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Back to the Woodshed

This entry is part 10 of 13 in the series 2024 Practice Log

So, I took a hiatus from practicing sax there for a while. In May I got quite sick for a few weeks, and practicing was out of the question. Then I got really busy between work and a big translation project my wife and I took on, plus working out the reservation system at the practice room I use was just a bit too complicated for me to wrap my brain around. 

The good news is that I’m back at it. However, now that I am, I’m going to change up how I write about it here. Specifically, I’m not going to be tracking stuff daily here. It’s an extra step, a lot of work, and not so useful to me. I will, however, be posting any transcriptions I do and also tracking my progress on my project to learn 52 tunes this year. Here’s the list, updated just today. 

Right now, I’m working on two tunes: 

I also, I should note, have mostly been playing alto, rather than the bari sax pictured above. After some hemming and hawing, decided that I wasn’t happy with my alto mouthpiece, and decided to try something else. Though I’ve had good experience with Theo Wanne pieces, they’re not cheap, so I decided to get one of the GetASax alto pieces—the ones printed in dental resin. The one I got is supposed to be a detailed replica of an excellent vintage Meyer mouthpiece (this one), and I’m happy to say it’s a great mouthpiece, and it’s giving me the flexibility I wanted but wasn’t getting from the piece I was playing before. It’s cool because liking the sound I’m getting is helping make playing fun for me, and helping me push harder at getting better. Somehow I’m more able to control my sound, and I’m getting further with overtone exercises too, which I’ve not done so much on alto but really was struggling with previously. 

Anyway, that’s my saxophone update for the week. Hopefully by this time next week, I’ll have those two tunes under my belt and will be working on something else, though if not, I don’t mind giving myself a little more time to really focus on them and learn them. (The latter tune, though, has a pretty straightforward structure and I found it easy to get myself off the lead sheet within a few times through the tune, even if I can’t quite pull off the double time either of the horn players do in the video above.)

Oh, and that’s my biggest stumbling block these days: speed. I’m getting a bit better at it, but somehow getting into double-time is really hard for me. Those running 16th notes have a way of kicking me down and taking my wallet, but I’ll lick them sooner or later. I’m taking the advice I’ve found in a few places: if you want to get better at improvising fast, practice improvising fast, and also work on your scales and scalar patterns. I’m not much for memorized licks, but I think once I have time to do some transcribing again, I might find it’ll help too. We’ll see, I guess.    

Series Navigation<< 14 April–27 April (Sunday–Saturday, 2 weeks running)<< Practice Log: 31 March–13 April (Two weeks, Sunday–Saturday)<< Practice Log: 24–30 March (Sunday–Saturday)Practice Journal, 15-21 July 2024 >>
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