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Okay on Scales but not Playing Music


For some reason I love playing scales well not to many actually maybe about 8 -- I love just hanging unto each note etc - when I then play actual music pieces I am not so good - Kind of start okay but then some notes start to sound awful - for some reason the high D just does not happen -- I then stop and try to keep playing the notes that I cannot get during a music piece -- I can usally play them okay again - however when I return to the music piece its the same old story - inconsistent or what!!
Probably because your concentration is taken by playing the music, keep playing it as you become as familiar as you are with the scales it will sound better :)

Play very slowly and methodically at first.
Ignore the notes that don't speak, just play the next note and keep going.
Relax - that top D is more likely to speak if you don't get wound up by it not speaking.
Once you have played the piece all the way through, then stop and go back and look at the few notes before, through and after the note that didn't speak.
Practice that phrase, feel how it plays - under your fingers and in your mouth.
And above all, enjoy.
Good advice, in particular about concentrating.

If you have to concentrate on trying to read the right notes, get the timing right etc. you will sound awful. Although I started playing clarinet and sax half a century ago I never really got into reading well - and I know the syndrome well! (I am now - belatedly - working on bring my reading up to scratch!)

Even if you aren't playing from a score, if you don't know the tune well you won't play it well.

Learn a short tune - either from sheet music or by ear. If learning from sheet music, once you can play from the score start memorising the tune phrase by phrase until you know it by heart and can play it confidently without the score - and without having to concentrate on getting it right. Your tone will now be much better and you will be better at hitting those notes which can be tricky on a sax.

Then play it through a few times every day or every other day.

Then learn another tune.... and so on.

And you need to play stuff at least half an hour a day just to keep your lip up to scratch... my view is that half an hour a day is just a maintenance dose - I find that unless I do more I make no progress on anything very much.
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Have to say I was a bit better this morning just took above advice and tried to relax still far from perfect and again missed high D but kept at it did a comple tune including high D right through without missing a note.
yippee!! thanks again - g

Onwards and upwards :)

Also I find having at least a warm up, better still a half hour warm up (could be scales, playing through a few tunes, could be letting rip) and then doing other things and coming back hours later and having a longer session (of whatever) is a very good plan.

It gives a better results with embouchure, technique, tone - the lot. If I can find time to space a couple of warmups during the day before a proper practice session or whatever I find it even better.

Loving playing scales is good!

Get to play all 12 major scales from whatever tutor or book of exercises you are using. Then memorise them until you can play them all from memory - pay extra attention to the ones you find tricky. Then play them one after the other in various ways - moving up by a semitone to the next scale, say, or going around the circle of fourths (or fifths, in the other direction). While you are doing this, get the best tone you can, and get your breathing sorted out.

A good exercise is to play a simple little tune (twinkle twinkle little star, anything) and then try to play it in all keys, working out the fingering in each key in your head and using your ears. You could start doing this with the eight keys you have now...

And do practice simple improvisation all the time... just little alterations to the melody, jigging the rhythm around a bit, 'ragging' the tune, 'jazzing it up' a bit.... it develops your rhythmic sense which it totally essential... and you can learn how to do clever improvisation on chord changes later.... and keep making it fun, you will make faster progress, which encourages you, which leads to more fun...

Lots of stuff to look at on Pete's 'Taming the Saxophone site!

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