I'm a bilingual (English and Spanish) saxophone player and jazz composer from Panama living in Boston for 5 years.
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When it comes to choosing the instrument that you will play in high school band, none are as cool as the saxophone. On a scale of coolness, the triangle is the least cool. All you do is touch a tiny little rod to a metal triangle. There is not a lot going on there. The oboe is another of the not so cool instruments because of the wimpy little reed. The clarinet is cooler, but you are still not cool. It is only cooler relative to the uncool instruments behind it. Only when you get to the sexy curves of the golden saxophone do you see where jazz can go from pretentious to awesome. That and the drums, although the addendum is for the massive bass drum, which requires very little skill and is next to the triangle on coolness. To get better at the coolest instrument of them all, private saxophone tutors are the way to go.
When I joined the band, I played the clarinet. I hated to practice, so I was never any good, but I was also annoyed that the instrument I chose was among the lamest. My buddy Amol got to play the saxophone, which I thought was the coolest thing ever. I also thought Amol was really cool and I wanted to be like him. I asked my parents if I could switch instruments and they let me change if I promised to practice more. I convinced myself that the instrument was the problem and told my parents that it would not be an issue. Here is the thing about 9-year-olds and saxophones. Saxophones are pretty big. There is not much use to using a mini saxophone, so I had to use the real thing and my fingers just did not reach to all of the places that they needed to reach. I would go to Amol for help and even seeing the finger placement, I knew that I was not physically capable of playing. I gave up immediately and returned the saxophone to the music store, quitting band in the process. Amol continued on through middle and high school, even when we were on the football team together. Jokes on him though because I got to take guitar class (and promptly quit playing that too because of similar finger dexterity issues).
People think that saxophone is enough to denote the instrument, but there are actually a few different types. The tenor saxophone is the one typically used in rock and jazz music. It plays in the key of B flat, which is why it works well with rock and jazz. It is also, physically, one of the larger saxophones. The one that most students use is called the alto saxophone, which is smaller in size and easier to hold, especially for young students. It plays in the key of E flat, as opposed to the tenor sax’s B flat.
The largest saxophone is called the baritone saxophone, which is known for its deep bass sound, often used in jazz solos. Because of the massive size, it requires musicians to wear a harness just to support all of the weight. Using an extension, the instrument can be used to play low A notes as well, although it plays in E flat, like the alto sax. One of the most famous current baritone sax players is a man named Leo Pellegrino, who plays in a group called Too Many Zooz on the streets of New York. Along with his buddies, Leo P invented a subgenre of music that they refer to as Brass House. It combines the sound of brass instruments like his sax and his buddy’s trumpet with the thumping beat of house music to create something new and incredible. They gained fame from YouTube recordings of their busking, but have turned that success into greater fame, featuring on Beyonce’s Lemonade and joining her performance at the 2016 Country Music Association Awards.
The saxophone was strongest in the mid-20th century as the kings of jazz used sax a lot, but it has not been a big part of the music scene in the 21st century. Greats like Charlie Parker and John Coltrane are forgotten by those who are not jazz aficionados. There have been brushes of a resurgence with genres like ska, but it seems to just be an instrument for band. That is why I find Leo P so cool. He is finding a new sound with an old instrument. If you want to look for your own new sound, search for saxophone tutors near me.
There is a difference in music between playing the notes and playing the notes. I swear I am not crazy and there was more to that sentence than italicizing the phrase that I used twice. You can play a song perfectly and have it sound bad, but play it with some mistakes and it evokes something deep in your soul that you can’t explain normally. I heard a story recently from an interview with Questlove where he talked about playing drums on D’Angelo’s album. Questlove is a trained musician beyond what you would consider an expert. Virtuoso and prodigy do not even do him justice. He can play anything that he wants to on the drums. That is why it was so hard for him to break out of that with D’Angelo. He knew that this case required more sloppy play, which did not exactly mean that he could play however he wanted. It meant a controlled level of sloppiness because he could not just go off willy nilly. It was a level even harder than perfect that required every foundational skill in music and some added creativity.
The thing that people do not realize about creativity in form is that it only comes after you are such a master of the form that you can start playing around. You can only do something like that if you have spent years practicing, whether on your own or with private saxophone tutoring. That is why even the greats practice and work with each other.
In lots of industries, you work together on projects and do not worry about who receives credit and music is the same in a lot of ways. You might hear a song on the radio and not realize all of the people that were necessary in the process to make it a reality, whether they contribute one small noise, one little line, or they make sure that the room is stocked with the right snacks to promote creativity. It takes more than the performer to be great. That also includes getting saxophone tutoring near me, even if you are just refining your skills. Your tutor is a musical collaborator and partner as much as an educator.
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