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Where Have All the Saxophones Gone?

Halfers

Finger Flapper
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2,423
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Hampshire
To use the top 40 as some kind of comparison of Saxophone use over generations is a completely outmoded method of basing an article. The top 40 hasn't meant anything for 20 plus Years.

The formula for Pop/Rock Sax use in the 70's and 80's was leave a solo break in a single and fill it with a Sax solo. Nowadays contemporary music is using the Sax more as an integral part of the music, rather than the icing on the cake. Lots more rhythmical use rather than purely solo stuff, in my experience. Less showy and sparkly, more gritty and supportive.
 

Halfers

Finger Flapper
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2,423
Locality
Hampshire
Only three examples, but these all from the UK Mercury Awards 2018! Not indicative of a time harking back to the glory days, but nonetheless, more around also..

 

7201

Senior Member
Account Closed
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3,342
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UK
Young people don't watch TV or own a TV. They haven't for at least a decade. For example, my son is 35 and hasn't watched TV since he was at least 18. He's never seen the need to buy a TV. He thinks anyone who buys a TV is wasting their money and must be technologically illiterate.

Instagram/YouTube/TikTok and probably many new platforms I've never heard of are the stage for the young.
Are you saying that your son doesn’t watch TV programmes at all or just not on a TV?
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
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8,694
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Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
My teaching philosophy has always been to first teach students how to play the instrument, then introduce them to different styles of music through individual and group performance. From then on it is left up to the student what types music and styles of playing to pursue. It is not my job to channel them in a direction I think music should go.

In my area there is much more community and public support for traditional and mainstream jazz than for music that "pushes the envelope" and let's players stretch out over largely unstructured forms and changes. Those styles are what seems to appeal to the intellectuals and musical elite---not the general public.

You can go to this site to get a sampling of what draws big crowds and audiences in Salt Lake City. Needless to say I love where I live. We just learned that the Gallivan Concert Series will continue during this crisis, but without live audiences. We will be able to attend via video streaming, and more importantly musicians will keep getting paid to perform. The Crescent and VooDoo bands are made up of entirely high school students.

Excellence In The Community.
 
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Ivan

Undecided
Café Supporter
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7,790
Locality
Peeblesshire
I expect my teachers to help me meet my goals, not theirs (or yours).
That makes me come over all Voltairian

"I will defend to the death your right to instruct your music teacher not to broaden your musical horizons"
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
860
Locality
Brisbane, QLD, Australia
He never watches TV programs on any platform. You could ask him about any TV program you might think is popular and he would have never heard of it.

He is so busy with modern social media he would have no time to watch TV anyway. But he would never want to watch something packaged in bigger than 2 minute bites. And he is 35. I worked with 20 year olds over the prior 12 months that make him look slow.

It would be wrong to conclude the young have a short attention span. What they have developed is a way of coping with massive information overload. They sample many things frequently, then make rapid decisions.

TV is a waste of their precious time. Gaming platforms and modern social media are much more entertaining because they can be tailored in small bites to their interests. Young musicians understand young people and are providing music through modern channels, all invisible to older folks.
 

7201

Senior Member
Account Closed
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3,342
Locality
UK
He never watches TV programs on any platform. You could ask him about any TV program you might think is popular and he would have never heard of it.

He is so busy with modern social media he would have no time to watch TV anyway. But he would never want to watch something packaged in bigger than 2 minute bites. And he is 35. I worked with 20 year olds over the prior 12 months that make him look slow.

It would be wrong to conclude the young have a short attention span. What they have developed is a way of coping with massive information overload. They sample many things frequently, then make rapid decisions.

TV is a waste of their precious time. Gaming platforms and modern social media are much more entertaining because they can be tailored in small bites to their interests. Young musicians understand young people and are providing music through modern channels, all invisible to older folks.
Then who watches Love Island/Girls From Essex? I guess it’s 10 - 13 yr olds - wholly inappropriate
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Café Supporter
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KIC 8462852
And quite obviously 'Only Connect' would be far above his intellectual capacity.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,383
Locality
Sweden
If they had played the saxophone on stage, maybe they wouldn't have become the "stars" they did. By that era (60s) the saxophone was mostly seen as something from the old days played by old folk.
Lots of uk bands did versions of black music. When we play "Looking Back" most guys says it's a song made by Dr Feelgood or Gary Moore. No sax on that song I use to be told. . It's not a Dr Feelgood song. And there is a sax on Johnny "Guitar" Murphy/Larry Williams (Plas Johnsson?). That's why the sax became less popular.
View: https://youtu.be/nIzSo7FISDw

View: https://youtu.be/3eWT6y9lVyA
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
2,330
Locality
New Mexico, US
I haven't read every entry in this thread, but I wanna add something which may or may not have been mentioned:

(public) music education in the US (all arts education, actually) having been drastically cut since the very early 1980's.

Up into the 80's, here in US....public schools had adequate funding which allowed them to offer a quite robust music program, keep a band room full of rental instruments, maintain a district budget for the servicing of those instruments....thereby offering students/families of public education the opportunity to have instrumental music as part of their lives. ()add to this visual and performing arts programs as well).

