Antonio Carlos Jobim
Bacharach & David
This is just a small selection from the huge library of music that I have at my disposal, all with professionally recorded backing tracks, and available for both alto and tenor saxophones (as well as soprano and baritone).
Whether you are a complete beginner or an experienced musician with a number of years on the instrument, there is always something new to learn and explore with the saxophone. Its versatility across genres is amply illustrated by its vast repertoire, from classical and orchestral works by the likes of Bizet (‘L’Arlesienne’) and Bernstein (‘Symphonic Dances’, ‘West Side Story’, ‘Prelude, Fugue and Riffs’), through some of the best known pop ballads (‘Baker Street’, ‘Careless Whisper’, Hazel O’Connor’s ‘Will You’) right through to Big Band, Blues, Latin and Jazz from such luminaries as Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Paul Desmond to name but a few. When you include the music of such legends as Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington etc, as well as the great songwriters such as Rodgers and Hart, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter and of course George Gershwin, the sheer breadth of available material starts to become apparent, and yet we have barely started to scratch the surface.
In addition, the saxophone lends itself to a wide variety of playing situations, from playing solo or with backing tracks, to duets, trios and quartets, as well as small group setups with keyboard, bass and drums, to wind bands, military bands and orchestras. It really is an instrument that is comfortable in all settings and all genres, and with its expressive and soulful sound can capture any mood.
If this is the first time you have thought of picking up an instrument then you are in safe hands, I will guide you through the first steps patiently and carefully, and always at a pace you are comfortable with. Lessons are informal and light-hearted, without compromising on diligence or attention to detail. As I take you step-by-step through reading music, you may be surprised to find that it is not as daunting as it might first appear. Don’t worry about remembering everything, I would never expect that, familiarity with the fundamentals is gained over time by doing, and I am more than happy to go over anything that needs further explanation as many times as you like. Music is interactive, it is about getting involved, starting with something you know, and then building your confidence and experience through successful practice. To achieve success, it is important for a teacher to understand and appreciate that people hear and visualise things in different ways, so what works for one student may not work for another. It is my job to find the right approach for you, to explain and demonstrate concepts in a way that make you feel confident in your understanding, and ready and eager to give it a go. Approaching new concepts in different ways helps to achieve a clear and balanced understanding and reinforces progress with confidence and authority.
As your confidence and technique grow, we move through a wide and varied selection of pieces designed to introduce you to different styles over the whole range of the instrument, as well as duets which are not only great fun to play, but which also strengthen your sense of timing and rhythm. To complement this, I have an extensive range of materials from the ABRSM grade syllabus to help us measure your progress as we go.
Along the way we will be developing your ‘sound’, that unique blend of tone and delivery that makes your playing style unique to you. This is achieved through balancing and fine tuning a whole range of variables including your breathing, embouchure (the way you use and shape your mouth), mouthpiece and reed choices, awareness, engagement and control.
By this stage, your own musical preferences will have started to assert themselves and as you continue to explore and develop your own unique musical style, this will shape the direction of our progress as we move on. More advanced techniques will be explored naturally as we start to explore more complex pieces, and experiment with different tone qualities, articulation and more complex rhythmic patterns. As you start thinking about how to interpret and express the music, you may wish to play it differently, to put your own stamp on it, to play it your way. In other words, you may wish to improvise. Improvisation can be as simple as adding an ornament or effect to a note, or as complex as creating an entire solo right there in the moment that makes sense over a developing harmonic progression. Improvisation is a huge and fascinating subject, the ultimate expression of your own unique musicality, but don’t be taken in by those who tell you to just waggle your fingers and play anything, that is akin to telling a budding artist to throw their paints onto a canvas and hope for the best! Genuine improvisation demands knowledge and skill, an appreciation of tonal and modal differences, an understanding of key and chord relationships, of form and of shape. Right from your first lesson, we will be training your ear, and introducing the skills you will need without you even being aware of it. Even as you are learning your first musical shapes and patterns and thinking about how a particular piece should be played in order to capture its mood, you will be honing the skills that will be crucial in enabling you to improvise. And from there we can explore a whole universe of different patterns, progressions and styles that will enable you to truly find your style and play confidently in any situation.
Your first lesson is completely free with absolutely no obligation to continue and you don't even need to own your own sax to start, as I can offer you all the advice and guidance you need to hire a saxophone. So come along and give it a try, you have absolutely nothing to lose and you never know, we might just unleash your inner superstar!
Phone: 02392 340304
Mob/Text: 07941 001755
Lennon & McCartney
The Rat Pack
Rodgers & Hart
I also have extensive selections from a wide range of genres including bebop, swing, big band, blues, soul, classical, Latin, pop, showtunes, samba, tango, music from the movies and a huge collection of jazz standards and ballads.