Saxophone Forum


by karebear1012
(395 posts)
10 years ago

Improvise

Next year i'm going to be lead sax in the high school jazz band, and i'm really nervous because i'm a freshman, and a girl in a male-dominated group. I was wondering if you have any tips for improvising? Thanks!

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  1. by saxgrobie
    (86 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Improvise

    Hey girl! I feel your pain! hmmm . . . with improv, just pay attention to the chords, it normally helps to stay in those notes and definately stay in the key! Good luck. :) WOW, a first chair freshmen. . . impressive! Kelsey

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    1. by bandgeek
      (11 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Improvise

      hey! I was really nervous too when i first joined the school band, but it's really not so bad (even though it was mostly guys at my school too!) The improv. is nerveracking at first, but if u just think of the simple chord and center aroud a few notes it's easy! James Abersold books helped me alot too! hope it helps -Annie

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      1. by SaxMan
        (559 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Improvise

        bad advice. Study theory and master it, then throw it out when you play, if you go completely by theory, you will be FAR too constricted. you dont have to stay in the chord, you can do chromatics and go to other chords a third above, depending on what kind fo chord you have.

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        1. by wesmiller
          (55 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          Hi Karebear! Do you know your scales? Can't know chords without knowing scales.....start with major scales-all 12 of them. One good book that will help is Patterns for Jazz, I think its primary author is Jerry Coker. It forces you to know scales, and it will allow you to become use to seeing chord symbols. Also, as the title implies it sets up patters which you then finish based on your knowledge of scales and chords. The book is user friendly and would probably be a big help. Good luck and congratulations...........and by the way NEVER be intimidated by anyone else, stay focused on what you are doing and where you are going. Thats how you lead. In other words: show know fear. Wes

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        2. by johnsonfromwisconsin
          (767 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          Not an improviser myself, but did study it briefly long ago.. Like wes said, you need to understand all the jazz scales well (obviously). Furthur advice given to me was to practice improvisational licks and phrases during practice to find out what worked for me. This essentially makes it a bit less 'improvisation' and more of an extemporanious affair, but it sounds like a good idea.

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        3. by Spunky2sax75
          (75 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          Hey, I was lead alto in my jazz band last year, when I was only in 8th grade. Its sorta scary coming into an older group and leading it when your so young, but just practice a whole lot. I practiced so much all throughout the season, and let me tell you, I turned some heads at competitions. Like you said to me in another thread, put your emotions into the improv. If you stay in the key signature and look at the chords, you shoul be in good shape. good luck!

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        4. by YanagisawA-901
          (312 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          i really like what saxman sed..im really startin to get better at improv and bein able to follow chords, if you dont follow the chords youll end up playin right into someone elses solo when your done, and wont be able to make a smooth ending. back to what sax man sed, you dont have to stick to the chords, you can change the key more or less, to add tention and dissonance, as long as you resolve it. for instance, this might be a bad instanace but you can get the idea, and experiment with it... if the key is a Bb, meanin your g major scale, and if u dont know the key sig. for it ur dumb..but the sig is F# and thats it...well u might wanna play the 5th scale degree which is??? D!! u might want to play that flat or sharp, as long as you resolve it back to 1, cuz 5 always wants to lead to 1...so play somthig super dissonant and really push it out there and make it loud and obnoxious, then resolve it with somthing soothing, like a 3rd got it?? haha but dont end on an A in G major, its ugly... hope i made sence

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        5. by barimachine
          (323 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          we could spend all day about this ... 3s and 7s those are good strong notes to resolve ill start off doing runs around that going around that swingin 8ths with like a 1- flat 3- 4- 4# 5- flat 7 7 something like that it helps to know where your going i think they wrote something like this on SOTW theyve got some good stuff to look at

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        6. by mooing_sheep
          (20 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          I'm also one of only two girls in our jazz band, and 1st sax. My reaction to this? Pretty good odds, eh? Delicious. ;-)

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        7. by karebear1012
          (395 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          yeah, it definately makes me look good to the conductors being one of the only girls. it also shows the guys that they arent the only ones who can play the sax... feels kinda good.. that happened to me last year to, but i was one of the two girl trumpet players.

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        8. by Dirty_Reggae
          (55 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          Improvising is all about knowing your scales and modes. Once you know that you can do anything! All music is based on scales and chords. The biggest, most important thing to do, is to take risks. Dont be timid. Improvising is making your mistakes sound right.

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        9. by Dirty_Reggae
          (55 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          p.s. im lead sax in my school jazz band too! But im a guy... so i guess you dont care lol. Most of the peices have written solos, which sucks cuz improvising is what i do. Im not a very good reader.

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        10. by jazzfool132
          (144 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          improvisation shouldnt be studied. improv comes easily when u make mistakes and practice at it. i dont mean to brag but i was a 7th grader when i became lead alto in my school jazz band. solos are meant to fun and enjoyable. dont stay so close to the book and try to open up dont tense up and focusing on getting the right notes, just play!!

