WELCOME!!! Why did I write a book?
This book is written with my hopes of helping you become a better saxophonist as well as a better overall musician and improvisor. You will find both easy and difficult exercises contained herein. These exercises will further open your ears to the concrete as well as the conceptual and they will help you become a better listener and improviser. Working on these WILL make you better.
I have designed the exercises mainly for saxophonists but they can be practiced by other instrumentalists as well. For non-saxophone players, I recommend practicing the exercises where they best fit the range on your particular instrument. Experiment with them. You are encouraged to play them in different ways. This book is meant to guide, not constrict you.
There will be questions posed throughout the book and in certain places I will have my own answers to them. Your answers will be different than mine as will most others’. There are many ways to look at these questions and all ways have validity. Mine are not meant to be the definitive answer but more a way of looking at the question through an answer.
*FOR ALL PLAYERS… Start slowly at first and ALWAYS use a metronome…this develops good muscle memory…an essential part of playing.
Extend the exercises throughout the full range of your instrument.
Saxophonists, use as much of your range as is possible for you. Begin or continue to expand your “altissimo” range through these exercises. *FYI, “altissimo” is not an Italian word for “beautiful or wonderful” but, rather, “in the highest” and is used to describe notes above the “normal” upper range of the saxophone – which is high F or F#. If you are not familiar with the altissimo range fingerings, you can check out Ted Nash’s book “Study in High Harmonics”, it’s a great resource. There is also good information online.
Section 4 – (ii/V/I’s, W.Tone, Diminished) is brief on purpose. My idea is to show how to put a pattern together and let you do the work on your own. Find unique ideas and melodic ideas that appeal to your ear. Experiment with different combinations of rhythms, melodies and harmonies. You’ll find the ideas you come up with will really stick with you.
My ultimate goal with this book is to help you learn to teach yourself.
I hope that through developing your “roots” and opening up possibilities of listening, sound, structure, rhythm, melody, harmony, tone, chaos, etc…this book will inspire you to search for your own personal voice and for the endless artistic potential within yourself. Again, welcome! ~ peace, jc