Saxophone Forum

by RyanTyler
(1 post)
5 years ago

How do I not panic and feel more comfortable when improvising a s

Today did an alto solo for the song What Is Hip? and I feel like I choked a bit. Right before I went out on stage I had these little phrases and runs I wanted to incorporate but when the piano player handed it over to me I completely forgot everything I had played minutes earlier, and was now essentially trying to stitch together notes from the pentatonic scale I was using.

I've only been playing for a year and I have very little experience in soloing. I have done solos before that felt great and when listening back to I really enjoyed but I'm scared to even listen to the recording I made today. Also I didn't feel as nervous as I've felt before. When I first started soloing my friends pointed out my fingers shaking over the keys, which I didn't do today.

If anyone has any advice on how I can become more comfortable improvising a solo in front of a crowd I would really appreciate a reply.

Thank you.
________________________________ mobdro

Reply To Post [Report Abuse]

Report Abuse


  1. by historicsaxwhisperer
    (644 posts)

    5 years ago

    Re: How do I not panic and feel more comfortable when improvising a s

    It is all about preparation my friend.

    If you go see Branford Marsalis, or Joshua Redman, and you are one of those fans that listen to their music over and over again, you will realizes many of the solos you hear are not entirely a free blowing inspiration every time, you hear a lot of things you hear on their recordings. You have to be prepared.

    Practice improvising over the song you hear in your head. Slowly change the melody around, finding notes and colors you enjoy moving through. Do this at home alone. Then put the same thought into it as you get together with fellow musicians. Playing by ear is not a bad thing. Find what you like. Then compare what you like to the intervals they create. Apply the same feeling to other situation. I remember my high school insructors wife telling me my instructor will play the same three notes over and over again as he practiced. It made no sense to her, but my instructor was working on perfect intonation of a sequence, through Pranctice....


    It comes down to PRACTICING. You can only overcome the fear and nervousness by practicing, making you comfortable with it. Repetition is the key. Practice. There is no secret shortcut.

    Good Luck.

     Let us know how you progress.

     That is what this site is for.

    Reply To Post