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Beginner Sax sax lessons

shamba504424

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Hello,been playing tenor for about 3 months now and am doing the online thing and it's pretty good but was thinking that some face to face lessons would serve me well,I know it's difficult with all that's going on but looking to the future,anyway I live between the towns of Darwen and Bolton in Lancashire so if anyone can recommend a good teacher in this area that would be appreciated thank you
 

Adrian63

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I think Rod Mason lives in that neck somewhere : a monster player ; he may or may not do lessons but worth looking into...I would !!
 

just saxes

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I think this depends on your age, but don't overlook famous players as potential teachers (or semi-famous -- is anybody in jazz really famous-famous, now?).

When I was in my 30s, I asked a couple of very well-known players whether they would be open to letting me pay them for lessons. Basically, until my 50s, nobody ever said no when I asked for lessons. Now, in my 50s, I'm emailing for Zoom lessons and sometimes players who don't know who I am just ignore my inquiries lol. And who can blame them, in these times.

Hm. Maybe some of them do know who I am.

For real: if there is a player near you whom you really admire, don't be afraid to approach them about lessons. If your interest is sincere, and they see that, probably the answer will be yes. Of course, some great players are great teachers, but not all are.
 

just saxes

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I do say that for a reason. While having an exercise and technique guide is priceless, what is more priceless is just to be around a great player, and to be able to absorb what makes them play the way they do.

I had one teacher who gave me two lessons, and then, when I told him, "What you gave me I can work on every day til the day I die and never be done with it. What else can I work on while I do?" his advice was, "Sleep with your horn."

But he also took me with him, everywhere he went, for 2 years.

You can guess what was the more important lesson between the scales he first gave me, the "Sleep with your horn" command, and the latter.

You can't play what you don't know, and have not experienced.

Just being around a truly great player is itself experience (and priceless, and again, if you ask, s/he may well say yes).

Jazz is an oral tradition. We can go further today than people did years ago, and prior to the internet, and a lot faster, but culture and experience cannot be faked and jazz is a literature, as deep and sophisticated as any literature, and as deeply and complicatedly rooted.
 

randulo

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One famous multi-instrumentalist told one famous saxophonist, who then passed it on to his students:

"You should listen to more music than you play."

While this sounds odd, it feels right. Unless you can listen and feel as well as understand the story told by the music you want to play, it will be hard to tell your own version of that story. This is true of any idiom, and any genre. There are a lot of great lessons on the Internet, but there are also a lot of videos about what makes a particular piece of music or musician great. For example, there is at least one series that explains why the teacher thinks the ten saxophonists he chose are among the best. Although these are subjective, and comments are always "why didn't you include (player x) in your list", those comments are missing the point. Listening to signature elements of a great player are one of the richest sources of musical knowledge that you can apply to your voyage in music.

Yes, learning the mechanicals of an instrument and music theory are the base of mastering it, but a deep understanding of why you like someone's playing regardless of instrument or genre, can be very helpful in developing your own talent.
 

just saxes

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One famous multi-instrumentalist told one famous saxophonist, who then passed it on to his students:

"You should listen to more music than you play."

While this sounds odd, it feels right. Unless you can listen and feel as well as understand the story told by the music you want to play, it will be hard to tell your own version of that story. This is true of any idiom, and any genre. There are a lot of great lessons on the Internet, but there are also a lot of videos about what makes a particular piece of music or musician great. For example, there is at least one series that explains why the teacher thinks the ten saxophonists he chose are among the best. Although these are subjective, and comments are always "why didn't you include (player x) in your list", those comments are missing the point. Listening to signature elements of a great player are one of the richest sources of musical knowledge that you can apply to your voyage in music.

Yes, learning the mechanicals of an instrument and music theory are the base of mastering it, but a deep understanding of why you like someone's playing regardless of instrument or genre, can be very helpful in developing your own talent.

Well put.

I just thought of another way to illustrate a slightly different but not unrelated point.

If you've ever watched a billiards/pool genius play, and you play, it's almost a religious experience. But, if you want to play like that person, to watch it from the stands/bleachers is very different from watching it as her/his opponent, at the table, at table level, with all those emotions and thoughts and situations in play -- including the empathetic understanding you will get whether you want it or not, almost completely as an unconscious byproduct, by relating to the problem s/he is facing with each shot and glance and analysis and reaction, in trying to beat you.

