Playing sax in a band is a great way to develop you skills, and it’s fun! But how do you play together when you’re home alone?
Our June Legends are “The Reprobates” – three Sax School members who play sax in a band together and create awesome videos despite being separated by thousands of miles.
Their latest video of Average White Band‘s “Pick Up the Pieces” was so inspiring, and got over 150 comments in our Facebook Community, so we wanted to know more.
Steve, Barrie and Dave have all been members of Sax School for around 4 years.
Dave began playing saxophone in school. When he left college, he gave up the sax and didn’t play again for 36 years. Five years ago when he retired, Dave decided to pick up his sax again, and found Sax School. “Sax School inspired me to make real progress and now I use it every day”, Dave says. Now he’s out playing live gigs on saxophone with two big bands and a jazz quartet.
Sax School inspired me to make real progress
Steve started out playing piano, and branched out into bass when he joined a local jazz course. Ten years ago he bought a saxophone, played it for a short time then put it in the attic. He rediscovered his sax when moving house and decided to try again. “I told myself – it either works or I’m selling it!” says Steve. After a few lessons with a teacher, Steve found Sax School, and has never looked back. Steve’s musical talents include guitar, banjo and vocals and he creates great multi-instrumental videos.
Barrie joined Sax School as a total beginner, two weeks after buying his saxophone. Recently he got chance to join a local band playing regular gigs at a hotel. This has been a great experience and Barrie has learned a lot from it, using all the skills he’s learned with Sax School. ” They don’t have a playlist and I never know what the singer is going to call out – I might never have played it before.,” he says. But Barrie believes you should take every opportunity that comes you way – “Never say no – hold you nose and jump in the deep end!”
Barrie, Dave and Steve have made videos together as a band before, but Pick Up the Pieces was a whole new challenge. “Dave takes no prisoners so if he’s not happy we have to do it again!” says Barrie.
Dave makes no excuses for his high standards, and it shows in the performance. “The trick is playing it in a tight way – not just the notes, but the articulations and dynamics exactly together. That takes time to work through,” Dave explains.
Using the Sax School lesson as the basis, they transcribed their individual parts to work on. “We compared what we’d transcribed, and took one step at a time,” explains Barrie.
they each worked on their parts individually, sending videos back and forth until they were happy with the result.
Working together in this way is just the same as the experience of playing sax in a band in person – you learn from other players who may be ahead of you and you get to understand why rhythm is so important.
Tips for New Players from The Reprobates
Barrie: “Whatever challenge you’re experiencing with your sax, we’ve all been there! The answer is somewhere in Sax School; and there’s lots of support and advice in the Community too. Don’t get frustrated at the time it might take – it will come right in the end. Enjoy the journey!”
Steve: “Don’t forget the core skills. Whatever song I’vm learning I still go back to the core skills like pentatonics, long tones, overtones. You can’t play songs unless you’ve got the skills to do the basic stuff – just like any other work! Do the basics in every practice session.”
The answer is inside Sax School
Dave: “Sax School is magic for people starting out because it’s such a supportive community – – t’s a safe place to share your videos. Stick with it. Start with the Starter Pathway and go from there.”
Watch Nigel’s chat with Steve, Dave and Barrie and hear more about their experience learning saxophone with Sax School.