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Beginner Where do I start?

Herbie_29

New Member
Messages
4
Locality
London, UK
Hiya! Just joined this forum in search of answers to my questions. I recently bought a yamaha alto sax 480. I can say I am a late bloomer as I am already 29 when I realized i'm in love with jazz music. :) I bought two books from amazon which is The art of saxophone playing by Larry Teal, and John O'neille's Jazz method. I really don't know where to start though I can say I am a dedicated person when I want to master something. I just need a good knowledge where and how to start. I want to develop the techniques of many jazz saxophonist and hopefully would be able to inspire and play in front of a crowd. I do hope I can have some good acquaintances in here. I live here in London, UK. Thanks guys!

Herbie

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QWales

Senior Member
Messages
754
Locality
S. Wales, UK
Hi Herbie_29, welcome to the site. Firstly you should know that you are anything but a late bloomer here. I think you will find a very high percentage of people here started playing a long time after they hit 40.

What is your current musical skill level? If you are starting from scratch, it sounds like you need to get yourself some very basic books, I used Abracadabra but if you spend a little time looking at previous posts you will find lots of chat about how to get started from whatever level you are starting at.

Good luck and enjoy the ride.
 

saxnik

Member
Messages
381
Locality
Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom
John O'Neill's book is as good a starting point as any, I'd say, I've used it with students a few times.

From an admittedly slightly biased point of view I'd say get yourself a few lessons with a decent sax player/tutor too, since they can spot potential issues before they become problems with your playing. Even the 'best' books can't do that...

Good luck with it, keep us informed!

Nick
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,727
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
You can't learn jazz out of a book in my opinion. You can learn music theory and you can study technique etc from books. You need to train your ear, so listen to the masters. Parker may be a bit much to start with, Paul Desmond and Johnny Hodges are old alto masters and an easy listen. Don't resrict yourself to saxophonists though. Singers , pianists, guitarists etc all have something to say and a good drummer or bassist can teach you phrasing. Be prepared to never be any good because the better you get the more you realise you have to learn. Keep it fun and keep it real.
 

photoman

Daydream Believer
Messages
235
Locality
County Limerick Ireland
Hi Herbie_29, welcome to the site. Firstly you should know that you are anything but a late bloomer here. I think you will find a very high percentage of people here started playing a long time after they hit 40.

If 29 is late bloomer than 58 is mouldy old dough*. I started with my alto at that age 3 1/2 months ago.

I got a teacher right away and stuck with him for 10 weekly lessons. I'm now "between teachers" and looking for another, but I can see the value of getting the creases ironed out before they become too well ingrained.

I have lots of books - maybe 6 all bought in a hurry and without too much consideration for what I needed to practice; and why. I am really only using one book now, because I'm set on learning some blues on the Sax before I get too old to play anything at all (I got Nick Beston's "Improvising Blues Saxophone") and it's really putting me through my paces. In the analysis section of the very first tune in the book (a self-penned simple 12 bar blues designed to introduce the main chords) he writes...if that was too easy for you try transposing it into D major. Yeah, right. And it's at moments like that I think...where's my teacher gone!!!!!!

I have subscribed to Nigel McGill's online Sax School which may not suit everyone but it does have some good, basic and intermediate level lessons and he focuses a lot on Jazz, pop and blues standards in terms of the tunes he teaches. I am finding that I'm building up a nice collection of slow Jazz standards already - and playing some reasonably well.

Related to that, I'm downloading lots of music to my iPhone and iPad. I've never listened to some much Sax/ Jazz music in my life and it's really helping me to think about what I'm playing. I have a lot of the classic stuff already (Gene Ammons, Lee Allan, John Coltrane, Johnny Hodges, Cannonball Adderley, Charlie Parker etc and some contempory stuff; Michael Brecker, David Sanborn, Dave Koz, Phil Woods and some compilation albums.

I find that I'm preferring to listen to stuff like "Saxophone Ballads" as I then think..."oh, I could try that" and then I download the music from Wikifonia, or I might see it on the Sax School site, and listen to it on the iPhone. But the faster, more complex stuff found on albums like "Ultimate Jazz Saxophone" and "Gods of Tenor Sax" is good too, as it introduces me to players I would never otherwise have known about. These albums also tend to a bit lower priced than a current album, stopping me from blubbering if I buy one that I don't play twice - and it's great to sample the tracks on iTunes which can be a good "lesson" in itself.

I do have a tenor, too, hence the mix of players, but personally, I don't see a problem in listening to both the alto and the tenor played well, the techniques are probably transferable in most cases. That siad, I do have a (signed) Courtney Pine album, and I will never, ever come close to playing like that.

