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Beginner Lost in the wilderness...

Chris98

Senior Member
Messages
1,093
What do you do to motivate yourself when you're in a bit of a musical lull?

Chris
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,657
I try a quick direction change. If I've been playing blues for too long, I try something completely different, like funk, or even smooth jazz (I don't say that too often.)
I wonder Chris, you've been very regimented in your practice routine, have a go at being a bit of a rebel. Forget the scales, forget the long tones, just get some backing tracks and blow man, blow!
 

Pyrografix

Senile Member
Messages
1,026
Something completely different so you can come back to it refreshed........

Sky-diving fits the bill!

or buy another sax.......... my M2 tenor arrived today!!
 

Rikki

Member
Messages
205
Hi Chris,

I have been there myself, sometimes I just a short break (a few days) to reset myself. I tend to just listen to music, try to listen to a different player. As mentioned if your practice routine becomes too routine then it helps to change things around a bit. I sometimes also put the books away and just play around with some scales and chord changes just playing to myself anything and seeing what pops out. Surprising how sometimes you come up with a good riff, that gets the juices flowing again.

The important thing is dont get down on yourself and just accept that sometimes you need a short break and sometimes you need to throw away the routine.

All the best Rikki
 

trimmy

One day i will...
Messages
10,268
Agree with Taz, just pick a tune you'd love to learn and nail it :)
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Haven't got there with sax yet, but it's happened a few times in the past with photography. New direction, taking a break, new tune all make sense to me. With sax, a new group of people to play with would also work well, I think. Also a different teacher.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Hi Chris!

If you are in a bit of a lull it is a clear sign that something needs to change. The challenge is - What?

Whatever, it means that you are at a certain level and need to step up, branch out or need some new challenge. It could mean learning a new style of music, changing your playing routine, playing a different type of sax, playing a different instrument, joining a band, learning new skills, doing more improvisation etc.
 

Chris98

Senior Member
Messages
1,093
Thank you all for your replies. I think I might be in that place we all get to eventually, the progress that I made early on has all but tapered off, speed and sight reading are my major issues, along with rhythm, articulation, intonation and tone! It’s the middle section of any story or film, there’s a lot of trudging around but the goal on the horizon forever seems to be in the far distance. It makes it sound like I know what my goal is!

Transcribe has saved me from madness, invariable everything I’m trying to play I can’t at its true speed, so that’s where Transcribe comes in allowing me to pull it back to about 70% and then I slowly try and get faster. But, and it’s a deeply frustrating But! I never seem to be able to to hit the 100% speed and play with accuracy, let alone any sense of musicality.

I dropped out of the Swing Band I was playing in when a new band leader came in, their approach was fun and light-hearted, yet with a drive and goal to reshape the band, all of which I think were good aspirations. But the singling out of musicians and light-hearted yet cutting remarks reminded me of school and being made to feel thick and stupid. Being presented with a new piece of music that I didn’t know, and to stght read at a speed that I couldn’t think at, let alone play at, was just too stressful a reminder of those less than wonderful days at school. Any sense of confidence I might have had evaporated within a few sessions and so I was inclined to move on.

Taz, you cannot be serious… be a rebel! Break out of my structured regime! The world would end! Actually I have become a musical slob, the couch-potato of the saxophone world, long tones, yeah right. Mate, I can’t even remember when I last changed my reed, that’s how bad it’s got!

Pyrografix, skydiving sounds fun! Alas I cannot afford another sax, although maybe it’s time to switch back to the tenor for a while. Best of luck with your new M2. - Now, anyone want a Lawton? I think a new Morgan Fry metal mouthpiece might be just the ticket!

Hi Rikki, your post makes loads of sense, although I’m not down, that’s the odd thing, it’s like I’ve lost the passion, I could take it or leave it, and if it wasn’t for the fun and sense of satisfaction that I used to feel then I’d just put it down as a fad and move on. It’s like the fire has burnt down and I need to get some more fuel and I’ll be off again.

Hi Kev, not to sure about the new group of people, I’m a little reticent about that sort of thing at the moment, and the issue isn’t with my teacher, although I’m fairly sure she’s picked up on my current situation. At least we’re not looking at doing grades anymore, that just took the fun right out of it for me.

Tom, Words of wisdom, I have in fact been playing my guitar again, I started again from scratch, and now that I can make a passable attempt at reading music I’ve brought that over to the guitar and it’s making more a lot more sense! I love the guitar, and will always want to play it, and I have a great affection for it as an instrument but a greater kinsmanship to the saxophone as a player, if that makes any sense at all.

