All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians
SYOS

Navarro the naive wants some advice.

navarro

Senior Member
Messages
863
Hi all, I have just started playing with a saxophone ensemble and my timing has gone completely to pieces and indeed our big band leader has commented stating that I am not coming in on time after intro bars. So I ask myself is this due to the ensemble not having a rhythm section as such or indeed a conductor. As the newest recruit to the ensemble I am playing 4th alto which really is the bass line as we don`t have a Bari. Any hints/tips gladly received. Regds. my search for knowledge has not been dented by a recent trip on a bendy-bus. N.
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,285
Navarro its probably is down to you being new at this,counting is not always easy especially counting rests.
Give yourself some time and this will get easier,the more you practise this the easier it will become.
Having a rhythm section still means you have to count.

Brian
 

Littlewailer

Member
Messages
133
Metronome. Pure and Simple.

Major scales. If you can set the click so it's on 2 and four great. Start to imagine the rhythm section behind you. Even on your major scales.

But if you just have a very basic metronome set up you can still improve a lot. Just by using it.

Without the horn. Just put the metronome on at about 90 BPM. Start snapping your finger to 2 and 4.
Switch to one and three.
Now just 1.

Start anticipating the beats so you can start to place the snaps either just behind or just ahead of the beats. This seems simple but literally takes years to perfect.

Time is like a fabric running over the whole of existence. It is malleable and highly structured at the same time.
 

MellowD

Lost In Theory
Messages
544
Hi Navarro!

I'm in an orchestral training band without a rhythm section, so its all about the counting in. Be sure to know how many bars the intro takes, and when the conductor begins, - some people tap their foot to keep the beat and the count, personally I count the beats in my head, and the tighten one finger at a time to acknowledge how many bars have completed so that I know when to come in.

Playing the Tenor means that, like you, I am predominantly playing a base line, which in itself can be quite satisfying, especially when you are the only one with that specific part to play - an example is one right now where the baritone horn plays one beat while I rest, and then they rest while I play the next beat ....... a bit of a oompa bounce I guess, but it sounds really great and makes the whole christmas song sound really happy.

I work with the metronome as much as I can at home, though I find it challenging to do that as my electrical one isn't loud enough so I lose the idea of it, and the mechanical one is just plain awkward to get going right. I find it much easier to observe the musical director/conductor in front of the band and keep my timing there so very much better.

In my first few weeks at the band though, this was all a bit elusive while I was settling in. Two months in, and I'm thoroughly enjoying every single session and the challenge of playing dots that have literally just been given to me a moment ago.

Give yourself a break HJ! You have to give yourself permission to adjust to any new group - you know that as much as anyone. Imagine it was someone like me asking this question, and how you would answer me - then take your own advice :D

Your pal Mel
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,079
It takes time to get the feel for a new group and playing new pieces. Keep an eye on the leader. Keep at it, you'll get it. Perhaps find a backing track to practice with. I have one in the Sinatra song book "All of me". The voice counts in four beats and you play the first phrase then the band comes in. It took me a few attempts to get it right. It's another skill to be learned is all.
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
I'm in an orchestral training band without a rhythm section, so its all about the counting in. Be sure to know how many bars the intro takes, and when the conductor begins, - some people tap their foot to keep the beat and the count, personally I count the beats in my head, and the tighten one finger at a time to acknowledge how many bars have completed so that I know when to come in.
Here's a tip for finger counting. Sounds simple but I was really grateful when I was playing in orchestras (lots of counting for the wind players!) and someone showed me this. And I used to be a mathematician.

Fingers count one, thumb counts five. So you put the fingers down one at a time. When you get to 5, you put the thumb down and lift the fingers. Then you start putting them down again for 6-9. Between the two hands you can then count up to 99 bars without losing your place.
 

MellowD

Lost In Theory
Messages
544
Here's a tip for finger counting. Sounds simple but I was really grateful when I was playing in orchestras (lots of counting for the wind players!) and someone showed me this. And I used to be a mathematician.

Fingers count one, thumb counts five. So you put the fingers down one at a time. When you get to 5, you put the thumb down and lift the fingers. Then you start putting them down again for 6-9. Between the two hands you can then count up to 99 bars without losing your place.

Thanks for that Big Martin! Maybe I'm not being so childish as I thought then :D It was working so I've stuck with it, and I come in just nicely now - unsure how I work it once I get to 15 - since I only have two thumbs - do I have to take my shoes and socks off?
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Thanks for that Big Martin! Maybe I'm not being so childish as I thought then :D It was working so I've stuck with it, and I come in just nicely now - unsure how I work it once I get to 15 - since I only have two thumbs - do I have to take my shoes and socks off?
No, no, the other hand counts as 10 and 50, just like 2-digit decimal numbers.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,079
If you count knuckles on your fingers with your thumb with the left hand (12) and count how many times you've done this with the thumb of your right hand, you can count up to 144. I think it was some ancient middle eastern method for counting sheep.
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
If you count knuckles on your fingers with your thumb with the left hand (12) and count how many times you've done this with the thumb of your right hand, you can count up to 144. I think it was some ancient middle eastern method for counting sheep.
But then you've got some calculating to do to know where you are. The rests in music parts are usually wiritten in decimal rather than base 12 numerals (shame, really). Would have been good for counting old money, though.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

sushidushi

Mine's an espresso
Messages
651
Back to metronomes, you can get flashing versions on fancy schmancy mobile phones. There's a pretty good one called Visual Metronome on Android.
 

MellowD

Lost In Theory
Messages
544
Back to metronomes, you can get flashing versions on fancy schmancy mobile phones. There's a pretty good one called Visual Metronome on Android.
Ahhhh now a visual prompt would be like having the musical director in front of me, which I find easier. Off to find one for my iPhone. I know, I know, I should have looked earlier ....... there's so many, many things ...........
 

navarro

Senior Member
Messages
863
Thanks everyone as usual sound advice I particularly like Big Ms. and LittleWs. approach. Timimg is my weak spot and relying to heavily on conductors prompts. Thanks again. Deep in thought. N
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
Although I wasn't terribly old when the decimal currency came in, I do think that decimalisation was the beginning of the end. This decimal stuff made people lazy.
I agree 72/144

Back to the OP, since Navarro, in the past, posted another thread about playing Autumn Leaves... Are you sure your "one" is in the right place?
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Subscriber
Messages
8,898
Thanks for that Big Martin! Maybe I'm not being so childish as I thought then :D It was working so I've stuck with it, and I come in just nicely now - unsure how I work it once I get to 15 - since I only have two thumbs - do I have to take my shoes and socks off?
You can count up to 1023 using fingers and thumbs.
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
You can count up to 1023 using fingers and thumbs.
Theoretically, yes. But doing it accurately (and knowing where you're up to just from the feel of your fingers), while your mind is half on other things 'cause you're conting through your 37 bars rest for the umpteenth time, is another matter. I submit that the method I described is more reliable and I can't remember ever having to count more than 99 bars.
 
Saxholder Pro

Members online

Help!Mailing List
Top Bottom