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Beginner Teacher plays but doesn’t teach me much

saxnik

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Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom
Speaking as a teacher I was reading this debate with some interest. Most of the advice on here is sound, and you should make your own decision, but I'm not sure I can completely agree with RoyT...

a teacher on a one to one basis should always tailor the lessons to the individual learners needs,
Agreed!

get into good habits of playing and practise from the start.
Definitely agree here.

you have been learning only a short time and your lessons should be no more than half hour long, you should be encouraged to practise no more than 20mins each time you go to practise on your sax any longer could have a damaging effect on the mussles in the lower face that are used to play, if this happens your playing is lightly to be out of tune perticulily at the top end of the sax, if this is not being told to you, then you need to find a teacher that will.
This is where we disagree... As long as you're not causing yourself pain, there's no upper limit on practice time. You may want to take breaks for comfort and to think about something else - too much concentration on anything starts to be counterproductive after a while.

As for 'muscle damage' - this is very difficult to achieve, and muscle heals even if you do, so permanent effects to muscles are a very remote risk (I'm no doctor, so I won't say they can't happen!). Stop if it hurts, and try again later when your muscles have had chance to relax.

As you'll read elsewhere on here, tuning (on all notes not just top notes) depends on airflow as well as embouchure, and fine control of both happens with persistent practice, particularly of long-note scales.

If you're concerned about reading music, start with familiar tunes (this is why nursery rhymes feature heaviliy in tutor books) so that you can start to associate the pattern of dots with the pattern of the tune. Many players don't bother learning the names of the notes to start with, just the fingerings for each line or space on the stave. The names are useful for the teacher, so they can refer to 'that note there' without pointing... Later they come in much more handy when you get into more theoretical learning.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

Nick
 

RoyT

New Member
Messages
5
Speaking as a teacher I was reading this debate with some interest. Most of the advice on here is sound, and you should make your own decision, but I'm not sure I can completely agree with RoyT...


Agreed!


Definitely agree here.


This is where we disagree... As long as you're not causing yourself pain, there's no upper limit on practice time. You may want to take breaks for comfort and to think about something else - too much concentration on anything starts to be counterproductive after a while.

As for 'muscle damage' - this is very difficult to achieve, and muscle heals even if you do, so permanent effects to muscles are a very remote risk (I'm no doctor, so I won't say they can't happen!). Stop if it hurts, and try again later when your muscles have had chance to relax.

As you'll read elsewhere on here, tuning (on all notes not just top notes) depends on airflow as well as embouchure, and fine control of both happens with persistent practice, particularly of long-note scales.

If you're concerned about reading music, start with familiar tunes (this is why nursery rhymes feature heaviliy in tutor books) so that you can start to associate the pattern of dots with the pattern of the tune. Many players don't bother learning the names of the notes to start with, just the fingerings for each line or space on the stave. The names are useful for the teacher, so they can refer to 'that note there' without pointing... Later they come in much more handy when you get into more theoretical learning.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

Nick

Just to clear a misunderstanding the damage i was taking about is the tiedness nick mentioned like all mussles when they are over used they need time to recover, over practising will cause weakness to the mussles which as a knock on effect for the next time you practise, in my expierence with beginners it does effect tuning, also, i have found with new beginners over practising can, and sometimes does cause cheek mussles to collaps the result is they play with puffed out cheeks, this is not a good habit to get into. i am sorry angie if i caused you concern, just to say playing the saxophone is a great instrument to play and in any event of over practise there is no lasting damage sep you may have to miss practise if you have over done it the day before, practise a little and everyday. good luck
 

saxnik

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379
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Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom
Thanks for that RoyT - that makes much more sense. Mind you after five months you're probably doing it right or wrong by now..!

Keep up the good work.
 

old git

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.......and sometimes does cause cheek mussles to collaps the result is they play with puffed out cheeks, this is not a good habit to get into.

Brass teachers make the same statement but it didn't worry Dizzy.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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I'm not bending my sax so that it looks like his trumpet...

