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Beginner Help with timing please

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Waggy

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This is my first question here so please be gentle!!!!

I play the alto sax and have lessons but I am struggling with getting the timing right. I understand the length of notes and have learnt how to read music.
My teacher keeps trying to get me to tap my foot which works but only when I can hear it, but I end up tapping at different speeds!
Can someone suggest a practice method that just focuses on getting the timing drilled into me as this is holding me back now as I am happy with my sound, reading and where the notes are on the sax.

Frustrated

Dave
 
Jay

Jay

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Hi Dave,
I'm a beginner too, and I use a couple of things.

A metronome on my ipad/phone - I like the Dr Betotte one because it will click with a 'swing' rhythm, which was helpful to me getting my head round a couple of pieces I couldn't manage initially with just a simple beat 'click'. I seem to remember it has a 'visual' too, so however much noise you're making with your sax, you can still see the beat.

The other thing is play-along CDs, because then you hear how the saxophonist on the CD plays things, and that helps with what the rhythm should be too - and you have to keep up with the backing track, so you can't pull the timing about too much.
 
BigMartin

BigMartin

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Practice with a metronome. A lot. Make sure you can hear it. Visual clues just aren't the same, you need to concentrate on listening. I use one on my PC or laptop with external speakers.so I can turn it up nice and loud. You'll be all over the place at first, but don't get discouraged. The metronome doesn't care if you're in time with it or not. Use as many clicks as you need at first (and slow the music down as much as you need, too), maybe one every half beat if you're playing even-length quavers, which it sounds like you should be at this stage. Then, when you've nailed the rhythm, try one click to a beat. Then go to two an a bar (if it's 4/4), and so on. But don't reduce the number of clicks until you're getting it right every time. Some peple (not me!) can play with one click every couple of bars or more and still keep the tempo steady.

Another thing is that articulation on the instrument can throw you off. The notes don't always sound exactly when you intend them to. So it's worth clapping and (maybe even better) singing rhythms without the added nuisance of the sax.
 
Jeanette

Jeanette

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I received some useful advice here but it something I still struggle with. I have tried metronome, drum machine and at the moment find backing tracks and playing in a group helps. It takes a while for some :)

Chris also found this

Jx
 
W

Waggy

New Member
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20
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South Derbyshire
Hi All,

Thank you all for taking the time to reply. I have downloaded the app that Jay suggested so I will have a look at that. I did play in a concert a month or so ago and that went very well and the timing was OK, so I have looked into playing in a band but the 2 close to me only take people at grade 3 and above.
We could do with a get together board on this forum!!
 
ProfJames

ProfJames

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Berkshire, UK
Hi All,

Thank you all for taking the time to reply. I have downloaded the app that Jay suggested so I will have a look at that. I did play in a concert a month or so ago and that went very well and the timing was OK, so I have looked into playing in a band but the 2 close to me only take people at grade 3 and above.
We could do with a get together board on this forum!!
There is s board/map of members to enable just that! I bleieve it is under resources and review tab at the top of the page
 
Colin the Bear

Colin the Bear

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If you play songs, with words, you'll be able to play the words through the saxophone and get a feel how things go. Include a song in your practice regime. Try learning this song and playing it without dots. It's very hard to count and play. I only count when learning or working out a new piece. Listening , counting and playing is a lot to do. Just play.
 
jbtsax

jbtsax

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Sometimes it can help to just say and finger your part without blowing the saxophone. Remember that when slurring notes the fingers produce the rhythms, and when tonguing notes the tongue makes the rhythms.

Another possibility as Big Martin suggested is to "subdivide" the notes and rhythms. This means you "feel" the quavers (eighth notes) in all of the notes you play. For example:

Crotchet....................tu-oo
Dotted crotchet.........tu-oo-oo
Minim.........................tu-oo-oo-oo
Dotted minim............tu-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Semibreve................tu-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo

For some people "toe tapping" at a steady speed is difficult to do while playing. In any event it is important to learn to "feel" the beat or pulse of the music. This is called "internalizing" the beat. Relying on something outside of yourself like a metronome to give you the pulse can only take you so far. To be a good player requires "feeling" the beat in all styles of music.

Smart Music
is another excellent resource. You can play along with band arrangements of all different levels of difficulty. Your part is shown on the screen, and the "beat" is shown by a green cursor indicating where you are in each measure.
 
W

Waggy

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South Derbyshire
Hi Prof,

Now that you mention it I have seen that map of people willing / wanting help but I am unable to find it now!!!

Cheers

Dave
 
ProfJames

ProfJames

Elementary member
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Hi Prof,

Now that you mention it I have seen that map of people willing / wanting help but I am unable to find it now!!!

Cheers

Dave

@Jeanette can you help here please? I cannot find the page now!
 
Tenor Viol

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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It's the wig...

The other thing is to find a group or local band to play with that will do a lot to help
 
Greg Strange

Greg Strange

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Learn to play the drums...and if you can play as good as this guy give up playing the sax...:rofl:

vinniecolaiutaueli4.jpg
 
Vlad

Vlad

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Waggy wants to be a Musician..not a Drummer !...:)
 
Vlad

Vlad

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ps ..Agree with what Colin the Bear said.....learn the words if you want to play songs, simples !
 
Greg Strange

Greg Strange

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Waggy wants to be a Musician..not a Drummer !...:)

This drummer was reasonably musical when he wasn't killing his mother,:w00t:

jimgordonerickeltner.jpg


the infamous Jim Gordon played piano on "Layla" from Derek and the Dominoes

I suppose I'm reasonably lucky because I had drum lessons when I was 12 years old and I played tenor horn in a brass band at the age of 9...timing is kind of second nature...

Greg S.
 
Vlad

Vlad

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I won't make the Drummer = Nutter connection then :)
 
Greg Strange

Greg Strange

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I won't make the Drummer = Nutter connection then :)

You're probably right - who wants to haul all that gear around...:rofl:

Lester Young was a drummer before he took up the sax...:thumb:

Greg S.
 

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