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Beginner progression

LeeY

New Member
Messages
22
Can anyone please recommend any type of courses (part time for adult learners) that might help me to develop? I have been playing alto sax for just over a year, and would like to structure my learning in some way that helps me to grasp the theoretical aspects. In the future I would like to learn how to play jazz

Thanks for any advice

Lee
 
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LeeY

New Member
Messages
22
Thanks Phil

I am in Somerset - near to Glastonbury, but am willing to travel

Thanks

Lee
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
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2,421
Location
Coulsdon, London/Surrey
Were you the Lee from Glastonbury who was at the Leighton Buzzard workshop on Saturday? If so, that was a good start for you. There must surely be a sax teacher somethere within travelling distance of you? There are some on-line directories you could try, although no-one on Pete's website list.There are also various books you could get hold of to help your jazz feel: some people like the Jamie Abersold series, but they have their detractors and I haven't used them myself. Also, if you are interested in jazz, listen to as much as you can and decide what genre and style you like.

Wonder if there are any local adult ed. groups? I'm very lucky as my local adult education body has three affiliated sax groups from beginner to advanced. Playing with others is very good for your reading and rhythmic skills.

Finally, I see Pete Canter has posted about his next workshop in February, at Castle Cary.
Good luck
YC
 
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LeeY

New Member
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22
Hi there YC, yes I am the one and same
I do have a tutor, but after the workshop, where I was a bit overwhelmed with some of the terminology, I thought it would be good for me to have a kind of formal structured type of course whereby I could learn all the scales (perhaps a bit ambitious). I guess in time my tutor - who has a jazz background, will teach me as I progress, but I guess I am trying to run before I can crawl!
I have just seen Pete Canter's website and will book myself in for the next workshop - hopefully his next one will be a bit more local to me. Maybe there are local players who have the same problem, that I will meet.
absolutely love playing the saxophone, just wish I had started years ago, when the old grey matter is a bit more receptive
Thanks for your help
Lee
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,421
Location
Coulsdon, London/Surrey
Lee
One thing you could do would be to get the ABRSM book of scales for alto sax. It covers all the scales and arpeggios needed from Grade 1 to 8. Useful even if you don't want to do performance exams (and I don't). I always keep that with me (along with the key transposition chart Eb/Bb/Concert from Pete's site here). Your teacher can take you through all these gradually and explain how the minor, wholetone, chromatic scales and basic chords up to dominant and diminished 7ths in there are constructed. Other things like pentatonics will come along as you need them.

Do it gradually ....and you're never too old! I was grey before I started playing.
YC
 

thehunt

Member
Messages
797
Location
Studham Bedfordshire
Hi Lee, Phil here we were in the same group playing Sugar with YC and Saffron. As i said to you then i thought you were really courageous to come along. I can't offer any advice on teachers as i don't live in your neck of the woods. Good luck anyway. Phil :welldone
Can anyone please recommend any type of courses (part time for adult learners) that might help me to develop? I have been playing alto sax for just over a year, and would like to structure my learning in some way that helps me to grasp the theoretical aspects. In the future I would like to learn how to play jazz

Thanks for any advice

Lee
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,232
Location
Skabertawe, South Wales
Hi Lee!

You could also get hold of the "Jazz method for Alto Saxophone" by John O'Neill" and/or ABRSM Jazz Grades stuff for Alto Sax (Grades 1 - 5 are covered) with decent music and CD's, and Jazz Scales etc so you could focus your learning. The London College of Music publish Popular Music Theory Grades 1 to 8 books and are a helpful way to master the theoretical stuff etc.

The best way I have found of learning Jazz is to learn and master certain pieces as part of your repertoire (The ABRSM Jazz Grades all include improvisation - from 8 bars upwards) and then develop a variety of Improvisations over time that suit the various pieces. I would say that you need to have some clear goals in mind and make a solid start in the right direction (have some sax players/pieces that motivate you and get off to a solid start). I started on Soprano and was motivated by Jan Garbarek as a key saxophonist. Imagine my excitement at being able to work out the notes to one of his famous pieces, and also be able to play a Grade 5 piece written by him. So I think motivation and aim is important. I would understand the phrase "Run before you can walk" as partly meaning a failure to put enough practise in, but partly about trying to progress without any real personal aims. If you want to learn Jazz, what sort of stuff do you have in mind? I wanted to learn 60's Jazz, Modern Jazz and Latin/Ska/Reggae, but not Dixie/Big Band/Early stuff.