Seriously, though, I can't get a decent note out of my sax if I let my cheeks blow out, I have to keep them pulled in.
 

Semiquaver

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102
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Hertfordshire, England
What a great discussion. Well done guys. I tried to rate it five stars but my vote did not seem to register.

Oh and I taught myself in the beginning. I used the 'Learn as you play' tutor book. It also comes with a cd so you get to hear how it should be played. I believe with the correct amount of self disipline and drive we can teach ourselves. The resources available now are enormous. Play along cd, online help even summer schools at adult colledges. Do the lot. get as much exposure to playing as possible. Get a small cheap keyboard to help with music theory. Read read and read some more.

Good luck.
 

saxnik

Member
Messages
379
Locality
Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom
This comes back to that "10,000 hours to achieve excellence" thing (mentioned somewhere on here I'm sure).

It is possible to teach yourself to a phenomenal level from scratch, if you spend enough time learning. By learning I mean listening to recordings, copying sounds and practicing techniques by trial and error. A lot of the jazz greats did exactly this.
The reason a teacher is useful is that he or she can direct you using their own experience along the more favourable paths and you get to bypass the dead-end routes.

If you spend your practice time on only the beneficial stuff you stand a chance of being competent without having to spend your whole life doing it.
If you have more than eight hours a day to spend doing whatever you're learning then you get to investigate all the cul-de-sacs and become Michael Brecker, Tiger Woods, Michael Schumacher, David Beckham, Johnny Wilkinson, Picasso, Raymond Blanc, Alan Sugar, any other idol you care to mention that has got to the top of their industry by doing things their own way.

Think that's what Semiquaver was getting at...

Nick
 

Emma

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50
Locality
Cambridge
Hi Angie.

Like youself I am a beginner and have now been playing for a year now. I could not sight read before I started but with practice that is getting better. I would advise you not to put the letters in as this can prevent you from learning to sight read. I only do this if I need to transpose the music & I cannot do this by sight reading alone as yet. If you are practicing every day then that's great.

If there are any twiddly bits that I keep getting wrong then I just go over these bars again & again until I get them right. Clapping the rhythm helps as does learning all the major and relative minor scales - do one a week or fortnight including the arpeggios and different intervals and start on each note of the scale. once you know the scales you will find reading music much easier as all music is is a bunch of scales & arpeggios stuck together with differing intervals... If you do this you will have all the main scales cracked beween 6 months to a year!

The ABRSM sclaes & arpeggios book has them in & I also use the Otto Langey book 'The Saxophone' (first published in 1927!) and although ancient goes through all the major & harmonic minor keys with pieces in each key and also has all the intervals aswell.

Hope this helps
Emma
 

thomsax

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Sweden
All blues, r&b saxplayers can try this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPh4-UAm4rg
It's a harmonica instruktion , Sonny Terry comp and train rhythm. You learn a lot from the harmonica. The teacher is Derrick "Big" Walker. A good musician and teacher. He is a good saxplayer as well.

Thomas
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,299
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Buckinghamshire
All blues, r&b saxplayers can try this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPh4-UAm4rg
It's a harmonica instruktion , Sonny Terry comp and train rhythm. You learn a lot from the harmonica. The teacher is Derrick "Big" Walker. A good musician and teacher. He is a good saxplayer as well.

Thomas

Awesome! I want a harmonica now!!

I seem to be playing more and more by ear. To be honest, my sight-reading is pretty average at best. I can read all the dots but getting the timing/rhythm and all at normal playing speed is hard for me. Much happier internalising a tune by listening to it and then going from there. Helps if you have the dots as well for bits you can't work out yourself.

Another great thing is playing licks you've heard in al the keys, and in major/minor. Also working out simple tunes you've known for years and playing them around the cycle of in all keys. Great fun and does wonders for your ears. Try Christmas Carols, hymns, old classics or nursery rhymes - even happy birthday. Try em all. :w00t:
 
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