Still pondering everyone's replies, so thank you again,

Best wishes,

Chris
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Transcribe has saved me from madness, invariable everything I’m trying to play I can’t at its true speed, so that’s where Transcribe comes in allowing me to pull it back to about 70% and then I slowly try and get faster. But, and it’s a deeply frustrating But! I never seem to be able to to hit the 100% speed and play with accuracy, let alone any sense of musicality.
At the risk of being obvious, why not try playing some easier tunes for a while? Try playing something you know you can easily play at 100% speed, even if it's only "three blind mice", and make it sound as beautiful as possible. Try different ways of phrasing, different nuances of tone, vibrato etc. Really enjoy the sound of your sax, and work on expression rather than accuracy.

I dropped out of the Swing Band I was playing in when a new band leader came in, their approach was fun and light-hearted, yet with a drive and goal to reshape the band, all of which I think were good aspirations. But the singling out of musicians and light-hearted yet cutting remarks reminded me of school and being made to feel thick and stupid. Being presented with a new piece of music that I didn’t know, and to stght read at a speed that I couldn’t think at, let alone play at, was just too stressful a reminder of those less than wonderful days at school. Any sense of confidence I might have had evaporated within a few sessions and so I was inclined to move on.
That's a shame. Sadly, conducting attracts jerks like that. Cutting remarks achieve nothing but covering up the insecurities of the person making them. I've played under some pretty unpleasant characters (as well as some really good, helpful ones) when I was playing in orchestras. You just have to develop a thicker skin and think to yourself "you're only making yourself look bad, not me".

Taz, you cannot be serious… be a rebel! Break out of my structured regime! The world would end! Actually I have become a musical slob, the couch-potato of the saxophone world, long tones, yeah right. Mate, I can’t even remember when I last changed my reed, that’s how bad it’s got!
Ties in with my suggestion of plying easy tunes. Treat them as tone exercises. Less boring than long notes.
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,657
Taz, you cannot be serious… be a rebel! Break out of my structured regime! The world would end! Actually I have become a musical slob, the couch-potato of the saxophone world, long tones, yeah right. Mate, I can’t even remember when I last changed my reed, that’s how bad it’s got!


Best wishes,

Chris
Chris, that's nothing to be ashamed of, in fact, it just means that you've finally sunk to my level! And about time too. Why don't you go back to playing some of the tunes you started on, it'll make you feel good to play those easier tunes with..... um.... ease! Failing that, go and find yourself a jam session. I'm sure you could fit in around some nice laid back blues? It's something totally different, and can be as challenging as you let it!
Good luck mate.
 

Rogerb

Member
Messages
764
Chris, I seem to recall that you began playing at about the same time as I, and with the same handicap of having limited reading skills (virtually none in my case!).
Your advantage was your relative youth and 'drive', and you have clearly achieved much more ...... (I know it's not a competition, but...) you should recall how far you have come, and give yourself a pat on the back.

I agree with those who recommend a break for a while, doing something else ....your guitar-playing may be an ideal solution, in that it it is still improving your reading, and giving you new goals to set.

As for your band director.... as one who firmly believes in 'feedback', I wouldn't have walked-away from the band without spendinga little time asking him whether he was aware of the effect that his 'management style' was having , on you at least (and probably on others). Some people respond well to a 'kick up the backside', but most don't!
It may have had little effect on his subsequent behaviour, but you'd have done your bit in trying to help the band's future progress.
I have actually seen such 'home truths' have amazingly positive effects :) (I was a management trainer for 20+ years!)

The very best of luck ....your 'diaries' have, I am sure, been very inspirational for many of us in this forum :)
(Just a thought ....maybe your giving-up on reporting your 'development' was either a symptom, or even a partial cause, of your loss of enthusiasm? Setting goals and sharing them with others can be very motivating.)

[BTW, if I want to be really depressed at my continuing fumbling, I listen to some of Matthew's ...'crazydaisydoo' .... clips on YouTube ...of course he did start sax with a background of competent musicianship, but wow! :) ]
 
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Chris98

Senior Member
Messages
1,093
Well Nick, my Lawton happens to be of the 7*B variety, and on the end of my tenor as I write this now. But having read the price of the Morgan Fry I’m afraid there is no meat here for the vultures anymore!

