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Whenever I feel I'm advancing even a little on the alto, I'm like


Good for you

I can say I'm usually dispirited by my lack of progress. Occasionally I bubble up to the level of quietly satisfied before an inevitable loss of altitude


Playing alto 25 months
Although I posted initially just to find a use for this funny image from Fresno, California, it is an interesting topic for all of us, young and old. I think it is possible that one's measurement of one's own progress is very hard. Instead, I think we can say that a wide range of practice, from just playing, to playing a lot of exercises will result in improvement in most cases. Is improvement measurable at all? It's in the ear of the beholder. For a subjective appraisal (meaning your opinion of how you're doing), I find picking a "thing" that is hard and working on it a little each day helps. It can be a hard to finger melody (for me, that's Strasbourg Saint Denis), a scale or arpeggio, way of tonguing or articulation, breath length. Some of these, most of them will take a long time to improve. Patience will be rewarded.


Seeker of truth and beauty
For a subjective appraisal (meaning your opinion of how you're doing), I find picking a "thing" that is hard and working on it a little each day helps.
I read somewhere, "practice what ails you". Working on what you find hard is a huge key to progress. I also remember my improv teacher always telling us, "Everything is difficult until you master it". That is a good way to measure progress when the day comes that the hard thing is not so hard anymore.


I wonder if we berate ourselves too much for lack of progress as we are too close to see it. It's akin to seeing how your nieces/nephews have grown because you only see them once a year, which you wouldn't notice so much if you saw them daily.

My wife passed me a nice little compliment the other day when she said "you are sounding good" (just before she asked for my credit card :)) yet I didn't think I was doing anything particularly different to any previous practise day. And then there have been a couple of rehearsals recently when thrown in the deep end for an improvised sax solo which, whilst in no terms brilliant, I managed to put some notes together in a reasonably harmonious order. This was unexpected and made me realise that things are heading in the right direction even if I don't notice it myself on a week to week basis.

I don't think there is enough make me get the cymbals out just yet, but baby steps will do.


Well. Didnt Sonny Rollins say "We have to make ourselves as perfect as we can". I am always SO disheartened when I move back to alto.. However, the joy of just playing it and getting back to the embrochure position is really fun.." Its only music as they say"..Regards

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
The best compliments come with a booking. It's also nice to get positive feedback from musicians you respect.

As far as progress goes...I hope I live long enough to get to where I'd like to be. ;)
Saxholder Pro

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