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Starting Over

mysty

New Member
Messages
2
I'm new here so be gentle with me :)
I played alto sax for 4 years until 2 years ago. I was okay, but not good, if that makes sense. I practiced maybe 5 times a week for an hour. I got up to grade 5, practical and theory and was about to embark on grade 6 practical, Jazz. Theory was all self taught. Anyway, to cut a long story a bit shorter, some bad stuff happened domestically and I just stopped completely. But I miss playing and I want to start up again but after two years I can only remember a few tunes and any technical skills I had built up have just gone, I even struggle with scales , top and bottom notes, remembering basic chords, etc. This may sound like a trite question so I expect some mickey taking answers, but what's the best way to get going again? Don't say just pick up the sax and blow, I'm not that clever or relaxed, I need structure, I can't just go cherry picking through old sessions or else I just won't feel like I'm gaining any traction. Are there any instruction/lesson books/on-line programmes etc. out there for old folk like me wanting to start up again?
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Well. I hate to be obvious, but it seems to me that the thread title says it all. You probably need to start again from scratch. Do more or less what you did last time, as it seems to have worked. I bet you'll find it goes a lot quicker the second time around, and will be more fun than you think. Once you've got back to where you were, you can worry about how to go forward, just like the rest of us.

Good luck!

Martin
 

Der Wikinger

Member
Messages
180
I played from the time I was 8 until I was discharged from the U. S. Army at the age of 23. Did not play for 35 years. My mentor got me going again with a 1970's series "Mexiconn" that plays well. During my youth I had studied music and had gotten an A. A. in music with Tenor Sax being my instrument. Even though It was hard at first it is amazing what comes back over time. You may be pleasantly surprised what comes back to your memory.
 

mysty

New Member
Messages
2
Thanks Martin. You're right of course, but the main problem is that my initial four years were a hotch-potch of learning bits of this and that, no 1 through to 10' lesson structure, so to speak. So, I can't repeat what I did before 'cos it was a one-off, other than the ABRSM grade exams, which I crunched through in two years. And if I'm honest I'm not sure if I could face "When the Saints Come Marching In' or 'The Pink Panther' again. I don't mind picking up a 'from scratch' tuition book because I could probably get the previous 4 years down to 1 this time, but what would be the best primer/book do you think? And of course I will go get a teacher, I have moved some way from the guy who helped before with the grade exams. Any suggestions for a SW London sax tutor, jazz-based preferred but not essential?
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,302
I expect it'll start to come back once you get into it. I also guess it all depends what you want to play that determines the best route. Are you a jazz fan or rock or what?

There are some good books out there and some great online resources. I'm guessing you read music ok too, a big failing of mine. I use play-along books quite a bit and also the Real Books and I also do a fair bit of transcribing and that means listening to a lot of music too. I love playing scales and also chord changes around a key centre but that's cos I want to play jazz and I need that stuff internalised.

There are some good books out there from Aebersold, Hal Leonard (play alongs), even a Tune a Day or there's the John O'Neal books. Also get yourself a copy of Top Tones for the Saxophone and the Art of Saxophone Playng - both have tips on practice and on technique including embouchure.

Oh and welcome and good luck!
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,418
Mysty - Pete Thomas, our mentor on this site, does a well-regarded introduction CD which promises; "In this program, he introduces beginners to the alto saxophone: the parts of the saxophone and how to assemble them, fitting the reed, posture and breathing, saxophone embouchure, holding and blowing into the saxophone, tuning, fingering, notes and intervals, tonguing and slurring, bending notes and vibrato, the rudiments of reading music and keeping time, scales, triad arpeggios, how to improvise simple songs, and playing the blues." Well worth £17.50 I am sure. Details under the "Music Store" tab at the top of the page.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Hi. Welcome. At least you're not starting from scratch like I was a year ago. I'm sure it'll come back quicker than you realise - my wife's dnoe this with guitar and the speed was amazing.

Most commonly recommended self teach book here is the ONeal jazz method mentioned above. Haven't seen it myself, I'm learning fom a german book. But it may be worth hanging on until you get a teacher and see what he/she suggests... Agree with the recommendations for Top Tones and The Art of the Saxophone as well - both are reasonably priced on Amazon, or you can try Jazzwise for them as well.

Jazzology will cover the technical/theory stuff.

Hang in, we're fiendly, sorry, that should be friendly!
 

jthole

Member
Messages
227
I stopped playing music altogether for more than 10 years (stupid me!), and the last time I played saxophone was 20 years ago before I picked up the instrument again. I am playing 3 years now, and relearning goes a lot faster than the first time.

Good luck!
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,662
Hi Misty and welcome to the cafe. I'll not be giving any advice on learning cos I'm a lazy self taught non disciplined type person. I just love playing the sax though! Have fun, you'll soon be back up to speed.
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,409
Hi Misty

I'm 3yrs in now and to be honest my practice has been a bit of a hotch -potch like yours driven mainly by my desire to play tunes but now I'm going back to basics and my early learning sax books and really enjoying it second time round,I'm sure you will too when you already have the basics rolling round in your forgotten memory banks nothing gets totally lost it's all in there waiting to resurface so get stuck in and enjoy the sax again...john
 
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