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Beginner thoughts and questions

LeeY

New Member
Messages
22
Hi all, it has been a while since I last posted, but I know how friendly and helpful you all are. I thought if I write down some thoughts about progress, then perhaps a question or two might pop up, so here goes. I am preparing for grade 3, this is after 2ish years of playing, squeaking, etc, and I think I see - and even hear some improvement. Hopefully the neighbours agree, and my windows are still intact! In time I want to play with other musicians, but would hope to feel more confident first. I have seen a few adverts around my area asking for grade 5-6 players. Therefore, is it normal for players to be at this standard before they should even think of broadening their playing? I play alto by the way, but recently purchased a yamaha tenor from a work colleague who preferred to use it as a dust collector - what a waste!
 

trimmy

One day i will...
Messages
10,273
Just my tuppence worth, I think if you are confident enough i don't see a problem playing with other musicians, I've been playing alto for 14 months and i aim to play within the next few months at a jam night, you have to remember these musicians were at your (our) stage once and from what I've seen they embrace novice players, or at least in the place i frequent they do :)

If i were you i would visit a few jam nights, take your sax, have abit of dutch courage (not too much) and if you feel brave enough go for it :) i intend to

Good luck :)
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
One option would be to go their rehearsals and find out what they play. You may find that in some cases grade 5 is an aspiration. In others you might be in a tight spot if you can't play reasonably well. Community bands sometimes have more than level. If that is the case, you could join the training band and learn the ropes for a year or so.

My experience has been that amateur groups are quite welcoming of learners. And the pieces they do often have quite simple parts even if the whole sounds impressive.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I think you'll be suprised at how much progress you've made. Recording yourself is one way of proving it, but anoher si to go back to the old books and try the stuff in them again. You'll be suprised at how easily it comes.... And how much more you can put into it.
 

c9off

Senior Member
Messages
604
Having been where you are about 3 years ago, in my case progress was by joining a community band (complete beginners through to grade 6 ish), initially it was tricky, but given a few months soon became achievable. As there were new scores on a weekly basis, this also brought on my sight reading! There were about 15 saxes alone!!

I have been with another band of a higher standard for 6 months now, as the only tenor (the only sax until a month ago!!) it has not been easy, but 'they' say that playing with others better than you etc etc...

The most local band to me, unfortunately is grade 8+ so this, like others, that have minimum grade standards are outside by reach.

Aside, 3 forum members are at the Summer School course, http://cafesaxophone.com/showthread.php?3163-Music-for-You-Jazz-Summer-School this Thursday to Monday... and will be playing (well some of us) in the Kings Head Cannington each evening - (which I believe may not be too far?) let me know if you want/can make it & we'll sort something out!

Geoff
 

LeeY

New Member
Messages
22
oh for planned weekends

I wish I had posted this thread earlier, as I am already committed for this weekend. However, now I know about the school I will try and enrol on the course in August. Thanks for your replies, very helpful. Also, something else that I haven't done, and guess I should have, is memorising songs, without the need to look at the music sheet. I have tried over the last week or so to try and play without looking, but I am finding it rather difficult, can anyone offer any useful tips for the best way to approach this. I guess it is about repitition and playing in small chunks, whilst trying to join the chunks up, it is just hard to do this after learning with music sheets to suddenly play without having to rely on them. Still if it was easy where would the fun be?
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Hi There!

I would say that there is a noticeable difference between Grade 3 and Grade 6 so it may be worth speaking to someone first and maybe having some individual contact first.

For me, memorising tunes etc. is a lot to do with "muscle memory" where your hands just know what to do, and is really above and beyond cognition. This requires really getting to know a piece - probably playing it 50 times and more so that you "just know" the tune without having to think. Improvisation can follow naturally from this point as you can utilise your conscious cognitive functioning to take the music in a different direction, starting and stopping at will, developing short and longer phrases that also become sub-conscious, such that it can be built on. I play at Grade 7 standard and can memorise tunes of 5/6 minutes and more, including improvisations etc.

