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Beginner How long to get up to speed

BrianJoeSandy

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267
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Daventry near enough
I have been playing arpeggios 1351 starting on C and increasing chromatically. I am up to tempo 50 after several weeks. Before I can get to Jerry Coker's first exercise with backing track I need to be up to 120. I would be interested in others experience with this. I am finding it much harder than I thought it would be. Maybe it will take years at the rate I'm going.:confused:
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,361
Location
Buckinghamshire
I have been playing arpeggios 1351 starting on C and increasing chromatically. I am up to tempo 50 after several weeks. Before I can get to Jerry Coker's first exercise with backing track I need to be up to 120. I would be interested in others experience with this. I am finding it much harder than I thought it would be. Maybe it will take years at the rate I'm going.:confused:
It takes a while. I've been playing nearly 2 years (15 months on alto and 8 on tenor). My technical ability is what is now holding me back and my teacher has me working on specific exercises to improve this and that includes my speed.

Here are some exercises I am doing that is helping a lot and I'm improving quickly now. It would seem that there is no substitute for hard work!>:)

  • Take two scales - G major and F major
  • Play the scale up and down slowly and 'on time' - use a metronome if needs be
  • Use different articulation - slurred, tongued, stacato, legatto, jazz articulation. Again keep it slow and listen carefully to what you are playing
  • Gradually increase the speed but maintain an even tempo, quality of tone, dynamics etc
  • Now try (within the scale) going from the lowest note of the saxophone to the highest - again all articulations, even tempo, quality of tone etc. Gradulaly speed up a little
  • Play the root, 2nd and third notes, 2nd third and fourth etc etc up to top D and back down. Do so in a continuous stream with no hesitation at the 'turnaround' (harder that it sounds)
  • Play the scale up and arpeggios down and visa versa
  • Play up and down as above starting on the root then back to the second, up again then back to the third etc etc as high as you can go
  • Gradually increase the speed as you perfect each exercise
  • No mistakes are allowed at all. Make one and you must start the exercise again. Slow it down again if you need to
  • Do some of these exercises every day if possible as you are trying to train the brain and pay particular attention to difficult fingering combinations
  • Use side Bb, Bis, side C, side F# as appropriate

You'll be amazed how much faster you get and also how better you become with tone and with your instrument - at least that's what I am finding.

Once you have two scales mastered try two more - D major and Bb major. Eventually you'll be whizzing through the exercise even in keys like Db major, F# major and even chromatically stating on low Bb! Or so I am told by my teacher. :D
 

davhudson

Member
Messages
175
Location
Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
I have been playing arpeggios 1351 starting on C and increasing chromatically. I am up to tempo 50 after several weeks. Before I can get to Jerry Coker's first exercise with backing track I need to be up to 120. I would be interested in others experience with this. I am finding it much harder than I thought it would be. Maybe it will take years at the rate I'm going.:confused:
If you have a backing track that dictates the speed that you are not comfortable with - just slow the backing track down.

There is a free piece of software called Audacity that lets you slow (or speed up) the music without changing the pitch. You can then practise at a more comfortable pace and gradually speed up as you grasp the tune or exercise.

These is another piece of software called Transcribe that also does this - but you have to pay money for it.
 
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