Accelerate Your Musical Progress with Some Killer Practice Aids

Saxophone Practice AidsThis guest post is from saxophone and multi-reed player, composer, recording artist, and educator Sam Sadigursky of

This month, I want to share two of the best practice aids on the market, things that are a big part of both my individual practice and my teaching studio.

The Tuning CD:

The concept behind this CD is simple, and something you could easily construct on your own. There are three minute drones, one for each of the 12 notes, each with a pure 5th sounding over it. There is endless use for something like this. I will often just improvise over each drone, which really helps me focus and improves and expands my ears tremendously. Often I will limit myself to a specific concept such as pentatonic scales, exotic modes, bebop ideas, or even just simple folk-type melodies. Sometimes I will play written music over one of the drones, which gives me a sense of pitch and can really improve intonation.

If you have any sort of recording or sequencing ability, you can easily construct your own practice drones – just be sure they are as steady and in tune as possible!

CD Metronome: [Sorry(!), but this web page has disappeared since the original publication of this article]

The concept behind this product is also incredibly simple. Each track features just drums playing time for two minutes or so at all tempos, from the painfully slow to the blazing, blow-the-hair-off-your-skin tempos that only people like Sonny Stitt and Johnny Griffin seem to have mastered. You can use this CD for just about anything. Practice your school jazz band parts along with it, play scales over it, use it to work on tunes, learn patterns, or just improvise freely. The feel of the drummer is first rate, and used diligently it will transform your time feel and definitely spice up your practice routine. There are even sets that feature odd-time signatures, which have become common fare in today’s music.

What are some of your favorite practice aids?

Study with Sam

Sam Sadigursky is currently offering online lessons through Skype and private lessons in NYC. He has given improvisation clinics across the U.S., is a regular guest professor at Hunter College, and currently performs internationally with Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Folklore Urbano, and others. To find out more, visit