There may be certain techniques that can purport to hasten that absorption of music, but I would be surprised if they do more than help us relax more and become more open to retaining knowledge and experiences. The helpful thing that I have found about doing Grades is that it does require an intense focus on certain tunes for a protracted period of time, looking at both the parts and the whole, and tunes should be able to stick pretty well, though sometimes a brief refreshment with the actual music can be helpful.

My thoughts, anyway.
Kind regards
Tom

Certainly playing with others is a good thing!
 
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Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
Tom's observations are in my view right on the mark. I too have to play every piece 50 or a 100 times to get to know it. It was much the same when I played much simpler pieces. Eventually I get to the point where I play some stretches by heart, and then I sometimes lose my spot. I also think that certain techniques can help the learning process, but in the end there is no substitute for repetitive practice. Fortunately today there lots of quite interesting methods available that put a bit of variety into practice.
 

Juju

Senior Member
Messages
280
I'm from Germany, and this grade thing is completely alien to me... I just had the opportunity to play with bands at different stages and learned from the experience- sometimes it was harder than other times. But most of the time it was a valuable experience and, since I wasn't aware of this grade concept, I never thought about it ;) - so just try and have fun!
Juju
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
The music schools are introducing them here, but on a different scale. D3 is equivalent to Grade 8. (Conservatory entrance level). Mix of playing and theory.
 

c9off

Senior Member
Messages
604
That's good Lee, I'm sure you will enjoy it - there are a number of people that were there last Summer & again this Easter with us, so don't believe any stories they might tell about the forum members @ Easter! Are you living in?
 

LeeY

New Member
Messages
22
Yeah, I wasn't initially going to, but after speaking to one of the organisers, I was told that the playing continues into the evening with a beverage or two. So, being easily influenced, I figure that it should really help me to develop if I can be there for the whole thing
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I'm from Germany, and this grade thing is completely alien to me... I just had the opportunity to play with bands at different stages and learned from the experience- sometimes it was harder than other times. But most of the time it was a valuable experience and, since I wasn't aware of this grade concept, I never thought about it ;) - so just try and have fun!
Juju
http://www.musikschulen-bayern.de/zz_leistung.html

So D3 is equivalent to Abitur at musikalische Gymnasium.
 
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Juju

Senior Member
Messages
280
http://www.musikschulen-bayern.de/zz_leistung.html

So D3 is equivalent to Abitur at musikalische Gymnasium.
Although choosing music for the Abitur-Klausur would probably require a more musicology-oriented approach. I remember endless analyses of classical pieces of music and hardly any practical stuff :(
Also, looking at the requirements for the practical test it seems very conservative ?! Not a hint of jazz... :(

Juju
 
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c9off

Senior Member
Messages
604
Yeah, I wasn't initially going to, but after speaking to one of the organisers, I was told that the playing continues into the evening with a beverage or two. So, being easily influenced, I figure that it should really help me to develop if I can be there for the whole thing
Good move!!

Some guys take real books for the evening, may be worth thinking about what you would like to play....
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Although choosing music for the Abitur-Klausur would probably require a more musicology-oriented approach. I remember endless analyses of classical pieces of music and hardly any practical stuff :(
Also, looking at the requirements for the practical test it seems very conservative ?! Not a hint of jazz... :(

Juju
Yes. My oldest is just about to complete his 3rd year of music. And he's switching out of music. But keeping up his clarinet through the music school. But it's still more formal than jazzy. At least he/we have the opportunity to direct some of the pieces he does.
 

LeeY

New Member
Messages
22
rightio, that's a great idea. and at least it will give me something else to practise other than Coolest Camel, Air and the various grades that I am routinely going through. I might even be able to make a song stick in my cluster of grey cells in the cerebrum that is meant to compromise a memory.
 
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