here first a couple of weeks back but never got round to using it until I saw it at Mikes and was quite impressed. So now all I have to do is try and find some interesting stuff to listen to and I'm away.

See ya soon

WPT: 2 1/2 hours

TPT: 26 1/2 hours

Oh, p.s. for anybody who may have been remotely interested in hearing me screech away, sorry, I haven't had a chance to record anything yet but I will as soon as I get a quiet half hour at home.
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