Beginner’s Corner VIII
Paul R. Coats
I read your articles and advice on sax on the
web with great interest - thanks a lot.
I'm quite new to the sax world (3 1/2) years
but I really live for it.
I still have a problem, I cannot read well at
all and once I know the piece by head (which happens very quickly) I
struggle even more to look at the music while playing. I'm doing Tim's
exercises and I realize the importance of reading in group situations.
Please let me know what you think I can do.
I am glad you have
found our articles on Sax On The Web helpful in your playing.
are not easy. You should begin VERY slowly. Go no faster than you are
able and still play the passages evenly and smoothly. Practice these with
Also, let me ask…
do you have a community band where you live? A concert band for students,
amateurs, etc? If so, join such a band right away. Your reading will
improve much faster if you are playing with other musicians. In the U.S.,
you can find such bands through the Association of Concert Bands,
http://www.asband.org/commgroups.shtml. Many of these community bands
have both concert and jazz bands. Some have further offshoots, such as
sax quartets, clarinet quartets, Dixieland, and other small combos.
When playing by
yourself you can easily get into some bad habits… habits that will
adversely affect your playing when playing with others.
(1) You make a
minor mistake, and stop, go back and try to correct it, to make it
perfect…. This does not work when playing with other players, as the band
or orchestra is not going to stop just for you. When you make a mistake,
keep going! That moment in time can never be recaptured.
(2) You may not
keep a steady tempo… speeding up during easy passages and slowing down
when the music gets difficult. Steady tempo, and the ability to
synchronize your playing with others… that is, being precisely on the
beat, neither ahead or lagging, is very important.
(3) You may not
play in tune. When playing by yourself, you have no pitch reference.
All three of these
problems may be corrected by playing with other musicians, OR…
select and order some play-along CD’s from the Jamie Aebersold CD/book
sets. Perhaps local music stores may be able to order these for you.
These are excellent... you will find everything from old “standards” to
rock to jazz to blues. My favorites are the Basie, Ellington, Ballads,
and Blues in all Keys CD sets.
classically inclined, many solos are available with playalong CD