Something different seems to have been the consensus, and I’ve not played my tenor since just after Christmas so I gave it an outing on Friday night. I was a little apprehensive, the reason I switched to the alto was because I was struggling with the tenor and I strongly suspected I had a number of leaks. But it played okay, can leaks fix themselves or was it a psychosomatic thing? So I blasted out a few tunes, I turned to an old favourite, “Broadway by special arrangement”… not too fast, not too easy, and with great backing tracks. They say a change is as good as a break, so fingers crossed.

I'd like to say that the new band director wasn’t a jerk, they were finding their feet, and most of the musicians there were well within their skill and comfort level, I was very much bringing up the rear end. It just didn’t help that there were so few tenor players because it meant I was quite exposed. I hold no grudges, life's too short, and the group was wanting to push on up to the next level and I was on several rungs below that level, it would have been painful to stay.

Roger, you are right, the blog/beginners diary was quite a motivating aspect early on, I only wish I’d had the confidence to do more recordings along the way, it’s all very well reading about someone's progress but it would have been much more interesting to hear the development over the two or however many years it was I wrote it. I’m not sure what I’d be writing about these days if I started again, what would interest people? I’d have to have a much broader musical theme I guess, discovery’s along the way…

Crazydaisydoo, yep, he’s someone with music in his soul, he’s inspiring and deeply frustrating at the same time, yet always wonderful to listen to.

Being lost in the wilderness is perhaps not the worst thing in the world, at least there is time and peace for contemplation. Sometimes I need to step off the road to see if I'm blindly following a path not of my choosing.

Thanks everyone, again you've given me much to think about and I am deeply appreciative of that.

Chris
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
I'd like to say that the new band director wasn’t a jerk, they were finding their feet, and most of the musicians there were well within their skill and comfort level, I was very much bringing up the rear end. It just didn’t help that there were so few tenor players because it meant I was quite exposed. I hold no grudges, life's too short, and the group was wanting to push on up to the next level and I was on several rungs below that level, it would have been painful to stay.
If you say so. I hope he or she learns soon that sarcasm during the rehearsal isn't the best approach, though.
 

Rogerb

Member
Messages
764
Keep at it Chris :)

I saw a choir director of the same type last week ...... used to dealing with young professionals in London's West End, he makes no allowances for the mostly aged 60+ amateurs he is now directing. One of the soloists fluffed his cue and was told, very nastily (I heard from another choir member) "If you ever do that again, you'll never sing for me again!"
This at a low priced, laid-back matinee of Lloyd-Webber's music.
There is a fundamental word for such people :(
It's supposed to be fun, folks.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Keep at it Chris :)

I saw a choir director of the same type last week ...... used to dealing with young professionals in London's West End, he makes no allowances for the mostly aged 60+ amateurs he is now directing. One of the soloists fluffed his cue and was told, very nastily (I heard from another choir member) "If you ever do that again, you'll never sing for me again!"
This at a low priced, laid-back matinee of Lloyd-Webber's music.
There is a fundamental word for such people :(
It's supposed to be fun, folks.
Given the circumstances, I'd have walked straight out after having some choice words about his attitude. Life's too short for that sort of nonsense, in a professional or amateur setting.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Chris, another thought - find some other people to play with.

Good that the tenor is working! I much prefer it to the alto, but I'm finding the alto harder and I learn more from it. Tenor's a breeze afterwards.
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
25,885
I dropped out of the Swing Band I was playing in when a new band leader came in, their approach was fun and light-hearted, yet with a drive and goal to reshape the band, all of which I think were good aspirations. But the singling out of musicians and light-hearted yet cutting remarks reminded me of school and being made to feel thick and stupid. Being presented with a new piece of music that I didn’t know, and to stght read at a speed that I couldn’t think at, let alone play at, was just too stressful a reminder of those less than wonderful days at school. Any sense of confidence I might have had evaporated within a few sessions and so I was inclined to move on.


Chris
Hey Chris

Sounds to me like most of your current situation could be related to this. Have you tried re reading the first few pages of your beginner's diary to remind you how you felt at the start.

I know you inspired me and left me in awe at the progress you made compared to mine. You have come a long way, please don't let one person spoil your enjoyment of the sax. Remind yourself of what you loved and still love about it, make it fun and find another band or small group to play with. Better still create your own group of like minded individuals you don't need many people playing together to make it fun and help each other along.:)

Jx
 
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