SYOS

Courses/Workshops Update on Online Saxophone Study

OP
randulo

randulo

Playing saxophone 20 months - 2.3% of my life
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France
The way I see YouTube video is this: There are tips channels, mostly from folks who want to get you to buy something. That's totally normal and fine. Many offer resources like transcriptions and backing tracks, also bait for buying something, and again fine. I've seen one that shows licks and I've learned one or two that way, not so much as licks, but as patterns that are really just part of the diminished scale.

For the teaching stuff, there are thousands of these for saxophone and many contradicting ideas and suggestions. Of course, we have that here (opinions) and your teacher might give you advice that is contrary to others. The trick there is to figure out what works for you.

In the end, though, "Nothing is free". I'd rather pay for something i can immediately see is helping. I'm hating playing exercises. But I also hated spending two hours in a dentists chair and paying for that! I have to do both to improve my skill on the one hand and my ability to smile and eat on the other.

In short, online is wonderful as a source. I think the Café is probably one of the strongest examples of this, and I thank all of you for being a part of it. It is an exemplary site, in my experience on the Internet since 1987, years before the world wide web was thought of. Back in the early 1990's, the café might have existed as a BBS, but today, we have a full-blown communication hub run by great folks. Ok, are the shoes polished yet, :rofl:
 
OP
randulo

randulo

Playing saxophone 20 months - 2.3% of my life
Subscriber
Messages
1,989
Location
France
I have solved many serious issues on this site, thanks to so many of you with centuries of experience!

(still not?)
 

Zugzwang

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388
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United Kingdom
Re what to ask for in a teacher - so much depends on where you are musically: if you're already playing professionally yourself, it will be useless to seek guidance from a teacher geared to teach absolute beginners, but equally, the world-class player and teacher that @Caz learns from can reach back in his memory to a time when he played along to Jamey Abersold all day, but can he remember the utter foreign weirdness of, say, the octave key?... that's probably gone,
I've watched videos which go "...We've all done scales in thirds" or "...remember our first teachers telling us y..." and I say to the screen "Dude! You are my first teacher! And I'll start doing scales in thirds now, but what else should I have done already?"
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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Bristol, UK
I don't think one can solve an issue.
With an appropriate solvent
That would dis-solve the issue, which is not quite the same thing as solving it.
The question is whether making an issue invisible re-solves the problem.
I think not - though ostriches hold a different opinion.
 

Bob M.

Member
Messages
55
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At my house
I've never had a teacher I didn't demand play first off before doing anything else. I not only demand upfront that they play something they decide but also I bring something, usually something I am working on and play that as well. with mine I understand they are johnny on the spot and apt to not be perfect of course but that is part of the test too honestly, I like to see how they handle themselves making mistakes also. Now I do not really have a teacher per say, but I do often pick others brains and enjoy bsing with others in the field to see what their thoughts are on stuff. it certainly doesn't hurt. and if I run into someone doing something I like I have no problems asking them to help me get it down myself when bsing. especially if we are running lines/licks and phrasing / goofing off. I learn a lot that way from others really, and I spend a lot of my time currently with phraseology.
 
OP
randulo

randulo

Playing saxophone 20 months - 2.3% of my life
Subscriber
Messages
1,989
Location
France
I found my local teacher through the music store where I rented my first instrument. The sales people play sax and trumpet, and they have a list of teachers. This is a medium sized city, so it's the only woodwind store and there can't be a huge number of teachers. They're divided into classical and jazz. I called and the guy quoted a price, but when he asked if I had any musical experience, he reduced the fee to 30€ for an hour after I told him I'd been playing other instruments for over 50 years. I knew that he played, these days anyone who has played in public is probably on YouTube for at least a few minutes. If the teacher has never played in public, that "breaks" the competence "rule" someone stated above. But the fact is, a person could be an excellent teacher and not be able to play at all, due to a late life physical impediment like rheumatism.

The first time I had a lesson, he took out his axe and played a few licks which demonstrated his mastery, but that still didn't mean he'd be a good teacher. So we did the first lesson, which was tailored for me. We checked my posture, embouchure, etc. There was some breathing challenges that had to be addressed. We talked about intonation and squeaks. I asked all the newbie questions I could think of about fingering. I knew a lot from Pete's and other saxophone sites, things like fingering. I still find it hard to read fingering notation.

I decided based on that to continue but we do "on demand", rather than once every week or month. Lately I've been working on tunes and asking him to come by and help with the articulation and other suggestions. The most recent lesson, I brought out two of my own tunes and asked him to play the lines and annotate the proper articulation. They were written for stringed instruments. One is almost impossible to play on saxophone because of tonal jumps that lay right on a guitar but are wide intervals that are odd on the sax. The first is a modified blues that I hope to be able to play soon. His help was valuable in that one. Next, we are going to work on two Kenny Garrett tunes I like a lot.

