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Welcome to the Get Jamming Blog Site

Welcome to the Get Jamming Books Blog Site
Here you will find latest information on the Get Jamming Books available in the Apple Book Store, resources, tips and general information related to saxophone playing.
Students of the Get Jamming method are able to request pieces which I will make available for downloading.
Visitors are more than welcome to download the files, but please pass on the word about the Get Jamming books to your friends.
Students, if you are enjoying the book please remember to leave a review in the Apple Book Store.
So enjoy and. ..
Get Jamming!

Friday, 21 March 2014

Practice Tips

Tips for Practising

Parents often ask “how many hours should my child be practising each night?”
My response is generally the same – “twice as much as they currently do!”

I tend to use the word “play” rather than “practise” as it has a more positive connotation.

There are so many variables and reasons behind why students don’t play enough at home, but students who are serious about learning their instrument should always find the time to play at home. I always remind new students that it is less than an episode of the Simpsons that they need to sacrifice!

When students are playing at home, there should always be a goal for the week. For example – learning the first section of a new piece, bringing the tempo of a piece/exercise closer to the actual tempo, adding articulation or introducing dynamics to a work. 

A collection of weekly suggestions given to students include:


  •       Between 15 - 20 minutes a night 
  •      Always start with breathing technique exercises and holding steady long notes.
  •      Set a challenge – see how long you can hold a steady long tone for and better it each night (without passing out!)
  •      Revise pieces mastered in previous lessons.
  •      Tackle the new piece/exercise by starting slowly and repeating short passages you may be having difficulty with until you are more confident with them
  •      Always listen to the demonstration tracks before playing with the backing tracks.
  •      If the tempo is too fast, play along with a metronome at a slower speed 
  •           If you are ready, record yourself playing along with the backing track and compare yourself to the demo track (you may sound better than it!)
  •      Once you have dedicated a good 10-15 minutes on the new piece/exercise, have some fun by improvising or sight reading pieces from the blogsite or music from any books you may have.
  •      Play to an audience - preferably human but pets will suffice.
  •      Always dry your reed and give your instrument a wipe before packing it away
  • Use a reed guard  to store your reeds and to keep them flat. 

Developing players

  •      At least 30 – 45 minutes a night (more if possible!)
  •      Start with long tones – play with dynamic contrasts (crescendo, decrescendo, piano, forte, etc)
  •      Revise technical work set for the week (scales and arpeggios) by playing them with different articulation patterns
  •      Start by reading the technical work then repeat from memory
  •      Play any set exercises/patterns – improve on articulation, tempo, tone
  •      Work on set pieces (sections) – focusing on difficult passages, articulation patterns, finger work, etc
  •      Set aside some time on playing along with backing tracks and improvisation. Incorporate new technical exercises in your improvisation.
  •      Record yourself playing and give a critique of your performance
  •      Always dry your reed and give your instrument a wipe before packing it away

Playing at home is a crucial part of learning an instrument. I always tell students to leave something if they feel it is not improving or if they just can’t work it out at home until our next lesson. Playing at home should be structured and purposeful but should also be an enjoyable experience.

So enough reading, now Get Jamming!

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