Studies SmartMusic Heads-Up for newbie....


My first and hopefully not my last post in this great resource, which I have to thank PT for provding and maintaining.

I am a new alto player, started about two months ago and still dabbling with the main six keys, my embouchure, breath control, articulation, intonation and everything in between!

The diary that Chris kept of his journey learning to play was a great read, and I certainly empathise with his early struggles! Altough I played cello many years ago I have forgotten all my music theory, so really I am starting from scratch.

Moving from my Yvette Buffet Crampon to a Yamaha YAS-275 and 4C MP certainly helped, and I will keep this instrument for a long time I expect; not sure if I am ready to move up from a Rico Royal 1.5 to something a bit tougher just yet.

Sorry for my rambles, now to my question.

I have read a lot about SmartMusic and how useful it might be so I decided to get an annual USD 36 subscription, which seems very good value. To those that have used the product in anger can you point me to what may be good material for a 2 month player to start to work with, there is a wealth of stuff and I do not want to get ahead of myself!

Also is it necessary to have a stand alone mic, I am trying to use my built in laptop mic which may be of little use.

The only downside to SM I have found so far, that is obvious of course, is that all the musical theory is USA based and not European; guess a small price to pay.

Thanks for any help with this, there is so much stuff out there it's all a bit daunting. I have several books alraedy, and am loking at Noteworthy and Audacity as suggested by TenorSaxMan (I think it was?). By the way I am taking weekly lessons too.

Cheers guys and gals,
Larry Teal's The Art of the Saxophone... Brilliant book.
Stop fretting about all the peripherals - books, cds, web stuff, etc. Just play the sax. As often as you can. Long notes, scales - you know, the usual stuff. There are no short cuts - just put the hours in.
Thanks Kev and Nick.

Good advice on getting out only what you put in NIck, it's no hardship playing often rather a great deal of fun - apart maybe from the angst I could cause to my neighbours!
I tend to agree with Nick. But I guess I'm like you - I want the books for info and background, especially when I have a question that I want answered before the next lesson. I'm not a play it and forget the rest person. I want to know, to understand what's happening and why. But it's easy to get mired down in too much theory.

You're probably learning from a structured tutorial/book with CD, which will introduce some theory as part of the exercises, starting simple and getting in deeper as you progress. These work really well. But it doesn't provide a reference/bridge to what you may want to know or will come across before the books get to it.

There's a lot of good stuff on Pete's main site, and there are quite a few online resources as well as books available. Wikipedia's pretty good, but more as a reference, than as a tutorial. I suggested Teal's book because it explains the sax, the mouthpiece/reed and your body really well... For music theory, a reasonable intro is 'Harmony and Theory: A Comprehensive Source for All Musicians (Essential Concepts)' by Keith Wyatt and Carl Schroeder published by Hal Leonard.

But there's not a lot of difference between US and UK theory - just the names of the note lengths and rests. What is confusing is the different ways of referring to the same chords, depending more on who wrote the book, than any proper standard.
I too have SmartMusic and found it to be very useful but only in conjunction with the lessons from my tutor.
I run it on an Imac using the built in mic. and it works well. What it has done is give me an interactive way of practising what I deem to be the more monotonous lessons i.e scales, etc. Of course its not everyones cup of tea but I find it to be useful for a real beginner.
Sometimes I just let it play some of the examples and it gives me a good understanding of what I should be aiming to achieve


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