Saxophone Forum

by runandwrite
(7 posts)
11 years ago

Born-again saxophonist

Hi, all,

I'm Bill, a returning sax-player who quit after high school but has missed it ever since. In college, I went to the first gathering of the university's jazz band, but was intimidated by the level of skill around me, and I never came back. I'd like to see if I can learn some of the skills I never mastered as a young man.

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  1. by Saxquest
    (420 posts)

    11 years ago

    Re: Born-again saxophonist

    Absolutely! Its never too late. I would recommend searching out a local professional who's playing you like and ask about lessons if you're in a large enough area. If not, there are many folks who offer online lessons now. Check out the on line lesson series with Bob Reynolds. Its great!

    There are advantages and disadvantages to starting again later in life.

    A major advantage is that you have a wealth of knowledge that you've accumulated through other life experiences that will help guide you in your practice and decision making about what's important and how to be an efficient learner. Also, as an adult you're more confident about who you are than you used to be so you can forget about being intimidated and approach more advanced players with a thirst for knowledge rather than with envy or with worry about what they may think of your playing. 

    The disadvantage is that you generally have much less time and many more life responsibilities. So, finding the time to practice may be a challenge.

    But the key is PRACTICE and LISTENING! Try to get in at least 20 minutes a day (even better 20 minutes twice a day, perhaps morning and evening). Smaller chunks more often is much better than longer practice sessions less often. If jazz is what you want to do, then listen to as much jazz as you can. Also, be smart about what you listen to. If you want to learn how to solo better, then listen to quartet music where saxophone is the solo instrument. For example, don't listen to big band music. Listen to Dexter Gordon, late 50's/ealry 60's Coltrane, Johnny Griffin, Cannonball, Chris Potter, Joshua Redman, any of these quartet or quintet albums would be great!


         Mark Overton

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    1. by runandwrite
      (7 posts)

      11 years ago

      Re: Born-again saxophonist


      Thanks for the suggestions and the encouragement. I'll look into the musicians you mentioned. I do have a Coltrane album and a few tracks that feature Cannonball, but the other names are new, and I just signed up to get the free sample lessons from Bob Reynolds. I'm pretty sure I can find some time to practice consistently every day, but I do want to figure out the best use of that practice time.

      Another advantage of youth was the opportunity to play with a school band - they'll let you join in before you're any good. As an adult, I'm not sure what opportunities they are to play with others. Any suggestions on that would be welcome.

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