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wooster

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Hi all,

Having acquired my saxophone, and by the way, I am delighted with it, I am looking for the best way to learn.

I did have a couple of lessons from one when I had my rental, but he only did zoom and I didn’t really feel that good about online. I would rather have one or two in-person lessons a month than a zoom every week. In any case, on my pension I can’t afford weekly lessons. I am away from home a fair bit and for extended periods in the summer.

With all this in mind, I’m considering buying a complete online or video course ( eg Taming the Saxophone ) and also having a once or twice a month face - to - face lesson with some breaks.

I’m hoping that by having these intermittent lessons it might be enough to correct any mistakes or wrong directions I’m taking with my playing, while I make some progress in between on my own using the online course. Does this seem a good - or even possible - idea?

Would teachers go for this arrangment or not?
 
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mizmar

mizmar

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Watching various folks come and go in the Beginner fora; clearly it's possible but nothing is guaranteed! It's individual.

In your Door Bell post you said that already play some music comfortably, yeah? You can see already what's involved in generating notes So, really, you know what your letting yourself in for in general.... So...

What's worrying you?
 
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wooster

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I guess my main worry is that I've never really played a woodwind - or any blowing - instrument before, or even any instrument with which I need to pitch the notes myself and I feel that it would be good to have some input into my embouchure and also feedback about using my mouth and throat to get notes in tune. I'm concerned I might be playing really out of tuen with a lousy tone and I don't know.
 
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lydian

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Occasional in-person lessons can keep you busy for months in between. Skip the online/video purchase for now, find an in-person teacher now and do what he/she tells you. There are so many little details you get in person that you won't get online. You may not even be putting your reed on correctly for all you know.
 
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wooster

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There are so many little details you get in person that you won't get online. You may not even be putting your reed on correctly for all you know.
Yes thats the sort of detail that worries me.
 
jbtsax

jbtsax

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There is a wealth of good information online about playing the saxophone and some that is not so good. It is sometimes hard for a beginner to know which is which. In my experience those "teachers" who offer shortcuts rather than teaching the fundamentals often do more harm than good in the long term. Regardless of how clear and accurate online instruction is, it is no substitute for the instant feedback a teacher can provide in person or in a "zoom" lesson. In teaching there is a principle called "monitor and adjust" which is especially important in teaching musical performance one on one or in a classroom situation. The most common problem in teaching one's self to play is the tendency to develop bad habits, which when repeated over and over become ingrained and become harder and harder to correct over time.
 
MikeMorrell

MikeMorrell

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Hi @wooster

Disclaimers:
  • I'm an amateur sax player who's playing skills fall far below many other members here
  • I've absolutely no experience in providing sax tuition

I've learned a lot from personal tutors, from YouTube videos and especially (for the past 15 years) from this café. In the form of posted links to videos and downloads.

My 2 cts:
  • you would do well to have some kind of structured 'learning plan' (perhaps from a website, but my strong preference would be from a personal tutor).
  • you can pick up a lot of tips from on-line 'structured' courses and YouTube videos but again, these should ideally be linked to your personal 'learning plan' and progress, as assessed by a F2F tutor
  • Without knowing specifics, the downside of 'remote tutoring' is IMHO that a 'remote tutor' can't (with his/her hands) physically feel how you breathe or how much tension you have in your shoulders, neck and 'embouchure'; A F2F tutor can.
Your plan sounds great to me. The monthly or bi-monthly F2F sessions ensure that you get regular feedback on your progress. In my experience, any F2F tutor will have some exercises for you to practice between sessions. So to be honest,, I would rely on the the direction of the F2F tutor for the learning plan and for any other resources that he/she suggests,.

My gut feeling is that a F2F tutor can give you better feedback on the 'basics' of how to play better sax in terms of posture, breath, throat, mouth, tongue, etc.
 
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mizmar

mizmar

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I'd add to the above, many folks find great value, for the issues you mention, in being able to record and listen to themselves.
Handy field recorders are popular, or a reasonable mic for pc or phone... It's always a tough lesson!
 
