All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians
SYOS

Beginner Most efficient exercises for beginners?

RMorgan

Member
Messages
110
Hey folks,

How are you?

Well, I´m just starting with the tenor saxophone. What a great instrument!

So far, I´m practicing some long notes and simpler scales; I can really feel I´m evolving everyday.

Do you have any tips of any other efficient exercises that really improved your playing?

What was your favorite exercise when you were begining your sax journey?

Thanks in advance guys.

Cheers,

Raf.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
not an exercise, but get yorself a digital recorder and record your progress. Helps a lot to listen to the old recordings every now and again and see just how far you've really come.

Working through a decent tutorial is a good way to get moving. O'neills jazz method is recommended by many forum members, but I haven't tried it myself.
 

breathless

Member
Messages
270
Hi Raf, Im a beginner to, picked up my 1st sax 3-4 months ago.
although iive been having tuition from the beginning I use several books and one that is very good to work threw is the Ned bennett, "A new tune a day for Tenor saxophone"

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=a+new+tune+a+day+tenor+saxophone&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aa+new+tune+a+day+tenor+saxophone&ajr=0

although what kev has said is very true, I did invest in a Zoom H2N digital recorder and did just what Kev suggested.
I have recordings from when I first started and comparing that to recordings now its easy to hear the difference.

rgds Lee.
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
I found that once I felt comfortable with the instrument it helped to put in a lot of practicing time. By that I mean, in my case, three hours a day. Once I was over the elementary method, I went into the Demnitz exercises on scales and intervals. One of the things they teach you is not to favour any particular part of the saxophone. Another book I would recommend, once you have the basics in had, is Lacour Book 1. The Universal Method contains lots of shorter exercises at various levels that will get you closer to your target. You will find that there no shortcuts, and that the deoturs are often worth it.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I would support getting a couple of decent tutorial books:

"The Jazz Method for Tenor Saxophone" by John O'Neill.
"Creative Saxophone (A fresh approach for beginners featuring jazz and improvisation)" by Kellie Santin & Cheryl Clarke.

Both feature a wide array of exercises, and also tunes of various sorts from simple to more complex. Both have CD's and are great for Adult learners, unlike a lot of those which are available, which are designed for younger folks.
 

RMorgan

Member
Messages
110
Hey folks,

Thanks so much for the tips!

I´m starting to find that "play along" songs are the coolest way to practice, instead of playing scales and boring exercises all day long.

I´m just a newbie, but I´m really surprised on how the sax can me intuitive after a while.

Cheers,

Raf.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

breathless

Member
Messages
270
Raf, I wish I could say the same regarding the sax being intuitive!

It's only been 3-4 months but I feel there's a lot of struggling to come still.

I struggle emensly with play along still can't get it together with the metronome? Although that said, my rendition of when the saints go marching in is a lot better and even my neighbours know what I'm playing now!

Rgds Lee.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,180
I´m starting to find that "play along" songs are the coolest way to practice, instead of playing scales and boring exercises all day long.

Please allow me to disagree: intuition and discipline MUST go together. I live discipline like some kind of mantra: today major scales by fourths:F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb B E A D G C.
Now let's have fun: BAAAAAAAA BAAAAAAAAAAAAA FO FO FOOOOOOOOOOO.
 

RMorgan

Member
Messages
110
Raf, I wish I could say the same regarding the sax being intuitive!

It's only been 3-4 months but I feel there's a lot of struggling to come still.

I struggle emensly with play along still can't get it together with the metronome? Although that said, my rendition of when the saints go marching in is a lot better and even my neighbours know what I'm playing now!

Rgds Lee.

Hey Lee,

Don´t worry mate.

I play a lot of other instruments since I was a kid, so I have trained ears for this kind of stuff.

It´s pretty normal for you to get a little bit lost with timings and play alongs since you´re only playing for a few months.

With time and practice, you learn to anticipate your playing, meaning that you learn to listen to the notes and melody inside your mind before actually playing them. Then you´ll have a lot of fun! :)

Please allow me to disagree: intuition and discipline MUST go together. I live discipline like some kind of mantra: today major scales by fourths:F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb B E A D G C.
Now let's have fun: BAAAAAAAA BAAAAAAAAAAAAA FO FO FOOOOOOOOOOO.

Hey aldevis,

I know what you mean, in fact, I know you´re correct.

I´ll try to resist the temptation of skipping the boring technical exercises. I know they are very important indeed!

Cheers,

Raf.
 

Cobard71

Member
Messages
33
Hi Raf,

I found mixing scales at start and end of practice is cool, I agree in a bit of discipline. Having returned to sax after 23 year break (mid life crisis ?) it's now been a year since I started and only now feel confident in practicing. The worst thing for me is the frustration of time limits and my fingers not working to close the keys as my brain tells them.

I sometimes wonder how good I would have been if had not had such a long break between playing.

Steve
 

Littlewailer

Member
Messages
133
I have to say that the best beginners workout is also the one best for intermediate and advanced students. Your major scales.

