SYOS

Beginner Lessons learned, lessons to take

ESJohn

Member
Messages
177
Well, it has been a year or so since I dusted off my horn. I've been practicing on my own, learning from the books, etc and also greatly from all of you. I now place the ligature on the mouthpiece first and then the reed and I take the sax out of the case and back in using the bell. I've learned much about the proper placement of the reed on the mouthpiece and to swab that horn after every practice! In that time, I've also had my instrument checked out, purchased some new sheet music, and invested in a Yamaha 4c mpc and Vandoren 2 1/2 reeds. The mouthpiece helped and the reed made a big improvement almost right away. Also have learned much of the nomenclature regarding the instrument and playing in general. I feel like I've gone as far as I can on my own, so I've made contact with my favorite music store and will begin taking lessons, likely in October. I'm not sure on the frequency but I would guess I should go at least twice monthly. I'm sure I will need to "un-learn" some (hopefully not too much) of what I have taught myself. My instructor will likely evaluate my playing and take it from there. I honestly would not mind if I'm taken back to the beginning. As I am looking at retirement in a few years, I would like to be able to participate in a community band. My favorites are big band, marches and some classical. It is probably way past time to take that next step so that I can be ready.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
12,788
I had a few of piano lessons when I was a kid, but what helped most was a music foundation course. A bit of theory, a bit of guitar, a bit of choir, a bit of band and a bit of one to one on clarinet. Everything helps and not necessarily straight away. Some stuff takes a while for the penny to drop.
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
25,534
I'm sure you'll enjoy your lessons, do join a band as soon as possible it will help your progression too.

Jx
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,560
Great news, and yes - you made the right choice.

Hope the teacher works out...remember, also, the teacher WILL be making you 'do' things you may not particularly enjoy. But we only learn/develop by leaving our comfort zone. Even having to 'endure' those things, you still should overall be enjoying the lessons and practices and entire experience. (Jeanette may be able to offer some Wine suggestions which help you along there)

But seriously, if you end up not, it may end up that perhaps there is a better teacher out there for you. Not all teachers suit all students, after all.
But for starters, good luck.
 
OP
ESJohn

ESJohn

Member
Messages
177
OK--several months later:
I'll try to keep the long story short. After several attempts at connecting with two instructors that never happened and passing up one opportunity that was too costly and time intensive, not to mention the holidays right in the middle of it all, I wandered in the wilderness for a while. In comes our local New Horizons band. With a membership of 100 or so using two locations about 20 miles apart (the one I will attend is within 1/2 hour drive), it has a structure that seems to be made for the older adult's schedule. I attended my first practice and was one of about 25. I was given an individual evaluation of my horn (needs many small things fixed and a few adjustments, which will be completed by next week's practice) and also got to participate in the band practice of some tunes that I had never seen before. It was sort of like learning to swim by being thrown into the middle of the lake. The director is very positive and instructive. There are group instruction sessions for the different sections and individual attention, too. I think this is the best fit for me right now. I hope I can become an asset to the band.
 

randulo

Playing alto 2 ⅓ years
Subscriber
Messages
4,157
Have you considered online lessons? They're less personal than a human being in the same room (or maybe a robot in a few years!) but can be very helpful. There are a few kinds of these:
1. Free YouTube videos that can do a lot of good. You may have already used these.
2. Schools that have a library of videos and study materials
3. Video exchanges like ArtistWorks, that I've been involved in on two instruments.
4. Live tutoring over Skype video (or similar)

The most cost-effective that has a good personal return is #3, in my opinion. You might want to check one or more of these out. You've probably done #1 already.
 
Messages
57
I also play in a New Horizons Band. We have several here as I live in a big city - the main city band, which consists of many bands of different levels, and several suburban bands. Great fun. I’m so glad I found them.

I found the individual attention in the band is insufficient for me to really progress the way I want so I opted for private lessons in addition.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
2,189
Making music with others is fantastic and is the reason most of us really get hooked. As a kid I went along to a band playing military music and was way out of my depth, but the main thing is having positivity from those around you and a willingness to learn and that next week you'll remember your mistakes and be better still. Nice to hear!
 

randulo

Playing alto 2 ⅓ years
Subscriber
Messages
4,157
The reason I like the online video exchange is that you not only get a reply from the teacher but also can see all the lessons from all the students and the teacher's replies to those. It's like a master class but not everyone at once.
 
