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 To all professionals
Author: anonymous 
Date:   2006-01-27 18:45

To all professional saxophonists out there who may actually have time to write to this "forum",please take note of the following.I have been playing alto for about 2 years now and am taking music lessons.I really want to succeed at playing the saxophone and eventually my long-term goal is to play my favorite the soprano which I've been told is more difficult to play than alto.If you have any "tips" that you could give me that would help improve my playing I would much appreciate it.I love "smooth jazz" and someday want to play with some friends of mine in San Antonio,Tx.Thank you for your suggestions.With all due respect to every person that writes to this "forum",it is much appreciated if you not respond to this "thread" if you are not a professional with a high level of experience in playing a saxophone and/or have not been playing for at least 15 years.With all sincerity,thank you for your cooperation.

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 RE: To all professionals
Author: Björn 
Date:   2006-01-28 10:35

You've been playing for 2 years and you think only professional players can help you now? Do you really think you're already that good, that nobody else can help you? Don't you think there are good soprano player who aren't professional players and/or haven't 15 years of experience?

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 RE: To all professionals
Author: hautbois 
Date:   2006-01-28 14:02

Relax....It's ok to request in this board, we ARE here because we want to learn don't we? "Anonymous" is seeking professional helpn and does not hope to be given bad advise, so i can understand why he/she asked for such.

Well for starters you must accept the fact that anyone can be of help to you, even non-saxophone players. What you have to accomplish ultimately is to become a musician, not just a saxophonist. And a good saxophonist does not necessarily only has technical facility or possess advant-garde disciplinaries, but must also maintain a good knowledge of other things music and even art related stuff like literature etc. There is no limit.

But to answer your questions, i myself being a 4 year oboist (and previously 3 year clarinetist, no longer playing), and an assistant conductor of a young band, it is foremost important to remember that although what we call as harmony instruments (i.e. sax in Bb, in Eb etc.) are similar they are no where near from completely identical. No one would recommend learning the soprano sax first and it is important to build up your basics. A tutor near your area is a good start, which you already have, but try also to get master classes or other forms of learning, and although sticking to one teacher may sound more secure exposing yourself to other styles of teaching and playing will be benefitial to you on a long term basis. AND...get yourself tons of recordings, not just saxophone recordings or jazz in particular, but everything.

Jazz is very interesting due to its 'improvisational' nature, listen to as many music as you can, not just jazz, and in this period of time you have to have a competitive edge to win a job in anything. And honestly, you have to be the best among the best to do so. You must learn to analyse things not just by saying, he is good or bad but by describing the style, tone and musicality of another person's playing. Music is a very subjective and abstract art so you must be prepared to face the harsh realities of the society, i.e. learn to accept criticism and never be defensive when someone is trying to give you advise.

Good luck and keep us updated on your progress.

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