Each month I record a “Guest Session” with an iconic sax player for Sax School.

This month I featured Nigel Hitchcock – one of the most successful UK session saxophonists. I first heard him play with legendary sax quartet Itchy Fingers and he has recorded and toured with a “who’s who” of top international artists including James Brown, Cher and even a recent tour with Mark Knopfler.

Nigel’s New Saxophone Quartet Album:

Nigel’s latest album is with his sax quartet Q4 with the brilliant German bari sax player (and his wife!) Tini Thomsen called “Uphill Struggle”.

It’s mega.

Developing great “Time” on saxophone

One of the most amazing things about the playing on that album is the incredible sense of “time” they have as a sax quartet. So I wanted to ask Nigel more about this.

In this video Nigel Hitchcock explains how every musician has a slightly different idea of what time is. The challenge is for everyone to adjust so they are all using “the same” idea of time.

That’s difficult and requires massive amounts of concentration, focus and listening.

Listening can help with your rhythm and timing

Nigel’s other big tip to improve your time is to spend loads of time listening to great drummers. Nigel’s favourites are bands like Tower of Power, James Brown and Stevie Wonder.

Tower of Power – read more about the amazing sax players from this band here.

Time is everything on saxophone

One final tip from Nigel was that “time” needs to be something that you are conscious of every time you play your saxophone, not just when occasionally use your metronome or play with other musicians.

Even Nigel Hitchcock admits he has to work on his sense of time. It’s something though that does improve with focus and consistency.

Want more resources to help you improve time and rhythm?


Check out the range of courses and lessons inside Sax School including our “Rhythm Skills Workout” Mini-Course.

Find out more and get started here: https://www.mcgillmusic.com/

Nigel McGill

After 25 years touring, performing all over the world, I setup Sax School to share what I have learned. Today thousands of players in more than 70 countries use the huge library of online saxophone lessons in Sax School. Find out how it can help you too! www.mcgillmusic.com

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