W

wooster

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There is a wealth of good information online about playing the saxophone and some that is not so good. It is sometimes hard for a beginner to know which is which. In my experience those "teachers" who offer shortcuts rather than teaching the fundamentals often do more harm than good in the long term. Regardless of how clear and accurate online instruction is, it is no substitute for the instant feedback a teacher can provide in person or in a "zoom" lesson. In teaching there is a principle called "monitor and adjust" which is especially important in teaching musical performance one on one or in a classroom situation. The most common problem in teaching one's self to play is the tendency to develop bad habits, which when repeated over and over become ingrained and become harder and harder to correct over time.
Thank you. I completely get what you are saying and I can see what you mean. Taking all that you've said on board, would you say my plan was reasonable?
 
W

wooster

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I'd add to the above, many folks find great value, for the issues you mention, in being able to record and listen to themselves.
Handy field recorders are popular, or a reasonable mic for pc or phone... It's always a tough lesson!
Yes indeed. I remember when I first started doing that with the guitar, it was an absolutely clinical appraisal. The least said about my singing the better!
 
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wooster

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The other problem with face to face tutors is that where I live I can only find one. I don't know how well we will get on but there isn't really an alternative person locally. Of course, if I only have to travel once or twice a month then a jaunt into London becomes realistic
 
jbtsax

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Thank you. I completely get what you are saying and I can see what you mean. Taking all that you've said on board, would you say my plan was reasonable?
It can be successful. However, I would suggest recording each lesson or writing down the details of what was covered shortly afterward so you have a way to review the information during the two week recess.
 
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eb424

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From a beginner only 5 years in I have had several tutors and even tho im based near London they are hard to find...it has taken me this long to know what i want from a tutor and thst is half the battle..a tuner will tell you to some degree how you are blowing start on the scales.. it is a good idea to have someone to call on when needed and at the beginning set up is a good place to start..only you know what you need or want from someone else so try to figure out what you can do yourself vs what you need....its hard work a fantastic journey but its also meant to be fun...
 
Jeanette

Jeanette

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Without knowing specifics, the downside of 'remote tutoring' is IMHO that a 'remote tutor' can't (with his/her hands) physically feel how you breathe or how much tension you have in your shoulders, neck and 'embouchure'; A F2F tutor can.
I had a tutor pick up tension in my playing just by listening to a recording!

Said tutor is in London and member here, I'd recommend getting in touch with @aldevis for occasional lessons :).

A tutor will add to your journey just make it clear what you want out of the lesson.

Jx
 
aldevis

aldevis

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Hi @wooster


My gut feeling is that a F2F tutor can give you better feedback on the 'basics' of how to play better sax in terms of posture, breath, throat, mouth, tongue, etc.
I found the experience of teaching online to beginners quite frustrating for this very reason.
Also often being unable to see both hands is a strong limit

For advanced students it can be different, but the amount of information that comes from just listening to your teacher, or playing along is quite irreplaceable

I had a tutor pick up tension in my playing just by listening to a recording!
That tension of yours actually opened my eyes on an issue that is very common among players and made me look for the cause (I found it!)
Only few weeks ago the same issue appeared in a friend, also through recordings) that was a proficient classical clarinet player and picked up the saxophone in adult age. Similar cause, different solution (he was actually doing ONE exercise wrong that was messing up his embouchure)
 
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Colin the Bear

Colin the Bear

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Meanwhile playing/practicing/recording with backing tracks will help with pitching and intonation and timing etc.
There's loads to be had in ballad and song of the month on here.
I've never had a saxophone lesson. Learned loads on here though. Stay tuned. ;)
 
W

wooster

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Thank you for your help everyone. It seems there's more than one way to achieve your goals. I guess it depends on what your goals are, of course. At my time of life I'm not looking to become a pro saxophonist so I'm taking a relatively relaxed approach. It would be different if I was 12 years old aspiring to a career in performance.

I have managed to locate a teacher near me who seems to have a good reputation. I spoke to him yesterday and he was very friendly and helpful and he does face to face lessons so I'm meeting him on Monday for a free introduction and to have a chat about how things could work for me.
 
mizmar

mizmar

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Sounds like a good plan.

IMHO - in general, not just saxophone or music learning - there are folks all along the spectrum from self-learner purists thorough to those who want the best teacher possible... you have to know yourself to know where you are on the scale; and when someone asks "do I really need a teacher" the answer is "yes, because you asked!"
 

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