That's why when you're learning to play pool, you should gamble against great players you can't beat, even with whatever "spot" they're willing to give you. "Focal length is everything," in all aspects of life, not just film and the gaze of the camera. That is true of the camera -- cinematographers and directors obsess over the closeness of the shot for every kind of shot (if they are any good) because it alters the meaning completely, how far from the action you are.

The further away you are, in a way, the less you understand. Although there are a lot of stupid people in the world who have never been close to anything, yet think they know everything.
 

Pete Effamy

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Yes, learning the mechanicals of an instrument and music theory are the base of mastering it, but a deep understanding of why you like someone's playing regardless of instrument or genre, can be very helpful in developing your own talent.

The further away you are, in a way, the less you understand.

Agree 100%. In all my years of teaching the students that actually listened to music with a saxophone were very few. Quite how they had any idea what it was they were trying to achieve was beyond me.
 

shamba504424

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60
Well I have just turned 70 so maybe I would be considered too old to consider giving lessons to so may just have to rely on the online stuff but will ask anyway
 

Jimmymack

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A short while after I started with the saxophone, within a couple of ears, I developed a passion for Mozart operas and I was listening to them almost exclusively, any jazz I listened to didn't mean much to me and the rock I listened to was mostly guitar centred, but at least it was modern music. When I thought I had some command of the horn I signed up for a workshop and although I could have a decent, beginner's stab at improvising it was very stilted. I occurred to me that I was maybe playing jazz with a Mozart, or at least classical, bias which I didn't want, so I stopped listening to opera and started listening to jazz and, what do you know, my improv and phrasing generally improved very quickly. When I think back it's amazing how dumb I was and I've no idea what I thought I was doing, but there you go. I haven't listened to Mozart operas in decades.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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Well I have just turned 70 so maybe I would be considered too old to consider giving lessons to so may just have to rely on the online stuff but will ask anyway

Absolutely not too old. I'm older than you, and I'm still having lessons, and still (hopefully) improving.

This site may be useful:

Or if you have a local music shop, then they may have a list of teachers in your area.
 

Adrian63

Senior Member
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1,775
You are most welcome shamba :
I don't get people who set out their stall to be a musician but don't listen..
I am immersed in music every day : if I'm not playing I'm listening : if I'm not listening I'm reading or transcribing.
You can't listen to saxophones twenty four seven ; diversity is good . You absolutely have to know the lyric to convey a tune . " moon river " / " the nearness of you " are not difficult to play from the dots but that is the simple bit ; telling the story and conveying the emotion is the important bit.
@guidocreo : put up his own clip a while back : a Neopolitan tune i assume was a love song . I have no idea of the words but he managed to get the emotion across wonderfully . That's what it is about ; stirring an emotional response. If you just go note for note it will sound bland and pointless. You don't even have to be a great player but if you play with sincerity and you know what you are saying you are halfway there.
The same applies to improvisation within the tune. Stick to the theme : the emotion .Too often somebody can be telling the story just fine but when I comes to their improvised solo section they are off on a tangent with no relation to what they have just said . A good solo does not mean play fast and fìt in your most impressive latest licks ; chances are they won't fit . Less is more is often the hardest...
 

Zugzwang

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Re the whole Zoom/Whatsapp/etc lessons @shamba504424 , I’m finding things generally easier when you know/ have met those you’re Zooming with… easier to relate to the tiny figure/s on screen… Maybe even a “no blow” meet… good luck.
 

Pete Thomas

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Hello,been playing tenor for about 3 months now and am doing the online thing and it's pretty good but was thinking that some face to face lessons would serve me well,I know it's difficult with all that's going on but looking to the future,anyway I live between the towns of Darwen and Bolton in Lancashire so if anyone can recommend a good teacher in this area that would be appreciated thank you
You could post in the teacher wanted section:

 

Pete Thomas

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I think this depends on your age, but don't overlook famous players as potential teachers (or semi-famous -- is anybody in jazz really famous-famous, now?).

Mr Anecdote just tapped me on the shoulder. I once made contact with a very famous (jazz) alto player and asked if he gave lessons. Sure he said, £5

So I arrived, he looked a bit pale and shaky and was quite grumpy.

He sat me down, and then just practised for half an hour.

He took the £5 and rushed off to buy a packet of what you could buy for £5 in those days.
 
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