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John Harle's "The Saxophone"

Jeanette

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When I first started playing fifteen months ago, I faced the familiar difficulties with high and low notes, poor stamina, inconsistent intonation and physical and mental tension while playing. Working through John’s book over the last six months has resolved all these issues for me. I am now able to play notes in registers 1 and 2 in tune with little effort and greater consistency. My playing feels much more relaxed and I have a feeling of intimacy with my instrument. Like a golfer following a clearly defined pre-shot routine before striking the ball, John’s method has given me a setup routine for body and embouchure which I trust to produce a consistent, clear note every time. I’ve very much enjoyed studying the material and putting it into practice and am confident I will see further improvements in the months to come.
I'm think your post has persuaded me I should buy this or perhaps but it in my letter to Santa :)

Jx
 

David Roach

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I have to admit that I haven't given John's book any further attention recently. We moved house and I've been away every week playing etc etc. I'll try to get back to it in January.
 

Jeanette

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I have to admit that I haven't given John's book any further attention recently. We moved house and I've been away every week playing etc etc. I'll try to get back to it in January.
I'd appreciate your view :)
Not sure Santa will bring it so may have to buy in New Year
Jx
 

Guenne

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Hi,

I've practiced with the book for 2 years now and found a great supplement, especially for register studies.
Adam Larson's "Leaps and Sounds". Just like the title says.

Store - Adam Larson

Here's a clip from the 2nd book, I think it's "My shining hour".


Cheers, Guenne
 

David Roach

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Hey Guenne, you sound excellent. Very nice alto playing indeed.
I must admit John's book has sat on my shelf since I bought it. For many reasons I have not had the space to dig into it properly. It seems that the time you have spent with it has been very constructive and beneficial.
 

Halfers

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I've had this book for just over a Year and I've not really delved into it. One of the reasons for this is that the books have a hard spine and it makes it difficult to pick one up, put it on a music stand and have a go, without having to break the book spine and risk pages falling out.
 

TooSaxy4Me

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Like Guenne, I too have been working through John's book for 2 years. I don't sound anywhere as good as Guenne but John's book has undoubtedly improved my playing and understanding of the saxophone. Although my progress has been slower than I would have liked, I am confident that John's method will make me a very good player in time.
 

mpj.brennan

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I recall that when John’s book first came out some of his concepts attracted a fair bit of controversy, Having seen his protege Jess Gillam perform at Hexham last Wednesday I reckon his methods do produce results. She was outstanding.
 

TootSweet

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It‘s probably Adam Larson himself playing in the clip. This said, Guenne sounds very good, too, judging from what he posts in the German forum.
 

David Roach

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I recall that when John’s book first came out some of his concepts attracted a fair bit of controversy, Having seen his protege Jess Gillam perform at Hexham last Wednesday I reckon his methods do produce results. She was outstanding.
Yes she is isn't she!
But I was rather dismayed to see that for her performance at the BAFTAs, the BBC had mic'd her soprano on the bell which made her sound thin and nasal, which is not the reality at all.
 

mpj.brennan

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Fortunately the Queens Theatre in Hexham only has 320 seats (all occupied by the way) so no mics needed - just the natural sound.
 

The Z

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Vienna
I started working with John Harle's Book a few weeks ago. Up until now I've been a follower of the concepts of Joe Allard. For me "The Saxophone" presents some new concepts and some new ways to look at things. I'm slowly integrating exercises into my practice regimen.

When I first saw the pictures of the reed fan and other graphics in the book when it came out, I didn't think much about it. But with a different mindset, that these graphics don't represent what is really physically going on, but are represantions of what I should visualize or feel, these make actually a lot of sense.
 

Gerry Rogers

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I have bought this book (which is very expensive at £48 and full of flashy, trivial and unnecessary artwork) and I have studied it in detail. My principal critique of it is that book 2 of the pair analyses critical issues like the implications of reed fan embouchure work for intonation in great detail, but only for alto and soprano instruments. It's obvious from Mr Harle's detailed analysis that tenor and baritone instruments require a different approach. So if you're essentially an alto or soprano player, it presents some valuable stuff and may possibly be worth paying £48 for. But if you're essentially a tenor or baritone player, book 2 is not particularly useful in my view because many of the points he makes are not transferable. He offers no explanation for their omission and to my mind, the work is a premature and incomplete publishing project by Faber, I think he/they badly need to revise it into a 2nd edition which gives equal attention to the particular challenges of playing tenor and baritone on a par with alto and soprano. Plus cut the unnecessary artwork and cut the price to no more than £30.And run it by John Surman!

In contrast, I have found Kim Walker's book 'Spirited Wind Playing' a very much more insightful and comprehensive work, albeit by a classical bassoonist, with many more transferable insights, and almost half the price! And I aspire to be essentially a jazz player. Hope this is helpful.
 

Pete Effamy

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The most interesting bit appears to be the section on using the glottal stop as an articulation technique
O. M. G. I haven't read through the other pages of this thread to find out if this fear has been a reality or if another end of a different stick was found after all. I've never been a fan of Harle. He's a classical guy that has dipped his toe into jazz when he really had no business in doing so other than down his local pub for fun. It either demonstrates a massive ego or massive ignorance, as his "jazz" playing is nothing more than a poor pastiche. There seems to be quite a British school of classical jazz-pastiche in the last twenty years or so.

As a non-famous person with no-one paying a fair amount of money to come and see you play presumably better than nearly everyone, you should play cross-genre. It's very enjoyable and a real challenge. Lots to be learned.

Perhaps we could have a festival of major stars swapping roles:

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa sings Bon Jovi
John Bon Jovi dances the Black Swan in Swan Lake
Darcey Bussell plays Art Tatum's Tea For Two
And John Harle - oh I think he does all of the above perfectly.
 

Pete Effamy

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Hampshire
O. M. G. I haven't read through the other pages of this thread to find out if this fear has been a reality or if another end of a different stick was found after all. I've never been a fan of Harle. He's a classical guy that has dipped his toe into jazz when he really had no business in doing so other than down his local pub for fun. It either demonstrates a massive ego or massive ignorance, as his "jazz" playing is nothing more than a poor pastiche. There seems to be quite a British school of classical jazz-pastiche in the last twenty years or so.

As a non-famous person with no-one paying a fair amount of money to come and see you play presumably better than nearly everyone, you should play cross-genre. It's very enjoyable and a real challenge. Lots to be learned.

Perhaps we could have a festival of major stars swapping roles:

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa sings Bon Jovi
John Bon Jovi dances the Black Swan in Swan Lake
Darcey Bussell plays Art Tatum's Tea For Two
And John Harle - oh I think he does all of the above perfectly.
To which part?
 
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