Stephen

*See what I did there? Bloomer/bread/dough? But some may not be old enough to know the tune reference. :)
 
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Hallelujahal

Member
Messages
90
Locality
Preston, Lancs
I started a few weeks ago after being given an alto sax...and I wish I was 29 again!
Welcome to the forum, it's a great and friendly place with lots of good advice being handed out.
I've just signed up with a teacher, as ultimately I thought I'd rather spend the money on a teacher than on books and accessories. I am really excited and looking forward to my first lesson next week. It may be worth your while looking around for a good teacher, and in between listening to as much sax music as you can?
AL
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Café Supporter
Messages
6,403
Locality
Whitchurch, North Shropshire UK
Hi welcome

As noted, I'm not sure if you can already read music or not? If not, you may wish to look at some books that help a bit more with that too. I'd also suggest a teacher as bad habits are easily acquired and difficult to resolve!
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
27,115
Locality
Cheshire UK
Welcome to the café Herbie, lots of good advice above, I would recommend getting a teacher for a short time at least, but have fun and lots of help here:)

Jx
 

Herbie_29

New Member
Messages
4
Locality
London, UK
Thank you guys for your replies. Very much appreciated. I guess I really need to get a teacher. I searched some schools because I was thinking it would be best to enrol and study sax in a scholarly way lol and to my surprise most of them have high tuition fees and before you even study with them, they do assessment and interview so there's no way I can pass them with my current level. I am new to jazz music and still don't know how to music read. I don't want to consider myself as a basket case. I know what I want to do and I am gonna pursue this no matter what. :)

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Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,727
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
The assesment and interview may be to see where you are and to tailor lessons to your needs rather than an entry exam. Piano lessons might be an option to get into music, music theory and reading or your local adult education may run a music foundation course. A recorder is also an easy "in" to woodwind. Same fingering as the saxophone etc and easier to blow. It's the universal woodwind trainer. Or just buy a book or go on line and blow the thing.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,215
Locality
Skabertawe, South Wales
Thank you guys for your replies. Very much appreciated. I guess I really need to get a teacher. I searched some schools because I was thinking it would be best to enrol and study sax in a scholarly way lol and to my surprise most of them have high tuition fees and before you even study with them, they do assessment and interview so there's no way I can pass them with my current level. I am new to jazz music and still don't know how to music read. I don't want to consider myself as a basket case. I know what I want to do and I am gonna pursue this no matter what. :)

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Do have a look on the following website for teachers: http://www.musicteachers.co.uk/ just make sure that you pick one who you like and wants to teach you what you want to learn.

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MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Café Supporter
Messages
3,582
Locality
The Malverns, Worcs
Thank you guys for your replies. Very much appreciated. I guess I really need to get a teacher. I searched some schools because I was thinking it would be best to enrol and study sax in a scholarly way lol and to my surprise most of them have high tuition fees and before you even study with them, they do assessment and interview so there's no way I can pass them with my current level. I am new to jazz music and still don't know how to music read. I don't want to consider myself as a basket case. I know what I want to do and I am gonna pursue this no matter what. :)

Sent from my LT30p using Tapatalk
Have you tried asking at you local music shops? I found my (very wonderful) sax teacher that way. Or you could google for teachers in you area. There is a teachers section on here. You could have a look and see if Facebook had a sax group in your area (eg I follow Leicester Saxophone on Facebook). Or indeed, ask here, there may be someone local to ou who knows someone.
If it's any help, I pay £15 for a half hour lesson, I think others pay a little less or a little more, but I guess that's reasonable, besides I sometimes get 45 mis to 1 hour for that as we get lost together in the lesson and there is often not anyone after me on a Monday morning :))) :welldone
 

Hallelujahal

Member
Messages
90
Locality
Preston, Lancs
Yes, I think getting a teacher is so important. I've just signed up with Nat Birchall and am so excited... first lesson this Thursday. What was important for me in choosing Nat was the fact that I really like both his approach / philosophy, and importantly his music.
AL
 

Reed Warbler

Senior Member
Messages
617
Locality
Marciac, France
The O'Neill book is a great intro to reading music and playing jazz. It contains lots of basics in a well structured fashion. It helped a beginner friend a lot.
 

photoman

Daydream Believer
Messages
235
Locality
County Limerick Ireland
The O'Neill book is a great intro to reading music and playing jazz. It contains lots of basics in a well structured fashion. It helped a beginner friend a lot.

Would it be possible to post a link to this book (and perhaps others as mentioned) and/or give the title? There is a very well known "O'Neil's" book of traditional Irish music tunes and that's the one I'm finding at the moment - and I have that one (I used to sell it in a music shop I owned).
 
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trimmy

One day i will...
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10,304
Locality
Liverpool ( Pool of Life )

trimmy

One day i will...
Messages
10,304
Locality
Liverpool ( Pool of Life )
Walton is my place of abode, my brother lives in Huyton :)
 

geg1700

New Member
Messages
17
Locality
London
Hi Herbie, John Oneil is actually my teacher and he has helped me tremendously over the last couple of years. Depending on where you live, I could give you his details? He is an excellent teacher :)
 

photoman

Daydream Believer
Messages
235
Locality
County Limerick Ireland
Hi Herbie, John Oneil is actually my teacher and he has helped me tremendously over the last couple of years. Depending on where you live, I could give you his details? He is an excellent teacher :)

I have just received the O'Niel book (revised edition) in the post today and will be sitting down to read it for most of the evening. Dave Koz is on the ipad and I'm downloading the MP3's mentioned in the book, then I'm not stirring from the chair.

I'm a teacher of adults and the author of some books and other teaching materials and It looks like it's going a very enjoyable and instructive read. I have others but this strikes me as being potentially the one that moves me forward.

Even though I can read music fairly well and I've been playing for a few months I'm going to work through every page to make sure I don't miss something important - or overlook something useful becuase I think I already know about it.
 
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