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Hello from London

John E

New Member
Messages
20
Location
London
Hi All,

John here, I've played a lot of bass (both acoustic and electric) and a bit of guitar for many years, and have dabbled with saxes a (very) little bit, but never to the extent I could gig with one.

I've always loved the sound of the soprano, but just bought an alto to learn on, as per the standard advice. Perhaps unusually for a beginner, it's a 1970's Buescher 400, bought from Michael White in Ealing, West London. It just felt the best of the saxes in my price range to me, tho I can hardly play.

Anyway, I have the sax, it's better than me! but how to practice? I want to do some work on the basics (scales, arpeggios long tones etc) and I need to find a teacher, but my biggest problem is that I live in a small block of 4 flats, and I'm going to feel self conscious about practicing wobbly scales here.

Holding back the volume is not going to be good, and as far as I know, muting the sax is not possible (and probably not good either).

I know I said Im going to get a teacher - but any other advice for some one totally out of practice - beginners embrochure, breathing etc? I just ordered the Larry Teal Book, The Art of the Saxophone off Amazon, as I remember it being good on basics.

Any advice much appreciated!

Thanks,

John
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,633
Location
Rugby UK
Hi John, I'm definitely not the person to give advice, as I never follow the rules and I've got absolutely no self discipline at all. Other members on here also have practice noise issues and have found playing in their cars helps. Others play at work, and one even practices "A la Abbey Road" ...on the roof! No doubt you'll find somewhere to play. Enjoy your new found sax, wherever you play and welcome to the room!
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,428
Location
Coulsdon, London/Surrey
Hi John and welcome. Hope you enjoy it here.
What part of London are you from? If you are South you will be welcomed in to the folds of the Croydon and Sarf Lununn Massiv (just give us time to get going: Smiffy falls of his bike, I usually hold Old Git's Zimmer but I've done my own back in. Ash is far too young to be tainted by us and our moll, Pauline, lives oop North). If you're North London you will no doubt be accepted by the Essex/Herts /Beds lot - a nicely bunch as a recent liaison meeting revealed.

As a late returner to music and the alto sax, I too was worried about the effect of my wobbly scales. The only thing I could do was to try to see that as many of the close neighbours were out as possible -daytime if possible - and then give it a go. You really do need to blow through the scales and arps all the way to the top. Once you can play a few tunes you will probably find most of the neighbours are OK.

Do get yourself a teacher. I did after a year and found that I had slipped into many bad habits. In six months my technique has improved considerably - but still a long way to go.:sax:

Best of luck
Colin
 
OP
J

John E

New Member
Messages
20
Location
London
Hi Justin, Tas, and Colin,

Thanks for the quick replies!

I live in London Fields, Hackney, East London but fairly central

Does anyone know of any good teachers in my area?

Many thanks,

John
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,428
Location
Coulsdon, London/Surrey
'ackney, John, gor blimey! I used to work in Docklands (not in a merchant bank I add). Stephen, SLoB, on here plays in a band in Redbridge, so may have some leads on teachers. Otherwise that nice Mr Thomas, who kindly provides the facility of this meeting place, has a list of teachers on his main site.
Cheers
Colin
 
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J

John E

New Member
Messages
20
Location
London
Cheers Colin,

Thanks for the advice. I am pretty central so can travel almost anywhere in the London area for teachers.

Currently feel like I need to get a shed and fill it with mattresses!

J
 

Ruby

Member
Messages
75
Location
Torrington, Devon
Hi John, I live in a terrace and was really quite conscious of people either side, especially after one came round and complained. Annoyingly, she had the loudest voice of any woman I've ever heard and could easily be heard above my sax. But then she had some sort of domestic last year and was carted off in a police van, happily never to be seen around these parts again...so what goes around... Anyway, that was at least a year ago and now I've got used to playing out loud properly I don't give it any thought at all and nobody complains. I think it's just something they expect now.

I just bought Pete's Taming the Saxophone book that you can buy from this site. It's GREAT and has enough practice exercises and tips to last me a lifetime. Def worth the buy. Happy playing.
 
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John E

New Member
Messages
20
Location
London
Old Git, no tommy gun sadly, tho my current standard of saxophone playing might make people run for cover....

I've had a quick look at the teacher list on Pete's site, there are about 10 listed for the London area. I seem to remember that the MU have a list of teachers too.

Ruby, I am lucky in that I am self employed, so can sometimes be home during the day, and the neighbours are usually only in on an evening, so to start with I can get a few squeaking sessions in where I am trying to get a sound out with out disturbing anyone. Will check out Pete's book too, thanks for the advice.

Cheers,

John
 

chrissieb

Member
Messages
59
Location
Egham, Surrey
Hello!

Why don't you just talk to the neighbours? I was really self concious when I started, I was even stuffing a teddy bear down the bell! I realised the rediculousness of the situation, so I just went and spoke to my neighbour, adn she was fine about it.
 
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John E

New Member
Messages
20
Location
London
Hi Chrissie,

Yes I will. I think as long as I am considerate (e.g not playing really late at night etc) it will probably be ok. Its partly that I know that learning an instrument again almost from scratch is not going to sound good - and I wouldn't want to be exposed to it, so this may hold me back from playing as loud as I need to. I am also going to see if they are any spaces near where I live (artists studios railway arches etc) that I could make use of.

Thanks,

John
 

phooesnax

Member
Messages
97
Location
USA
I am sure you saw this coming....but I could not resist: I hate playing in 4 flats too. I prefer sharps!

But seriously... I am pretty sure some one with allot of music knowledge will not be so painful to hear for very long. There is plenty of help here too so do not hesitate.

Best Wishes,
Have fun,
Jim
 

losaavedra

Member
Messages
392
Location
Rojales, Spain
¡Hola! John and welcome to the BR from Spain, very hot currently. I've a similar guitar background but only had an alto for around 18 months and have a pretty undisciplined approach to it. At least I don't have a neighbour problem as I live in the sticks, although one of our dogs sings along which is a bit off putting! Have fun here ...
 
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John E

New Member
Messages
20
Location
London
Hi everybody, thanks for all of the replies and encouragement - first lesson soon, and really looking forward to it.

John
 

AlanU

Member
Messages
638
Location
Enfield, North London
Hello!

Why don't you just talk to the neighbours? I was really self concious when I started, I was even stuffing a teddy bear down the bell! I realised the rediculousness of the situation, so I just went and spoke to my neighbour, adn she was fine about it.
So she approves of teddy-bear abuse too!


Sorry, almost missed saying welcome to the forum.
 
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