Then the spending priorities of federal and state gov'ts took an abrupt turn....arts programs became considered non-essential curriculum ...
I raised my daughter in the SF public school system from 1993-2009. In a city which prided itself on inclusiveness and correcting the scales (as much as possible) of socio-economic imbalances....most public-school music programs in that 'great city' were actually privately funded and did not get funded by the city, state, or feds. PTA's funded art and music (and theatre) by bake sales, silent auctions, etc....or parent volunteers managed to grant-write in order to fund creative arts programs.

If instruments (and musical education) became less accessible to kids of this last generation, in their formative years (and they did), then it was gonna be unlikely that we would see a good, popular, populous number of young, upcoming instrumentalists (or even good singers) appear in numbers in current popular music genres....

When you combine that with the aforementioned trends toward electronic/telecommunication produced music (not requiring any learning of a musical instrument - nor requiring any musical talent, particularly (but I digress) - at ALL....this sorta would lead to the inevitable, IMHO.

I don't know if the UK or the rest of Europe experienced the same sort of very dramatic shift in Arts Education as happened on this side of the pond....
 

7201

Senior Member
Account Closed
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3,342
Locality
UK
I haven't read every entry in this thread, but I wanna add something which may or may not have been mentioned:

(public) music education in the US (all arts education, actually) having been drastically cut since the mid-1970's.

Up into the 80's, here in US....public shools had funding which allowed them to offer a quite robust music program, keep a band room full of rental instruments, maintain a district budget for the servicing of those instruments....thereby offering students/families of public education the opportunity to have instrumental music as part of their lives.

Then the spending priorities of federal and state gov'ts took an abrupt turn....arts programs became considered non-essential curriculum ...I raised my daughter in the SF public school system from 1993-2009. In a city which prided itself on inclusiveness and correcting the scales (as much as possible) of socio-economic imbalances....most music programs in that great city were actually privately funded and did not get funded by the city, state, or feds. PTA's funded art and music (and theatre) or parent volunteers managed to grant-write in order to fund creative arts programs.

If instruments (and musical education) became less accessible to kids in their formative years (and they did), then it was gonna be unlikely that we would see a good, popular, populous number of instrumentalists (or even good singers) in current popular music genres....

When you combine that with the aforementioned trends toward electronic/telecommunication produced music (not requiring a musical instrument - not talent, particularly (but I digress) - at ALL....this sorta would lead to the inevitable, IMHO.

I don't know if the UK or the rest of Europe experienced the same sort of very dramatic shift in Arts Education as happened on this side of the pond....
Good point, and yes funding here = dramatic downturn
 

Mike James

Member
Messages
33
Locality
Stockport
I think that the saxophone has a problem, it's a saxophone. From the young starters position, it is heavy, cumbersome, delicate, unreliable, expensive to maintain. etc. Currently there does not appear to be any new the music written or performed by the 'stars' that appear on tv. This means that there is no exposure to the general public of the saxophone. If one or more of the Beatles or the Stones had played sax on stage it would possibly be more popular than the guitar. We need some up front performers on stage with music and performances the current teenagers like.
Also it's loud! - always a problem when practicing...

-<mike>-
 
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Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
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2,479
Locality
New Zealand and Australia
This is an interesting thread as it seems to be a latent threat that brings out numerous points of view. Many are concurrently valid while having opposing points of view. Kind of a touchstone for each to express their view of the past, current and future for our instrument of choice.

For me it's often a matter of finding an opportunity to challenge the conservative teaching and attitude about sax playing. For others it's their opportunity to defend those attitudes, or at least express their love for a music of the past. Others embrace the whimsy of current technology which is also transient, with the question of whether a student can learn to play as a professional simply through on line lessons?

I guess in some ways I must be conservative too, as making music for me as a sax player is primarily about playing live with others. There is something special about that live interaction where the whole is so much greater than the sum of it's parts. I would feel very sorry for someone always sitting in a room with nothing more than a computer or a disembodied teacher's voice as their sole means of learning.

As much as I hated Big Band style music that I was forced to play in High School, the experience of playing with others was marvelous. Using a computer to learn may be OK as an adjunct or for players to pick up additional information, but I'd really feel sorry for any kid trying to become a good player who only had that for their musical experience.
 
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GCinCT

Seeker of truth and beauty
Messages
1,794
Locality
Oneonta, NY
I guess in some ways I must be conservative too, as making music for me as a sax player is primarily about playing live with others. There is something special about that live interaction where the whole is so much greater than the sum of it's parts. I would feel very sorry for someone always sitting in a room with nothing more than a computer or a disembodied teacher's voice as their sole means of learning.
You make a number of valid points but this one in particular I agree with all the way. Playing with other musicians, in the same room, regardless of genre or style is the best and most fun way to develop skills.
 

Admitone

Member
Messages
179
Locality
US
You make a number of valid points but this one in particular I agree with all the way. Playing with other musicians, in the same room, regardless of genre or style is the best and most fun way to develop skills.
Totally agree. But it's going to be hard to play a sax with an N95 mask.
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
860
Locality
Brisbane, QLD, Australia
To those who think online learners are not playing with others, you really have to get an Instagram account. The online social media is more social than real life. Think of it as real life with all the waiting around doing nothing removed. Don't feel sorry for young people. They have far more opportunities than ever.

Anyone, including all of us, can enjoy this new technologically social world, too.
 

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