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        11. by karebear1012
          (395 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          yeah... people all say the only reason im good at the sax is cuz i also play the trumpet. compared to trumpet, the sax is like the easiest instrument in the world to me, and people think that i'd suck at sax if it werent for trumpet. i've been playing sax for only 2 years and i'm lead in my high school jazz band as a freshman. but yeah, my improv sux. some people think itz because i'm sorta shy infront of people i dont know, and improv is all about letting loose. so i just saw ray today. i really liked it! any of you seen it ? kewl, ur lead alto too? that's awesome!! what year are you? cya, Kara

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        12. by jazzfool132
          (144 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          hi thats impressive that u have only been playing sax for 2 years. you are definately muscially inclined.. i absolutely adore the sax and one of my dreams when i become older is to make money and buy many great saxophones. karebear1012, you stick with music!! its wonderful that u play to instruments p.s. sax is easy to play..but when mastered.. it is an incredible unstoppable instrument! -jazzfool132

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        13. by karebear1012
          (395 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          yeah, i absolutely love the sax. i dunno if you get this too, but i just sorta feel...right... when i play it. sorta weird, i know, but i get this amazing feeling. i really wanna be a musician when i get older - only gonna be 14 this tuesday so i have a while. feel free to call me kara by the way. yeah, sax is real easy to play but for some reason it's like addictive lol.

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        14. by jazzfool132
          (144 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          yea. kara i do feel right when i play it. in fact i was just practicing a few minutes ago. it seems when im the best mood i play the best improv. believe me..its my second voice

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        15. by jazzfool132
          (144 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          i have a question..if ur better at trumpet, than how come u dont play trumpet in jazz band? u probably like diversity lol anyway, is there a lot of competition for seating at your school for jazzband?

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        16. by jazzfool132
          (144 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          hey what kind of alto do u currently play on? do u live in a bigger city school where there is a bigger musically program? thanx -jazzfool132

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        17. by karebear1012
          (395 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          right now i play on a really cheap alpine beginner alto sax. the "pearl" keys all fell off and the elmers glue isn't holding too well lol. i guess you now know why my director told me to get a pro horn. i love my alpine though - i'm just so attached to it for soem reason... naw, i live in a small town. there's an awesome music program where i live though, and the fine arts are huge for us. almost everyone in our school plays at least some instrument (including voice), or does some sort of art class. it's awesome. we regularly go to festivals and have college peoples rating us n stuff. pretty cool. what about you? cya, Kara

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        18. by jazzfool132
          (144 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          --------------------------------------------- what about you? ------------------------------------------ yea small school with a big music program...music instructors are great and really supportive of music in schools. has the essentials, marching band, concert and symphonic bands, jazz bands, and elementary school bands. My school is also big with string instruments too.

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        19. by karebear1012
          (395 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          yeah - us too- really big on strings and chorus as well as band. jazz band is a big thing here also - there's lots of competition around here, which is good in some ways.... the strings program starts in 3rd gr. and the band program starts in 5th. that's when i started playing the trumpet. so we had a fb game last night - it was snowing!! really really cold... we all had to huddle together on the reeaallly slippery bleachers to keep warm. one of the parents got us all hot chocolate and muffins also. it was so much fun! cya, Kara

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        20. by karebear1012
          (395 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          3 days left till my birthday=) !!!

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        21. by jazzfool132
          (144 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          happy birthday..almost lol!

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        22. by karebear1012
          (395 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          merci beaucoup! so what's goin on?

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        23. by karebear1012
          (395 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          So I have district auditions this Saturday ... I'm soo nervous because I have to audition on my alpine alto, which tends to squeak when making jumps from octave to octave, lol. My director gave me a Selmer Series III to audition on if I wanted to, but i really don't like that horn.. way to bright for me. My chromatic scale still needs some work on the lower end... and my Ab major scale still needs some fine tuning. My teacher just explained to me subtones, which helped me a lot in the piece (Voxman's Selected Studies Pgs. 20-21). The notes in general aren't all that hard at all, but staying perfectly in tune, and having vibrato and correct time throughout is pretty hard. I have Brass quintet auditions and Sax quartet auditions coming up as well...oh joy.... I've been working on altissimo notes-- the really high A has been coming out nicely. Any tips? Sometimes it just sounds like a broken fog horn lol. So are you into any sports or anything? I play basketball, lacrosse, and i do track, maybe swim as well. I'm trying to do on 1 per season this year because my music schedule is soo full already. I used to model, but that was just a pain and a waste of time. Soo boring... Cya, K

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        24. by jazzfool132
          (144 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          hey before we talk anymore..do u think it would be easier to start a new forum?? well about altissimo..i guess there are many takes on it what your approach and what fingering to u use for it? like high A? what lacquer is the Series III? I wonder if that has anything to do with the brighter tone..i think the black lacquer has a warmer suddle tone bye jazzfool132

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        25. by karebear1012
          (395 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          sure, do you wanna start a new one? but yeah, my besterestest friend has a black laquer sax but his is still pretty bright... i dunno - i just don't really like black. *silver* lol. dyou gotta first name or dyou just want me to call you jazzfool? my life would be so much easier if you had a first name lol. but sok if you're not allowed to tell or something. cya, Kara

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        26. by jazzfool132
          (144 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvise

          yea ill start a new forum in high school saxophone...ill call it the young sax forum!! sure well my name is josh bye

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      2. by Tenor_Guru
        (25 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Improvise

        Good for you on first chair! Try to listen to great sax player's solos and copy some of their licks. There's an Abersold book out called Patterns for Improvisation by Oliver Nelson that has some good exercises to get you on your way.

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