Hi Dylan and Sebastian, pleasure hearing you both this past week. Good luck with the practicing, and see you next Thursday!

Dylan

It was great to talk to you, Dylan, about your progress, material covered, and practice regime to date.

To Dylan’s parents, it is important that we are on the same page in terms of what needs to be happening between each lesson. I understand Dylan has very limited access to a saxophone at home (he told me that he practices once or twice a week for a half hour duration). This is a very short span of time for anyone to be practicing if they are actually looking to improve in their studies and better their understanding of music and the instrument. A single half hour a week practice slot is less than ideal for our purposes.

When it was voiced to me that Dylan is fatigued with the current exercises and assignments being covered, I am more than willing to try and engage him and bring in new material that is potentially more fun. However, the reason we are covering much of the same exercises and scales each week is that there has not been a significant improvement in the areas that we are looking to better on (which is, no doubt, due to the fact that Dylan gets less time to practice in a week than he gets to play in our entire weekly lesson). I highly suggest looking into purchasing or renting out a saxophone for in-home practice, especially if we are going to be pursuing new material in addition to the current studies and exercises (which still require attention and improvement in much of the same areas). I look forward to hearing Dylan’s progress next week.

  • Long tones
  • Chromatic scale
  • C, Bb, F, G major scales (pages 1-4 in method book)
  • Exercises #121-124 in method
  • Learn melody to Cherokee  (lower octave and higher octave as well)

Sebastian

To Sebastian’s parents: We will be limited in our progress and studies if that sax is not repaired. This is the third or fourth lesson in a row that Sebastian has shown up with the same broken key. Please make note to bring it into the shop (ideally before next lesson), as it will effect our future lessons and his current practicing, and only make it harder to improve (especially technically). As well, please make sure that Sebastian is practicing more throughout the week. I understand he can be busy with other school assignments, but it is important for him to be picking up and playing the sax (ideally) on a daily basis (even if it is for a shorter span of time).

  • Continue practicing long tones (starting them from different notes and ranges in the saxophone). Focus on where you are sending the air (how low or high it is), and try to really control those extreme dynamics (quiet and loud). Make sure you maintain the centre of the tone throughout the exercise.
  • Practice the chromatic scale. Remember to go slow and watch for smooth transitions between notes. Repeat any problem areas until you feel comfortable with them, then play the entire scale with all the corrections afterwards. Try and say the note names in your head as you go up the scale.
  • Remember to maintain a good posture and not too tense up as you play. Try not to constrict the air – think  of an open approach (opera singer singing an aria).
  • Continue practicing the band piece, focusing on rhythms and time (as well as general tone quality). Think about tone throughout all of the above assignments. Make note to listen to the list of saxophonists I wrote out – this will open up your mind to new tonal qualities and approaches in terms of the instrument. Hope you enjoy checking some of them out!

Good luck to everyone with the practicing and look forward to seeing you in the coming week!

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