How To Keep Your Sax Motivation up
I hope life is treating you all well and that your sax playing is not going through a “summer slump”. We all take up the sax full of excitement and passion but keeping it going when life is busy or the sun is shining can be very challenging! The least amount of progress I find students make is during the summer months. Holidays, family commitments or just hot weather put a strain on time and that much needed motivation. Once you have that drive, you’ll get the results you want so here are my tips for keeping your drive going regardless of the heat around you.
1. Listen to a sax player (new or old).
Listening to one of your favourite albums or saxophonists is going to remind you of those feelings that got you to take the plunge into learning in the first place. Let’s face it, we all LOVE SAX but we often get disheartened when we’re listening to ourselves session after session! Listening to a sax player will inspire you and give you something new to aim for. To help you with this, I’ve started releasing full performances of many of the songs on SaxCasts to help inspire and motivate you. (How about: Grover Washington Jr Winelight - AWESOME album.)
2. Have a Practice Routine to jump into immediately
The absolute last thing you want to happen is having motivation then being unsure what to practice! What a disaster that would be! This Stage 2 lesson from the sax fundamentals course talks you through a template practice routine that you can add to over time. The key here is that you literally pick your sax and even if you have just 10-15 minutes you are going to have an effective sax practice session. Just get started don’t waste time pondering what to practice. You can use one of my routines to get stuck in straight away and add to it over time. Here is a super quick fire 15+ minute saxophone routine for you to try today:
A simple long straight note and long vibrato alternation. Strong support, vary volume and notes.
A mix of the scales and exercises you know. C/G/F/D/Bb majors for up to Stage 5 or Pentatonics or Chord studies from the Jazz course.
5-15 minutes +
Pick 3 songs from the SaxCasts Song Library: It’s My Life/La Bamba/Sound of Silence are easier choices.
5-15 minutes +
If time is short, pick a trickier part of the piece to loop for a short while. Work your weaknesses!
Take a 3 chord song like La Bamba and use the 7 notes from the major scale to busk over the top
2-15 minutes +
(Optional) Ear Training + Theory
Pick a new lesson (or revisit an older lesson) from the SaxCasts library to introduce a new theory concept.
5- 15 minutes+
3. Have short term and long term sax goals.
I can’t stress enough how important goal setting is! Goal setting when trying to become the sax player you always dreamed of being is an absolute must. The idea here is that you have something that is imminent that you prepare for either to put on a bit of pressure to coerce you into find the time to play more or to reward you in the short term for doing extra well! If you have goals in mind you will want to practice you will want to play more. Here are some short term and long term goals you could try:
Short term – Get some private tuition (tiny plug: did you know SaxCasts members can subscribe to a package that offers weekly skype sax lessons? ;)). Having pieces to play to a teacher each week is massive motivation. It is perfectly natural for us to want to impress our peers and a mentor will provide feedback meaning you will improve each and every week.
Long Term – Aim to prepare a few pieces to record your playing and create a mini album of your very own. If you do this yearly you’ll be able to track your progress and have some great presents to give out at Christmas ;) For more information of recording saxophone look out for the upcoming Easy Sax Home Recording Course here at SaxCasts.com.
4. Keep that Sax setup somewhere
It seems an obvious one, but have your sax setup and readily accessible for you to just pick up and play will give you a nice visual reminder that it’s time to get some blowing done! Remember to always give your sax a quick wipe with a pull through or pad saver to get moisture out and save those pads. Also, never leave your mouthpiece on the cork of the sax crook as it will compress it so much that it will eventually split.
5. Play Air Saxophone.
There are many ways to practice when you don’t have the luxury of the sax at your side. Check out this article on five ways to practice your sax on the move!