Archive for the ‘Music info’ Category

Well tomorrow Uppingham Community College School band and Sax group are playing at Burghley House for the Queens garden party.  We are the only state school represented.  The sax group is planning to play ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’.  Lets hope the weather stays fine.  I wonder what Prince Philip will think to the choice of tunes?  I will let you know how we get on.





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As you probably know if you have read my blog that I am a busker. Well one of the problems that buskers face is finding out if they need a licence for a particular town.
I am going to start a list of towns with licence details and the date that it was added to the list.

Leicester (city Centre)-no licence needed (2/4/12)
Market Harborough -no licence needed(2/4/12)
Northampton- no licence needed (at the moment, but it may be changing)(2/4/12)
Rugby- a licence is needed (2/4/12)

Wigston-no Licence (28/08/12

The Isle of Wight is a licence free zone too. (28/08/12)

If you have knowledge of any other towns please let me know and I will add them to the list.

The information is correct on the date it was added, but you may want to check with the local council incase anything has changed since.

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I thought that I would introduce you to a website that I have used recently.
I managed to lose the neck screw to my Tenor sax, so having done some research I contacted Rich Zimmerman at Musicmedic. He answered my email within minutes with the answer that I wanted, that he had a screw that would fit and a very reasonable cost including postage from the USA and a paypal link if I wanted to take him up. So within 10 minutes I had purchased the screw. He even warned me that the parcel may get held up in customs and just keep an eye on it.

Well the screw arrived yesterday, it came securely packaged and fits perfectly.

Check out his website if your are looking for any repair materials or tools. He also has a lot of useful articles about repairs that may save you some money and time.

I will certainly be going back for my future needs.



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65th Birthday Gig

I have just got back from playing at a 65th birthday party. The gig came about from speaking to someone whilst busking.

This is the first time that I have been the entertainment for something like this, and it was good fun.

The family and guests where great, very appreciative and friendly. With nearly 4 hours of playing my lip is feeling slightly tender but will be back to normal tomorrow. There is a possibility of some other gigs arising from today, but now its time to start getting the Christmas busking tunes together ready to hit the streets.

The best bit about today was that it was a paid gig and it was really enjoyable.



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Deepings Carnival

The Deepings school sax group (stax of sax) had been asked to play at the Deepings Carnival today. This would have been our first proper gig as entertainment rather than background music. We would have been on the back of a large lorry being used as a stage.
The problems started when 2 of our group went on study leave so were not available to play, this meant that we only had four pieces we could do and we needed 20 minutes worth. The second problem was that our tenor player become pretty poorly during the week and he was definitely not fit to play today. So we had to ring the organisers and pull out of the event. This was a real shame as we had worked hard for this.

As of September we will have no Bari player and maybe no sop player, so I will play Bari (looking forward to it) and the top parts will be put onto alto. We will be on the look out for any sax players at school that are keen and we will regroup and be ready for next years carnival in plenty of time.

Hopefully our tenor player feels better soon and we cn get back to doing what we do best, making good music.

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Hi folks

Here are the details for the next workshop on the 1st of June 2011. I have attached a leaflet with all of the details regarding this event.

We would like to attract as many as possible to the day so that you can experience the atmosphere of playing in a large and small ensemble enviroment.

If you are not able to make but you think someone else may be interested then just pass on the details please.

As usual if you have any questions you can get in touch here or

Look forward to hearing from you soon



ps staxofsax workshops are also on facebook and twitter

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Ok, so how many of you hate scales? find them the lowest scoring section of your grade or just plain don’t understand them?

Scales are nothing but patterns, and once you have the pattern in your memory then you should be able to work out the rest for your self. This post is about helping you realise the connection between major and minor scales and what process you need to go through to make them more logical.

When I started playing as a youngster, I couldn’t understand why, when you played a harmonic minor scale, you had to play the key signature but also raise the 7th? Why wasn’t the 7th put into the key signature, then you would only have that to think about. I didn’t understand why we were altering a scale. It was as if we were missing a step in the process of going from major to minor.

Well, I eventually discovered natural (or pure) minor scales and it started to make sense. These scales only have the key signature and no raised notes. These were the missing link between major and harmonic minors.

So I have put together a document explaining the step by step process for getting from the major to the natural, harmonic and melodic minors one step at a time.

Assuming you can play C major scale, all you need to do is count up to the 6th note (A) and play C major again starting and finishing on the A. That’s the natural minor scale conquered, easy isn’t it. What you have actually played is the 6th mode of C Major (aeolian mode).

Once you can do that comfortably then find the 7th note of the new scale (A minor) and raise that a semitone. In this case the G becomes a G#. Then put that G# into the key signature, rather than trying to count to 7 every time you play it and then raising it when you get there. This then becomes easier because you retain the G# right from the beginning. This is the harmonic minor scale.

To make it a melodic scale, you raise the 6th aswell as the 7th, and add that to the key signature (F# & G#) and play that on the way up the scale, but on the way down the raised notes are dropped back to their original pitch (F & G natural). Wait a minute isn’t that the natural minor on the way down?? yes it is.

So really, once you can play a major scale you can then play the natural minor, and then by changing one note at a time you can play the Harmonic and Melodic minor scales too.

I would suggest that you pick major scale of the week and go through that process every day and by the end of the week, you should be playing the minors as well.

Here is a link to a document that you are very welcome to print or pass on explaining exactly what this post is about.

Let me know how you are getting on with your scales and any suggestions for new articles.

Good luck


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This site is definitely a keeper, its run by Doron Orenstein who somehow manages to find new articles, interviews and blog entries nearly everyday.

Have a look and let me know what you think.

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The latest workshop took place today, and even though a lot of people were away, we had 16 sax players and a trumpet player along for a days blowing.

We started with O Fortuna (old spice add and X factor) then Carol of the bells, Dance of the Hours, Tequila and a Glam Rock xmas medley (Wizzard and Slade). The pieces were specially arranged for us today, so none of the tunes had been played in this format. There were some definate challenges in all of them.

Tequila involved some percussion work by some of us as well as playing their own parts.

Both Chris and I thought the day went well and we had plenty of positive comments for the participants. We will be looking in the diary very soon for the date of the next event.

If you have been to one of our days or just fancy giving it a go then we would look forward to seeing you. If its not for you but you know someone who may benefit, then please feel free to pass on our details.



the Gang

Jude, Neil and Chrsi

Neil, Alex and spencer

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Brass, Wind & Fire

This is the big band that keeps me away from home on a Thursday evening. We have been going since 2005 and I have been with them since the beginning. I play lead alto and take over when Marcus is away.

Even though I say it myself we do put on a good show and can cater for all tastes. So if you have an event coming up then have a look at our website or contact either me or Neville Ford, and you would be welcome to come along to a rehearsal and check us out.

Our next gig is at Leicester Cathedral (5th year) on Saturday the 9th October 2010 between 12 noon and 1pm ish after the service of ordination for the new priests. It’s an outside gig and you would be welcome to pop along.

best wishes


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