So, I think it is useful to try and narrow down your aims, and you will have a stronger sense of direction/motivation and put the hard yards in anyway, and get more from what you do.
I don't know who you see for lessons - I am aware there is a Bryan Stuart Gunning in Bridgewater who teaches all saxes and plays for a band call GrooveHoppers (can be found at www.musicteachers.co.uk under Saxophone/Somerset, England. There are courses about but it sounds to me that you may need a clearer sense of direction first (if I am way off, please accept my unconditional apologies:blush:).

Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 
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LeeY

New Member
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22
Thanks for your advice, I will look at those books that have been recommended. My tutor has always encouraged me to listen to various alto players, and I seem to be drawn towards Benny Carter, at this time I only have Sax a La Carter from his collection. My trouble at the moment is my timing with reading music, which is why I was asking about suitable courses for adult learners. My sound has developed well, particularly over the last month or so - again I sought advice from this forum, so it is proving invaluable for me.
My lessons predominately involve working from the Jimmy Dorsey saxophone method book, which is progressing quite slowly namely because of my reading ability, or should I say inability, which seems to irritate my tutor, and then I get more nervous leading to more mistakes - I want this to be fun!
I have found a local college, which runs a music theory course, which is held in the evening over a 30-week period. In the prospectus it states that, "this course will cover the full range of rudiments and theory of music to siut your needs". I am not particularly concerned with passing exams, I just feel that playing with other players who are in a similar position will help me develop, as well as course of grasping the technical stuff. If anyone has any knowledge/views of this type of course your view/s will be very helpful
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
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21,982
Location
Just north of Munich
Good ideas from Tom. But it may not be the best to start switching/working from too many books. Unless there's something missing in your Dorsey book that you need/want to cover. Reading comes with practice, and will start to click sooner or later.
 
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LeeY

New Member
Messages
22
Thanks Kev
I think that if I can get the basics under my belt, then I should be able to build on this understanding, eg modes, etc
I will probably look at the music theory course, as a means of achieving this
Regards
Lee
 

thehunt

Member
Messages
797
Location
Studham Bedfordshire
Hi Lee, just revisiting your thread, i had posted in another thread about how i had difficulty understanding minor chords and scales. I bought music theory for dummies from Amazon. Quite a good book as it comes with a CD, although Written by Americans it is a good source of theory written in a no nonsense way which you dip in and out of. For £8 i think it is worth it to help with your theory.
Of course doing a course would be great but it is having the time for that.
Good luck, Phil
Thanks Kev
I think that if I can get the basics under my belt, then I should be able to build on this understanding, eg modes, etc
I will probably look at the music theory course, as a means of achieving this
Regards
Lee
 
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LeeY

New Member
Messages
22
Thanks phil
I agree, one major drawback is having the time, especially as it runs over 30-weeks, and I work irregular shifts so evenings aren't that easy to commit to.
I will have a look on amazon
Thanks for your help
Lee
 

stefank

Member
Messages
368
Location
Hobart, Tasmania
Hello Lee,

A lot of good advice has been given, but I will still put in my sixpence' worth.

I'm a conservatorium graduate, and consider myself proficient in both music theory and music literacy, but I still feel a novice when it comes to playing jazz. It's not that the knowledge of how to read music and of how it is constructed is not valuable - it is most certainly is. It's just that you don't want it in the forefront of your mind when you're trying to put together a solo - it should be doing its job in the back of your subconsciousness.

I suspect that we use two totally different parts of our brain when we play either by reading music, or "by ear". As someone who was raised as a "reading" musician I have found it difficult to let go and perform without the security blanket of a sheet of dots in front of me, but I'm getting better. I've found that if I want to play a tune an a jazzlike fashion the first thing I have to to do is to memorise, to internalise it, so I have a "feel" for it and where the chord changes come, rather than "knowledge" about it. I hope that makes some sense.


Playalongs are also useful. The Jamey Aebersold books have already been recommended to you, and I might also mention the computer program Band in a Box. You can type in a chord sequence (or whole song), choose a style and improvise to your heart's content. The rest of the band will never complain, although the rest of your household might.

So, theory is important, but it's not everything. When it comes to the crunch, it's not what you should be thinking about - which is music.
 
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