When you start out the first priority is learning all 12 of them. Getting them to a high enough level for how you are often told to do them when starting out; root to root and back down in one octave.

Then as you start learning more of the notes you are told to add a second octave where you can.

After that usually you should be told various ways of articulating these scales. Legato, tongue one slur one, tongue two slur two, tongue all.

Now you start picking up your speed getting more proficient at faster tempos.

And the last thing for practicing scales (not including playing intervals) is including the full range in each scale. In the key of A playing all the way up to high F# (or into the altisimo) and back down all the way to your low B and then up to A again.

With taking this to heart you can start to see where you are in this process and start looking ahead.

There are many great workouts for beginners but the meat and bones of western music is the major scale. Through it's modes you get many of the other commonly used scales (including the minor scale).

This, coupled with learning songs and trying to improve your tone are in my opinion the most important exercises for beginners.
 

Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,912
Don't think you can go far wrong with the Pete Thomas book, has all the scales and chords in there plus lots more besides. also get a Fake book in Bb loads of songs to learn in there.....
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
Here's a very simple exercise which helps developing your musical creativity:
Choose a bunch of notes - 3 or 4 to starts with...maybe from a major scale, e.g. C, E,F, and A - , now play any melodic line with just these 4 notes and try to anticipate with your inner ear how the melodic line is going - initially it feels like playing just random notes but after a bit of practice you'll start creating some interesting lines (just boredom pushes you in creating something interesting)...as you become more proficient you'll want to change the combination of tones and then later on you want to add more tones too...
Personally, I've found this exercise very useful - nowadays, when introducing a new scale I use a similar method.
 

muzza

Member
Messages
109
Another recommendation O'Neill's Jazz Method. This book moves quickly. I started as a complete novice and it has taken some time to work through the book, only now playing the last couple of tunes. In your case, having played, I think it will quickly get you playing.

The other exercises along the learning the Major scales I have find useful, comes from Ollie Weston, Exploring Jazz Saxophone. It has play alongs for use with Major 7, Minor and 7th chord. Each play along covers 4 keys with 16 bars of each key, played at 100bpm.

You start by playing 4x up and down scale and chord in a key then move to next key e.g. G moving to Bb, onto Db, finally E. You can use play along to practise pentatonic exercise, scale over different octave, using different articulation and practise licks.
 

MellowD

Lost In Theory
Messages
544
As another newbie, I've been working through .... wait for it ..... the Abracadabra Book. Why not? It has served me well so far. I also joined a Woodwind Training Band which takes everyone from Grade 1 to 4. I've found I have a comrade on Tenor in a 14yr old who is far more advanced than I and takes great pride in helping me out so I keep up and learn new notes from him each week - win for both of us then! He is actually already in the concert band and sits in on the Training band simply to help me out and as a warm up before the Concert band takes over practice.
 

Merryfisher

Member
Messages
272
Hey folks,

Thanks so much for the tips!

I´m starting to find that "play along" songs are the coolest way to practice, instead of playing scales and boring exercises all day long.

I´m just a newbie, but I´m really surprised on how the sax can me intuitive after a while.

Cheers,

Raf.

Have to disagree a bit here - it is really important to do the hard yard drills so to speak to get the long term gain - a regular practice program of scales (major & minor) scales in thirds, whole tone scales, arpeggios (major & minor) & Sevenths (dominant & diminished) really do hone both tone & technique. I believe as a young boy Sonny Rollins played in the closet 8 hours a day or more, driving the apartment block nuts doing all this & everything else. Think he did quite well out of it!
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,332
Agreed. Playing tunes with a play along you'll get intuitive in one key and one song.

No need for scales etc to be boring. I swing through them. I find it interesting to try and be melodic or rhythmical or both with arpeggio patterns and scales. I practice with a drum machine some days

If you find you'd rather play tunes, once you've got it, play without the backing and keep moving it up a 5th till you get back to where you started. Surprising how slow it gets in F# and Db.

I ain't never gunna be as good as Sonny. Even when he was a boy. Not tried playing in a cupboard tho.
 

MellowD

Lost In Theory
Messages
544
play without the backing and keep moving it up a 5th till you get back to where you started. Surprising how slow it gets in F# and Db.

I like this idea. I ain't capable of doing this yet, but it's one I'm going to remember so I can eliminate any potential boredom rut kicking in later on.

For now, I'm happy enough to do my scales like a good girl who deserves coffee and biscuits afterwards lol
 

What

Member
Messages
314
I also use "The Jazz Method" and basic scales. I don't know all the notes, and am still struggling on getting low C to sound(slowly but surely) . I do run what I know though. I do little challenges to keep things interesting. I work on speed, try mixing up the rhythm a bit, turn the last note into the longest steady note I can hold. It's really worth the effort. It was not untill I started using exercises like these everyday, even if these are all I have time for, that I was able to get my tounge to articulate the notes without thinking about it. Now it's just like walking, you don't think about how you walk you just do it.
 
Top Bottom