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Go on then,play a tune

BUMNOTE

Senior Member
Messages
572
During lunch break at work,i was just going up and down some scales using my soprano,still trying to get used to it,when a work mate came by and said,,Go on then,play a tune,well that realy snookered me,i normally play alto,but even then i would still have needed the notes in front of me.So is that bad learning on my part,and how many of you out there can play from memory,how many tunes can you play.Apart from constant practice,is there a secret to memorising tunes.Bumnote.
 

saxplorer

Senior Member
Messages
879
I've been playing for 3 yrs now - I have a bunch (10-20?) of tunes in "immediately-accessible" memory that I could play immediately, a whole bunch more that I would have to "remind myself" with a quick playthrough without music, and a load more that I could bring back to memory relatively quickly aided by the dots on a lead sheet.

Here's an easy one that might be my response to "play us a tune": Nice and bluesy, not too fast, not too long, and you can have fun with it. Trouble In Mind
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Occasionally try figuring out a tune without the dots. It is really interval training in disguise and increases confidence.
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,281
Try first with the dots then when the fingers have got it then it take the dots away and keep playing til you can get it right.
It won't happen straight away but the more you play tunes without the dots the easier it will stick.

Incendently i still have the music in front of me on gigs even if i know the tunes,its a safety net,nobody bothers either way.

Brian
 
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MartinL

Member
Messages
366
I'm useless at remembering them too, I always need the dots, yet sometimes I find myself playing without actually reading them. If I had been in the same situation though I wouldn't known what to play.
 

compound

Member
Messages
457
During lunch break at work,i was just going up and down some scales using my soprano,still trying to get used to it,when a work mate came by and said,,Go on then,play a tune,well that realy snookered me,i normally play alto,but even then i would still have needed the notes in front of me.So is that bad learning on my part,and how many of you out there can play from memory,how many tunes can you play.Apart from constant practice,is there a secret to memorising tunes.Bumnote.
Hi BUMNOTE,
I think there's quite a long thread on exactly the same subject knocking around on this website somewhere.
 
Messages
181
Almost everything I learn I play from memory. I don't have the patience to read music once I've learnt it - silly way of going about it though I suppose. :D
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,551
I play everything from the notes. I can improvise on a blues scale (say) but it would be just that, not actually playing a recognisable tune.

Even with exam pieces, I can't learn them by heart.
 

Lorraine

Member
Messages
36
Almost everything I learn I play from memory. I don't have the patience to read music once I've learnt it - silly way of going about it though I suppose. :D
Ditto - that's what I do. I tend to play by ear anyway but I use the books to progress my understanding (or lack thereof) of the theory or learn a new tune I am struggling to play by ear. But then my current repertoire only extends to about seven tunes in all - so I imagine it will get harder to remember them as this builds. I keep a notebook of all the tunes I like, tunes I can busk with etc in a book and play them most days and they sink in eventually.
 

ArtyLady

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,030
I'm very much an ear player which is a great advantage when playing in bands especially if I'm depping (also great if the crowd requests something too providing we know it we can usually jam it). generally I can find a tune or riff straight away, or within a few attempts if something is a little more complicated.

It takes me quite a while to really learn something complex from the music if I don't know the piece and can't hear it first - working out timing mainly, :confused: and if I learn something from listening to it rather than from music I can learn and remember it much more easily.:thumb:

I teach my students ear training - starting by literally just getting them to find a couple of notes at a time - it can be done and worth doing :D
 
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Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,619
Almost everything I learn I play from memory. I don't have the patience to read music once I've learnt it - silly way of going about it though I suppose. :D
surely once you've got the tune its best to play it from memory- that way you begin to make it your own (not talking about classical playing here)
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,797
Sing a song with your saxophone! Learn the singing lines (if there are any!). When I see dots I don't want to play! But when I hear a nice song I just want to grab my sax and try to play it.

I learn most of the music by ears. I can read (badly) but it's easier for me to learn by ears. If I have the charts with chords I learn the chordtones and then I keep it safe. Listen to the chordchanges and try to hit the "nice tones" (the tones that you play best and comes out best from your sax as well). When I "learned" a song I try to add some "effects" to spice it up. Growl, bendings, trills, tremolos, Doo-Wop, alternate fingerings .... . I think playing (rock)sax is very much like cooking.

When I'm asked to play a song I use to try and play (ad lib) some bars from songs like "Georgia On My Mind", "Same Old Blues", "Into The Mystic", "Paradise By the C" .... .

Thomas
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,949
No one's asked me that for years.

I may have perfected the scowl.

You could try (in a haughty tone), "I don't play tunes".

If they're really persistent then the first few notes from Baker Street will always shut them up. It's the only saxophone thing they know anyway.
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
25,895
No one's asked me that for years.

I may have perfected the scowl.

You could try (in a haughty tone), "I don't play tunes".

If they're really persistent then the first few notes from Baker Street will always shut them up. It's the only saxophone thing they know anyway.
:)))
 

BUMNOTE

Senior Member
Messages
572
Will have to remember that Nick,i am well known for my scowls at work,especialy at seven oclock in the morning>:)maybe thats why they getting rid of me!!:shocked:Bumnote.
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,943
As you may be aware, almost all of my music making at present is classical (ish) so I always perform with music, not least as most of the music is too long and too complex to remember. With music that I sing or play regularly then I am less dependent on the music as it has much greater familiarity - that does tend to lend to a more relaxed performance. Last night I sang in a performance of Bach's Magnificat - you wouldn't want to try to do that from memory!

The notes don't constrain you - in Baroque music there's often opportunity to improvise.

My singing teacher had a cautionary tale. He was giving at recital at the Royal Festival Hall singing Handel arias with a harpsichord (Trevor Pinnock I think). He went on without music. He knew the material, but at a crucial point in one da capo aria he got stuck where it loops round and looped round twice more than necessary. As the stuff was in Italian, it didn't hurt too much! he learnt his lesson - in future he always had the music to hand - just in case!
 
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Clivey

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,019
how many tunes can you play.Apart from constant practice,is there a secret to memorising tunes.Bumnote.

When I was a child we often used to stay with relatives. The adults literally had us singing for our supper or dancing in the case of my sister. Learning "Party Pieces" was part of the culture of my childhood and solo performing in front of small and large audiences was part of that upbringing.

What I have found is that it is a lot harder to retain stuff as I get older and that I often have to have the crutch of a manuscript to hand.

To address the Original Question. I would suggest that you learn a few very well known pieces from the world of TV and Film " Big Spender" " Pink Panther" "The Stripper" " Poirot". You get the idea.. I always remember Tommy Smith playing the " Parkinson " theme when he was a nipper on TV for the 1st time.

People like to hear what they know, so learn what you hear about you on a daily basis and you will reduce the chance of being caught short.

Hope this helps:mrcool
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
Borat's national anthem would be great, if you sing the whole thing. Nobody will ask you again.

I did a last minute gig on the Centre Point in London. Stunning venue, but it was a solo saxophone 45 mins set. I am happy nobody jumped out the window (windows are sealed and they were not listening anyway) and they paid me.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
People like to hear what they know, so learn what you hear about you on a daily basis and you will reduce the chance of being caught short.
Do we really want to be influenced by them?
 

MartinL

Member
Messages
366
Will have to remember that Nick,i am well known for my scowls at work,especialy at seven oclock in the morning>:)maybe thats why they getting rid of me!!:shocked:Bumnote.
Or maybe its because its 7am and everyone else started at 6, :)))
 
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