I think it's essential to have a teacher, but if you are nearing intermediate level, exercises and other resources are easy to find online as are private lessons (we've talked a lot about their value above).

I still believe the master class idea is a good one. I would pay to participate in one of those and wish I knew someone locally who could come to my studio to produce it. I am well-equipped with unlimited fibre Internet connection, good mics, and cameras. I could produce a 15-seat master class online, but each participant would need a decent computer and connection. I suppose they could use a phone, though. The only saxophone player I know who could do this is Bob Rockwell, who lives in Denmark and is not very conversant with the Internet.

There is another way to look at that idea: maybe some of you are experienced enough to share some of your knowledge with some of us in the Café? A single concept could be discussed, demonstrated, and this applies to repair as well as playing. It would not involve money, but be a community effort. I could "produce" it from here. Producing live video sessions with 5-10 people is something I've been doing every week for over 5 years. If anyone has an interest in doing something along these lines, let's talk.
 
OP
randulo

randulo

Playing saxophone 20 months - 2.3% of my life
Subscriber
Messages
1,989
Location
France
I want to update my comments on ArtistWorks and the lessons with Eric Marienthal.
Most importantly, AW support has very much improved since my initial experience a few years ago on upright bass. At that time, I wanted a submission pulled to redo and wrote to support requesting this. I got a reply ten days later. The person in charge was on vacation. Then they started making it my fault because I wrote to an address from the site that wasn't the latest. This is their fault for not keeping the site up to date. Anyway, it finally got straightened out, but in several emails, I was being lectured defensively when they were at fault. They recognized it and gave me a free month. I'm not sure I accepted it, though.

This time is different. I began a six month course, which is nearly over. There's a ton of material, backing tracks, lessons, exercises and charts, but the big deal is the personal (not private) reactions from Eric on videos students submit. We can all see each others' videos which is scary, but also very useful, since we also see Eric's replies. I have needed support twice and both time the response was within the same day and satisfactory, so I would, now recommend them without that one complaint. Eric is inspiring, positive, and informative in every response, so it's with some regret that I'll be done, but I want to move into and area of saxophone that isn't really in the vein of the course.

And by the way, with regard to the other topic about whether it's important that the teacher plays professionally, I am convinced that it is not, unless you are planning on doing what he or she is doing. In that case they can give you tips and pointers on that world. If you want to learn how to get a good sound, better breath control or facility I think it's better to have a good teacher. They need to be good at the qualities I just mentioned, but don't need to be virtuoso players IMO.
 
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Pete Effamy

Member
Messages
414
Location
UK
with regard to the other topic about whether it's important that the teacher plays professionally
Yes, and of course there are different definitions of 'playing professionally'. For me, it's a standard. An imaginary line below which I do not consider a player to be of sufficient ability for me to consider them a 'pro' player. Basic technique has to be locked down. This includes playing all over the compass of the horn, good articulations, sound projection, control, tone and with at least decent intonation. This just fits my musical upbringing, lessons, ensembles etc over the years and for me striving to approach the standard of the best, or better players.

All my instrumental teachers were excellent teachers, though quite different in approach. All my lessons were on clarinet, Classical. I was certainly blessed with good fortune, as up until the age of 21 I had three clarinet teachers - all terrific. One is still one of the top soloists this country has produced. My final teacher and college professor had not played professionally for quite some time - and this is a point that @randulo made about injury/illness - he had a boating accident that injured his hand. It didn't affect his knowledge of music, the instrument or his ability to impart it however. Jacqueline Du Pre is another obvious example.

Still, such people had played beyond that imaginary line that I spoke of earlier.

People are right when they point out that good players can make lousy teachers, and vice versa. However, the crux of this, for me, is having the knowledge in the first place - which is along the lines of the being a pro player argument I guess. I'm always interested at the outcome of a student asking a "non-player" teacher about handling nerves for big concerts/auditions. They can't advise from experience. Having said that, sports psychologists rarely have any background in sport, and yet some world champions have benefitted well from their input. This is purely conditioning the mind though, not offering Ronnie O'Sullivan tips on how to cue better.

I've not had a lesson online, although I used to email Andy Snitzer every so often and did get the answer from him on how he (don't know how to describe it) 'overloads' notes - not the split tone/breakup of harmonics - mostly from the top of the stave to a few notes higher. YouTube can be a marvellous library, but there's no regulation of course and there are many teaching videos posted by people who haven't particularly learned to play yet themselves.

I did get most of Chad LB's improved/chordal stuff. It's really concise, well thought-out. I'll use it in my teaching and also brushing-up on tune learning with regard to sequences etc. (Concert) 4 Tune Learning Exercises on 20 Standards (Digital Download + Tracks) | chadlefkowitz-brown

@randulo Eric Marienthal is a terrific tutor. Sounds like a fantastic course that you subscribed to. He does lots of stuff with college bands all over the US, the fruits of which can be seen extensively on YouTube.
 
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