Have you ever sat down to practice and had any of the following thoughts?
- I don’t know where to begin
- I feel lost
- I’ve run out of things to practice
- I don’t know what to practice
- I’m tired of practicing the same music
- I’m not getting any better
If you’ve had any of these thoughts, you’re not alone. The answer is simple, but powerful: knowing how to practice.
Know How to Practice
When you know how to practice, every moment you spend means improvement. Below I have divided the practice session into 4 sections. Follow it, and you’ll be on your way to consistent improvement.
- Impressive Technique
- Secret of the Method Book
- Awesome Ears
- Play Real Music
Before You Practice- Schedule It
To increase your possibilities of success, make your practice sessions a scheduled event in your life. Plan it, write it down, and put it in a place where you’ll see it every day. Here’s how to schedule your practice session:
- Plan out a full week
- Schedule specific days to practice
- Set starting times for each practice session
- Set the length of your practice sessions
Once you’ve made your schedule, treat it like a class or meeting. Don’t skip it. Don’t be late!
The Practice Session
The session below is designed for an individual practicing 30 minutes.
Impressive Technique- 8 Minutes (Section 1)
Any weakness in your playing can be strengthened through correct practice. This includes technique! What do I mean by technique? Training your fingers to work evenly, quickly, and together. Here’s how you do it:
- Practice scales daily (start with majors)
- Practice arpeggios daily (start with majors)
- Practice the chromatic scale daily
- Tip- Play each scale with the metronome to ensure evenness
These 3 exercises (and 1 tip) are key to a solid technique. Get these patterns under your fingers and you’ll be on your way to impressing others, and yourself.
Secret of the Method Book- 10 Minutes (Section 2)
Does a method book sound boring to you? It may not sound thrilling, but let me tell you the secret of the method book: It will accelerate how quickly you learn the saxophone. How?
Method books are designed to take you from point A to point B in an organized manner. They present material at the right time and focus on items such as notes, rhythms, and dynamics. However, they don’t provide all musical training by themselves. This is where a good teacher and using your ear will help you excel.
Awesome Ears- 6 Minutes (Section 3)
We all learned to speak by using our ears- we listened and copied the words that we heard. Take these tools and use them in music. Learn your favorite songs off the radio. Learn whatever song you want. You can do it! Of course you want to start off with something easy, but you’ll be surprised at what you can do.
Play Real Music – 6 Minutes (Section 4)
If we only played scales and exercises, I’m sure we would get tired of practicing. Besides, why do you want to play saxophone? To play the music you love. Choose a new song to play (on sheet music) every week. Play something you’re excited about. Keep it fresh and keep it fun!
Organizing your practice sessions will help you make consistent progress, and set you in the direction of becoming the saxophone player you want to be. Give it a try and you’ll notice a big difference in your playing.
A Question for You
How do you organize your practice sessions? Let us know what works for you and how it’s made a difference in your playing.