Jim Leach is Sax School Student of the Week

When Jim dug his tenor sax out of the loft six years ago, he had no ambitions to play live gigs. Now, as a member of Pink Floyd Tribute Band “Us and Floyd,” he is rocking big crowds with his sax solos – even headlining at the Daxtonbury Music Festival.

We made Jim our Student of the Week! Here is his story.

Starting on Tenor Saxophone

Jim first started playing tenor saxophone when he was twelve. “My Dad had been a semi-pro sax player, performing in big bands and dance bands in the fifties and sixties,” explains Jim. “Dad bought me my first tenor sax, but sadly three months later, he died. I lost my saxophone mentor.”

Jim carried on playing for a few years but he wasn’t very committed. “It was at the time when Baker Street and Hazel O’Connor’s ‘Will You’ were in the charts,” says Jim. ‘I wanted to play those tunes, but my teacher gave me folk tunes to learn – I just wasn’t inspired!”

Sax Star Dreams

Jim’s sax playing fizzled out in his teens, but he revisited it his twenties. “I even played tenor sax in a couple of cover bands in pubs and clubs – I had rock star delusions!” Jim says. “I played baritone sax in a big band too, and I learned a lot, but I didn’t practice enough to really improve.”

Jim got married and with young children, there was no time to play, so his saxophone ended up in the loft.

Saxophone Inspiration

Then about six years ago, Jim saw “The Straits” live and heard Dire Straits sax man Chris White. “It just fired my enthusiasm for the saxophone,” says Jim. “I started searching on the internet, and that’s when I found Sax School.”

Digging his saxophone out of the loft, Jim found the Sax School lessons inspired him to practice. “Sax School had the tunes I wanted to learn,” he says. “Being able to play along with the backing tracks really motivated me. I took my saxophone practice much more seriously than I had before.”

Gigging Opportunities for saxophone

About a year ago, Jim bumped into an old friend who plays in a Pink Floyd covers band. “He asked me if I could play at a gig – their regular sax player was on holiday,” says Jim. “I was reluctant at first, but I did it – and I loved it!” Jim has played at every gig since.

Sax School had the tunes I wanted to learn….being able to play along with the backing tracks really motivated me.

Jim really enjoys playing the set with the band. “Only about 4 or 5 of Pink Floyd’s songs include tenor saxophone,” he says, “but there are some amazing sax solos, such as ‘Money‘. In “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” Jim has to perform a quick saxophone swap on stage. “I have to switch between baritone sax and tenor sax, with just a few beats to change,” Jim explains. “I sling one sax across my back whilst I play the other!”

Playing Sax with Bowie

Jim has also joined a new David Bowie tribute band called “The Diamond Dogz” and hopes to be out gigging with them in the autumn. “We are working on our set now,” says Jim. There are some big challenges, like playing the David Sanborn solo in ‘Young Americans’ – it’s going to be fun!”

Motivation to improve on sax

Jim finds playing with the band really motivates him to get better. “I get such a buzz from performing,” he says “although I do get nervous, I’m confident in my playing and I know I can do I decent job of it.”

I have the resources I need now – Sax School has been the catalyst!

Jim is sure that Sax School has played a big part in his progress as a sax player. “Sax School has brought me a long way,” he says. “All the lessons, the backing tracks, the sheet music, the advice – plus being part of the Facebook Community – I have the resources I need now to become a really good player. I think you could say that Sax School has been the catalyst.”

It’s great to see Jim getting such a kick from playing his saxophone in a band. We can’t wait to see his next performance! Congratulations Jim on being our Student of the Week.

Want to learn saxophone like Jim?

Get started with Sax School membership today and see how our Student Pathways, Mini Courses and huge lesson library will help you make massive progress on your sax. Get Started Here

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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