Part of the Saxophone For Dummies Cheat Sheet
Practicing with your saxophone brings you closer to your musical goals. Your saxophone should perform the way you want it to. Good technique, knowledge, and experience will help with this, and that means you have to practice, practice, practice.
Practice with your saxophone regularly
As in sports and many other activities, you improve by practicing regularly a little bit at a time, rather than practicing a lot every now and then. Five 15-minute practice sessions per week are much better than a single marathon session of two or five hours right before your next saxophone lesson. The regularity helps you memorize and internalize what you’re practicing. You can get accustomed to your saxophone step by step. Even three sessions of five minutes per day is productive.
Structure your saxophone practice
Try devising a practice schedule or a practice routine. Such a routine can look like this:
First, warm up.
Start in the middle range and play soft, long tones.
Second, turn to different combinations of notes to work on your finger technique.
Next, start phrasing and articulation exercises.
These help the coordination of your tongue and fingers.
Now, practice a scale, preferably from memory.
This trains your fluency and speed.
Last, select a piece and play it.
If you’re interested in improvisation, play typical jazz phrases or use the vocabulary of a different musical style, possibly in one or more keys. If you need more to practice, you can work on rhythmic exercises. And listen to exemplary solos from your favorite recordings and transcribe them, or focus on training your ear.
You can always find something to practice or improve on. Not everything has to go by the schedule, even if you set out to do so.