OP
ESJohn

ESJohn

Member
Messages
177
Had my second rehearsal last evening. Had a week without being able to practice as the horn was in the shop. Despite what my previous music shop told me, there were many pads that needed replaced (some too small, some too old) and adjustments were needed. Band has a concert the end of April and another on Memorial Day (US holiday) so I'd like to be skilled enough to participate in at least the latter, but I think we are rehearsing for the former right now. Woodwind instructor and director are very positive people and have the patience of Job!
I'm learning about 16th and 8th notes and many other facets of playing in general. Thanks for the encouragement to get involved. I don't think I could have done anymore on my own.
 

GCinCT

Seeker of truth and beauty
Subscriber
Messages
1,533
Had my second rehearsal last evening. Had a week without being able to practice as the horn was in the shop. Despite what my previous music shop told me, there were many pads that needed replaced (some too small, some too old) and adjustments were needed. Band has a concert the end of April and another on Memorial Day (US holiday) so I'd like to be skilled enough to participate in at least the latter, but I think we are rehearsing for the former right now. Woodwind instructor and director are very positive people and have the patience of Job!
I'm learning about 16th and 8th notes and many other facets of playing in general. Thanks for the encouragement to get involved. I don't think I could have done anymore on my own.
Glad to hear your horn is back and you can practice again. There is so much great advice here (I know I've been helped tremendously) but give yourself credit. You are the one who takes the advice and puts it in practice, playing day by day and improving.

Playing in an ensemble is such a great learning experience. It can be intimidating playing with more experienced musicians, but it's a great way to improve.

Best of luck going forward.
 
OP
ESJohn

ESJohn

Member
Messages
177
Had my first remote practice session with our band director. It went well and afterwards, all I could think was how fun it was to be learning once again. I am so looking forward to the band being back together when this is all over. My hat is off to anyone leading a band. They provide so much experience and encouragement across all aspects of playing an instrument. If you are one of those who contribute in such a way, you are doing a great thing!
Thanks!!
 

GCinCT

Seeker of truth and beauty
Subscriber
Messages
1,533
Had my first remote practice session with our band director. It went well and afterwards, all I could think was how fun it was to be learning once again. I am so looking forward to the band being back together when this is all over. My hat is off to anyone leading a band. They provide so much experience and encouragement across all aspects of playing an instrument. If you are one of those who contribute in such a way, you are doing a great thing!
Thanks!!
That’s great to hear, John. Playing in a band is so much fun and so helpful to improving.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
2,189
Had my first remote practice session with our band director. It went well and afterwards, all I could think was how fun it was to be learning once again. I am so looking forward to the band being back together when this is all over. My hat is off to anyone leading a band. They provide so much experience and encouragement across all aspects of playing an instrument. If you are one of those who contribute in such a way, you are doing a great thing!
Thanks!!
I think that many of us came through the ranks in this way. The all-round knowledge, leadership, energy and enthusiasm. It got me started from aged 9 - 14.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
7,779
I know I sound like a "broken record" but as a lifelong music educator and saxophone player I consider Smart Music to be one of the most valuable learning tools available for players at all ability levels. There are scores of concert band and jazz ensemble works at all ability levels where the player can play along with a professional recording with their part shown on the screen. I learned a long time ago that one of the best ways to improve quickly is to play in a group where everyone else plays better than you. :)

In addition there are dozens of solos, method books and exercises included at no extra cost along with a metronome and tuner. The format has changed slightly. They have discontinued "Classic Smart Music", but those who are not a member of a school music group can still subscribe as a performer. Smart Music Performer Edition The price is only $40 per year, and you can even try it for free.

This ends the commercial, now back to your regularly scheduled program. :)
 
OP
ESJohn

ESJohn

Member
Messages
177
Zoom lessons continuing with our director. Working on several pieces at once and try to practice them all as I never know which ones will be the focus each week. Newest is a Sinatra medley. Next week's plan is for guitar accompaniment while I play the horn. The coming weeks will hopefully bring background music on our website that we can all use in our daily solo practices. He will be focusing on chorales for the time being. Grip of the virus restrictions is loosening but still no concerts anticipated until the fall. Some of the folks in the band don't participate in the weekly one-on-one lessons and I think that will catch up with them. Maybe they are doing some other online lessons.
 
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