Beverley Johansson started playing saxophone in January 2020 and now she’s our Sax School Legend!
Even though she only joined Sax School in January, Beverley already shares videos regularly in our Sax School community and gets great comments from other members.
Nigel chatted to Beverley about her super-organised approach to practicing which has helped her to achieve saxophone success.
New Year, New Sax
Back in December, Beverley had never even thought of playing the sax. “We were talking about challenges for the new year – the idea of playing saxophone just came to me!”
Beverley could already read music, after having piano lessons as a child. “They were typical lessons – they hit you on the hands when you didn’t have your fingers in the right position,” says Beverley, “but at least I can read notes!”
System and Structure
Right from the beginning, Beverley took a systematic approach to learning saxophone. “My friends tease me about my spreadsheets,” she says.
The first thing Beverley did was to collect together all the resources she would need. “I downloaded all the Sax School PDFs on the basics like scales, and all the workouts,” she explains, “I’ve got them all stored on my iPad.”
Beverley uses these resources in her saxophone practice. ” “I use the structure you recommend [in Sax School] – starting with warming up, long tones and scales,” she says. “I’ve still only used a small proportion of what I’ve downloaded!”
With such a disciplined approach to practice, Beverley soon started to see great progress in her playing. “It doesn’t feel boring, because if you’re passionate about something you know you have to do the groundwork,” she says, ” and it puts it in the context of what you’re trying to achieve.”
Now that’s she’s got the basics right, Beverley is exploring more of what Sax School has to offer. “I stuck to the Starter Pathway quite rigidly, but now I have the confidence to go my own way – I use Sax School to dive into areas I’m interested in, and for the community, and the Masterclasses,” she says.
It’s important to Beverley to feel inspired about what she’s playing. “When I started out, I trawled the internet for songs I love and downloaded 150 songs with the scores, and the backing tracks and YouTube videos,” she says. This included some inspiring sax players, as well as sixties and Motown music. “I also love electronic and house music – like the cool guys in the beach clubs. I’d love to do that!” says Beverley. “Yhe Sax School June Ballad Challenge has really opened my eyes to the really slow pieces like “Unchained Melody” so now I’ve got another set list of those!”
Beverley has set herself some clear goals for 2020 on saxophone. “I want to be able to play “Lily Was Here” by the end of the year without music,” says Beverley, “which is linked to my really big goal which is to free myself from the music scores. I want to learn to play by ear, and memory – I feel like I’m still a long way from improvising,” she says.
Beverley’s tips for saxophone success
- Think about what you want to achieve on saxophone
- Follow the structure in the Starter Pathway
- Play things that you’re passionate about – you’ll perform them better.
Watch the video to find out more, and to hear Nigel’s tips to help Beverley achieve her saxophone goals.