Saxophone Forum


by fav37thingz
(3 posts)
3 years ago

improvisation

I've been playing the alto sax for about 4months now. I started taking lessons but know I'm teaching myself because i can't afford lessons right now. I practice everyday and it seems I am making good progress. The quality of my sound, breathing, and fingering have improved. I am currently in lesson book 2. My practice time consists of 1hr. of practicing lessons from the book and techniques, then about an hour of learning new songs. I was wondering, at what level should I start learning improvisation? or should I just devote all of my time to just mastering the basics for now. How do I know when I am ready to take that next step? Please, any advice would help. Thanx.

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  1. by krestonsmith
    (12 posts)

    3 years ago

    Re: improvisation

    Hold on tight . .. . and get ready for the pandora's box to open . ... improvisation is not as complicatred as you might think. For advanced improvisation, you should have a stong technical capacity on the instrument, BUT to get started today is the way to get started. Being an Elementary Music Educator, I stress the improtance of improvisation through movement to music with children as young as 5. The expressiveness of creating and the satisfaction is fun, engaging and an experience like none other. Here is my list of ways to get you going WHILE doing the basics that you need to work on. In other words, "Killing two birds with one stone"

    1. Purchase either a keyboard with an auto rhythm maker. Yamaha makes a great board for about $200 that will be fine and/or get the MAJOR AND MINOR SCALES book and Cd from Jamey Aebersold from a local music store or from his website. Google it and you will find it.
    2. Purchase the RUBANK ELEMENTARY AND ADVANCED BOOKS. TO get started these ARE A MUST IN YOUR COLLECTION.
    3. Turn the keyboard on or the CD on to the "Eb" Concert Key. On the keyboard, turn on the rhythm machine to what ever groove you like and be sure the accompiant is on auto and press teh Eb key (second black key of the two set.
    4. Now, play the C exercies in the Elementary and Advanced books. If the Rhythm in the advanced book is to hard, change the rhythm mentally to a QUARTER note instead of an eighth. You set the rules here on the practicew approach, not the book.
    5. Once you do this you start to here how with a VAMPING Eb chord progression, you can here the colors of each note and how the fit into the playalong or keyboard.
    6. After, play each note of YOUR C scale(Eb Concert) one a single whole note SLURRED from the lowest to the ocatave key C. If you dare, go ahead and add the Low B and go up to the High F. THis is the full range of the horn. My college professor once said in the 90's "you paid for every key on that horn . .. use it". Your technic will improve as will your sound as you get more comfortable with the low notes and higer notes within the context of the scale.
    7. After playing a whole note, go back and play two half notes opn each note, then repeat on a triplet on each note, then 4 sixteenth notes, and then come up with your own funky rhythm for each note and play it all the way and down the horn.
    8. After finishing the above steps, it is now time to improvise without structure in YOUR key of C (Eb Concert). Here is the way to approach it:
    • Play ONLY ONE note of the scale preferably the 3rd OR 7th note . . .  in this case E and B.
    • Play different rhythms and LEAVE PLENTY of dead NO SOUND space to keep the listener wanting more. 
    • Then add an additional note ONE AT time trying to write a story in the process. 
    • Eventualy you will have all 7 notes of the scale going, but it will be in statement of motifs and small clusters. Not the entire scale at once. Try to end and begin every idea on the 3rd or the 7th for now until you really get that sound in your head.
    • After this, go to www.grooveshark.com and listen to "MAIDEN VOYAGE" Herbie Hancock, "SO WHAT" - Miles Davis, and anything on the Joshua Redman Album "Mood Swing" .. . Faith on this album is a great start.Try to learn some of the idea they use by ear. THIS IS THE WAY THE GREAT LEARNED. In fact it is qupote that Charlie Parker would go hear someone play .. . hear a lick he liked . .. . and then go and play it on his gig.

    Good times and happy playing. If you need any other help, email me.

     

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    1. by fav37thingz
      (3 posts)

      3 years ago

      Re: improvisation

      Thanks for the advice. You put things in a clearer perspective for me. I will definetely email you with more questions. Thank you for the invitation.

       

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