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New on here, question about playing/teaching

C_Claudemonster

Formerly saxgirl22
Subscriber
Messages
399
Location
England, UK
Hi, I'm new on here tonight (uk). I have a question and wondered if anyone could advise as i'd be very grateful indeed! I have been asked to teach a beginner nxt week for a 1 hr trial lesson. I'm apprehensive as i don't really know where to start and want to make sure the lesson goes really well as he may want to come back and progress. I have grade 8 on violin & clarinet and play my tenor sax in a big band so I really should know how to structure a lesson but this isn't my everyday profession and I don't want the lesson to go badly! The person I will be teaching is a beginner who plays by ear and doesn't read music. He plays alto and can play the instrument to an extent but wants to learn properly and move on to tenor eventually once the technique of playing sax has been established.
Any ideas on how I could structure a lesson would be most appreciated. Hope I have posted in the right section too :)
I look forward to any replies
Many thanks, Saxgirl22
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
22,004
Location
Just north of Munich
I'm no expert, but I spent a fair amount of time training people in computers and public speaking.

I'd be tempted to go about it something like this:

1 - get a teach yourself sax book. Some good ones around. Preferably with a CD.
2 - think yourself into a student mode and try and work out what the student's expecting.
3 - Seems as if you have some idea of where the student's at musically, but plan to spend a reasonable amount of time assessing his playing abilities - reed control, embouchure, diaphragm breathing, finger positions (watch for future palm key probs), and most important tone. Ability to play tunes/scales. And what are his long tones like.
4 - Part of this needs to be social... So don't be afraid to chat a little.

With that in mind, I'd plan to spend the first part of the lesson on the assessment. Pick a couple of things that need to be worked on. And spend some time working on them. Make this a point of the next week's practice.

You're going to need to teach the student to read music. So follow the lead in the teach yourself book and introduce the music theory as the book delivers it. If the exercises are too simple, work forward a little, but make sure the groundwork's done. If it's not too soon, introduce C and get that as a practice exercise, concentrating on smoothness, regularity AND reading the notes as he plays, mentally naming them. If you look at the self teach book, you'll find that there's something new (musically) introduced on each page. Would be good to anlyse these learning points. And make sure you cover them.

Set some exercises/page(s) in the book to cover and let the student work on if there's time.

One of the hardest things as a teacher, after getting yourself to talk at, not down to, the student's level, is to accept questions, often the questions are because you haven't expleined/cevered something properly - and this can lead to self-recrimination. Just relax, it happens all the time, and a good chat around the questions is usually beneficial. Don't over explain, but do move from something known to the unknown in your explanations.

But really you're playing by ear here, depending on the student's ability and motivation. A little challenge every week is good, but don't expect too much. You'll soon get the feel of how fsat he can progress, and by the sound of it it's going to be fast...
 

MartinL

Member
Messages
378
Location
Bilston, United Kingdom.
I would go with a simple book and work on simple tunes. Remember your "tune a day for recorder"?
Go for Abracadabra or "the complete saxophone player" book 1, three notes B A G and a simple melody, just like primary school.
 

visionari1

Senior Member
Messages
1,606
Location
Out in the Countryside of Nelson NZ
Hi Colleen,
All really good advice given above, my 2 cents worth… be yourself, show your passion for music and ask the student if they enjoyed the lesson, thou not too much as challenge is essential for learning and progressing.
Cheers
Jimu
 

Phil Edwards

Senior Member
Messages
1,335
Location
East Sussex
I would go with a simple book and work on simple tunes. Remember your "tune a day for recorder"?
Go for Abracadabra or "the complete saxophone player" book 1, three notes B A G and a simple melody, just like primary school.
Yes, fully agree. When I do taster lessons to give people a chance to try out the sax I use Abracadabra. It's simple enough for them to grasp, even without any musical experience, but tuneful enough that they feel they've really achieved something. Depending on what they're looking to do there are better books to progress on to, but this is a very good starter.

Phil
 

Martin

Member
Messages
212
Location
Grenada, West Indies
If you're teaching a young child, then Abracadabra or A Tune a Day Book 1 would be fine... a child will be thrilled to learn Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, etc. If you're dealing with an adult though, I think it will really put them off. Try 'The Jazz Method for Saxophone' by John O'Neill...it launches straight into cool sounding, rythmic blues tunes, with a play along CD...just 2 or 3 notes...very simple...much cooler than the childish stuff in Abracadabra. It also suggests material to listen to and tackles basic theory...I think it's great.

I tried to teach my son clarinet using Abracadabra...but he couldn't take it and defected to the guitar (which he now loves with a passion)...traitor!

Good luck,
Martin
 

kiwi simon

New Member
Messages
26
Location
chch, nz
If you're teaching a young child, then Abracadabra or A Tune a Day Book 1 would be fine... a child will be thrilled to learn Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, etc. If you're dealing with an adult though, I think it will really put them off. Try 'The Jazz Method for Saxophone' by John O'Neill...it launches straight into cool sounding, rythmic blues tunes, with a play along CD...just 2 or 3 notes...very simple...much cooler than the childish stuff in Abracadabra. It also suggests material to listen to and tackles basic theory...I think it's great.

I tried to teach my son clarinet using Abracadabra...but he couldn't take it and defected to the guitar (which he now loves with a passion)...traitor!

Good luck,
Martin


Yep +1 for John O'Neill's book when teaching an adult. The Progressive Method series from Koala Publishing is not too bad either. Abracadaver? I wouldn't use this.

If not a book, and s/he is on alto, then the first 6 notes of 'Harlem Nocturne' starting on G ... then off A, then off D then Ab. Take a mp3 player etc and let them hear it. You'll have covered all 12 chromatics by then, plus the use of the octave ... and of course it's a great lick and leads nicely into listening to Earl Bostic (another aim for the lesson ... that listening is as important as playing and that now is the time to start gettin in to all that great music out there ... )

Simon
 
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