Archive for the ‘Lessons’ Category


Here’s a little something for the weekend.

Blues scales are a good way to start improvising. Based on the Major scale, the Blues Scale is made up of:
Root
Flattened 3rd
4th
Flattened 5th
5th
Flattened 7th
Octave
So following this formula, you can work out all the blues scales if you know the Major scales.

The attached sheet gives you the Blues scales up to 5 flats and 6 sharps, so there are still 3 to work out for yourselves.
Don’t try to enharmonically transpose them, because composers don’t!

At the end of each scale on the sheet is a phrase for you to learn. However, that phrase is only in 1 key. As you can see, I have numbered the first phrase so that you can easily try that phrase in different keys by using the same numbers.

Ideally, you should play the scale over the whole range if the instrument and also play the modes too. This will give you more ammunition for improvising.

Let me know how you get on.

Have a good weekend

DaveBlues Scales

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Here is an exercise to help with developing dexterity and key signatures.
I came across this article a good few years ago in a magazine call ‘Saxophone Journal’
It was written by David Pope (Google David Pope Saxophonist and you will find him). David gave me permission to share his exercise as long as he was given credit for writing it.
He had suffered with Tendonitis very badly, and along with his teacher, he wrote these exercises to prevent it happening again.

Each bar is a separate exercise, and should be played a minimum of 10 times each.
You can do all the left hands followed by the Right ones, or L1 then R1 etc, the choice is yours.

The tempo is 60 bpm or less, never more because as you add more notes per bar, that will increase the speed that you play at.

Breathing: Vary where within the bar you breath, otherwise you will always separate the same to notes, and we need to practice the slur between all notes.

Articulation: Slurred to start with, then you can tongue, Staccato, Slur 2 tongue 2. The limit is your imagination.

Key: Start in the key of C, then change to different keys but always start on the C and G.

The idea is to make the transition from one note to the next as smooth as possible. As each bar is quite easy to memorise, I practice it against a wall so that I can hear any key movement problems. Then I break it down until I can make it smooth again.

That should be enough to be going on with, if you have any problems or ideas of how to make this exercise more useful, please comment below.

Feel free to share with your colleagues, and let them know where you found it please.Dave Pope Excercises

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Gift Screen grab 3

Occasionally I get asked about lessons as a present for someone’s Birthday or Christmas, so we have been providing gift vouchers for those requests over the last 10 years.

I just wanted to share with you, the new updated voucher that we have produced.  Pretty smart, even though I say so myself.

Vouchers can be bought for a certain amount of lessons and the card tells the recipient how many that is, not the amount of money that you have spent.

Different designs can be printed.

Lessons can be 30 or 60 minutes long.  The Student then contacts me to arrange a suitable time for those lessons.

Lessons can be Face to Face or via Skype or Facetime, whichever suits the student.

The cards have space for you to personalise them, and are posted to you for giving.

If you have someone who has expressed an interest in learning, then this is a great way to surprise them.

My number is 07736 471 861 or dave.saxteach@yahoo.co.uk

I look forward to hearing from you

 

Dave

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So which side of the fence are you on regarding scales?  Personally, I love them.

They are like musical vegetables, you should take in at least 7 a day!

A lot of players see them as a chore and don’t see the benefit of learning them.  I can understand that thought, especially as some students who take grades, don’t have it explained to them what connection they have to the pieces they are learning, so therefore its just another thing to try and learn to help pass their grade.

I did a trial lesson with an adult player a few years ago.  He had been playing for a good few years and played in various groups locally.  I asked him to start off the session with a G scale over one octave, playing nice and slowly as I wanted to listen to his tone.

He made a few attempts and gave up, with the explanation that he was a ‘Jazzman!’ and was used to improvising.  So we tried another scale with the same result and reason.

However I tried to break it down and help him through it, he just came back with the same reason.   Now the reason I find this a bit odd, is because to play Jazz well, you must know your scales, and normally a lot more scales and different ways to play them than a classical musician may do, as this is how you improvise.

What I have worked out over the years is that each piece is written in its own dialect of the same language.  In other words, music is the language and each key is a different dialect.  The notes within that key that make up the scale are really the letters of the alphabet that is used within that dialect.

Learning the alphabet allows us to spell words, learning words allows us to make phrases and sentences, learning sentences allows us to make paragraphs, and learning paragraphs allows us to tell stories.  That is what we try and do when we play music, we tell stories through our instrument.  So most of the good musical story tellers know their scales, because they see the benefit to their art.

I am going to leave this here for now, but I will be coming back to the subject of scales, and looking at how different people remember them and how different people teach them.

 

Davewp-image-59582707jpg.jpeg

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I Have been out and about today, putting postcards in shop windows.  This is with the aim of increasing the number of students that I work with and spreading the love of making music.

 

If you fancy learning how to play or improve with the either the Saxophone or Clarinet, then please contact me for a chat.

Open to all ages from 7 yrs upwards.

 

Feel free to share this post with anyone that may be interested.

 

Many thanks

 

Davesax postcard 2

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Yesterday I met up with my first new local student in Ryde.  Like me, she moved to the island only 3 weeks ago, and wanted to restart having clarinet lessons.  She has been playing for about 10 years and has reached a good standard, but took a break recently with moving house and looking for employment.

We had a good lesson and spent a lot of it, just getting her lip back into shape and working out how each of us work.  We are arranging further lessons in between Christmas and the New Year, and I am looking forward to helping her carry on making good progress and having fun at the same time.

The remote lessons via Skype and FaceTime are going well and the signal here is very good.

Someone said  recently that it is the  modern equivalent of Short wave radio school lessons that used to happen in places like the outback of Australia or Africa, when people lived to far away from schools to travel.

I think this is definitely the way forward, as it allows you to work with the teacher that you want, rather than having to work with someone purely because they are local, and for some students it means being able to have lessons rather than struggling on your own if there is no one local.IMG-8967

What do you think?  Why not get in touch to see if I can help you?

 

Best wishes

 

Dave

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Since moving to Shanklin at the end of November, my teaching has been on hold, what with unpacking and decorating the music room etc.

last night I started to get back into the swing of things with a FaceTime lesson with one of my Leicester students.  With a remote lesson you have to be organised, making sure that you know what you are going to cover before the lesson starts, so that both parties have the music in front of them.  I make notes as the lesson goes on and then email them to the student for them to use during practice during the week.

I have another couple of remote lessons today and I am looking forward to them.

I also have my first Island student starting this morning and I will be speaking to another over the weekend to arrange when they can start.

Now the music room is decorated and then new carpet is being laid next week, I am looking forward to getting it laid out ready for lessons and recording.

Have a great weekend and keep practicing.

 

Dave

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