Andrew has always regretted selling his saxophone when he finished school. Now he’s playing sax in a band! Andrew is our Student of the Week!
Learning Saxophone at School
Like many adult sax players, Andrew first started learning at school. “I started on alto and I played for about 4 years,” Andrew says, “and I got to an okay skill level. I even took part in a couple of school drama performances when I played sax in a band. It was a big group though – so safety in numbers!”
After finishing high school, Andrew was busy with other goals and stopped playing his saxophone. “I ended up selling the sax to pay some bills – that was a decision I regretted for a long time after,” he explains.
Starting out Again
It was Andrew’s wife who encouraged him to start playing saxophone again as an adult. “I started with saxophone again about 5 years ago when my wife got me a tenor for my birthday,” he remembers. “My wife is my biggest fan and supporter.”
To begin with, Andrew got back into playing his new saxophone easily. “It rekindled the enthusiasm again,” he says, “and I quickly dusted off the skills I learnt in school, and I treated myself to an alto sax not long after that.”
However, Andrew came to the point where he needed some support with his saxophone. “I struggled to find anyone else in my area who plays sax,” he explains. “Then, by chance I came across a local tutor – I literally chased him down in the street after I heard him playing from a block away!” Unfortunately, despite being local, lessons with this teacher didn’t work out for Andrew – “his teaching method didn’t suit me and I didn’t enjoy the music he wanted to teach,” he says.
Without a teacher, and with no other sax players locally to offer support, Andrew was struggling with his saxophone. “I hit a plateau in my playing, and lost motivation,” he explains. “And so, I got frustrated because I wasn’t making progress, which put me off practicing even more. As a result, I found I was only playing sporadically, until eventually I stopped altogether.”
I hit a plateau in my playing, and lost motivation
Looking back, Andrew recognised a couple of factors that contributed to hitting this barrier. “Some of my problems may have been due to my eyesight slowly deteriorating, and some of the frustration I had was not being able to read music as fast as I wanted,” he says. “But then about 2 years ago I got glasses. You could say it changed my perspective on the world”.
Discovering Sax School
Andrew decided to give the sax another go about a year ago, and joined Sax School in October 2018. ” I had been aware Sax School for a while,” says Andrew. “I’d found out about it when I starting playing again and was looking for resources – but I wanted to ensure I was committed to playing again before joining”.
Variety of Lessons
Andrew has found plenty to keep him motivated with Sax School. “I enjoy the variety of the lessons, the different pathways, the Masterclass lessons, and the Monthly challenges,” he says. “There’s something there for everyone, no matter what skill level or genre or goal. I am still finding and discovering new songs and lessons and skills to learn, and I’m like a kid in a candy store sometimes.”
There’s something there for everyone, no matter what skill level or genre or goal
The teaching style also suits Andrew well. “I like the way Nigel delivers the lessons in a structured, easy to understand manner,” he says. “Nigel takes something that looks difficult to start with, breaking it down and making it more accessible”.
Sax School Community
Like many Sax School members, Andrew loves the Facebook Community. “Everyone shares their individual and collective saxophone journeys, their own successes and stories and tips, offering up inspiration and support,” he says.
Andrew gets motivated by hearing how other members are making progress. “I particularly look forward to every Student of the Week, as their stories and videos inspire me the most,” Andrew explains.
Experimenting with Style
Now that Andrew is making great progress on his sax, he is enjoying playing lots of different styles of music. “Rock, Pop, Jazz, Blues, Classical… I enjoy pretty much anything and everything,” he says. “If it sounds good and is fun to play then I’m likely to try it out.”
Andrew has also started playing sax in a band. “I joined some guys from work who meet once a week for a bit of a jam session,” he explains. ” Until I came along, they were just a typical drums and guitars with a singer set-up, and they only played that sort of music.”
Andrew enjoys experimenting, and playing new styles of music that aren’t usually associated with the saxophone. “It’s been interesting finding ways to join in with them when they cover songs like ‘Say It Ain’t So’ by Weezer, and ‘Everlong’ by the Foo Fighters,” he says.
Playing sax in a band has been a great learning opportunity: “I’ve found that my playing by ear and improvisation skills have benefitted from it too,” says Andrew.
By joining a band, Andrew got the opportunity to play his saxophone in gigs.”We performed ‘Baker Street’ – the song in the video – in a performance we put on for a work function, and it was my first time playing saxophone in front of a live audience,” Andrew explains.
Now he’s got started, Andrew has got a taste for playing live. “I want to do more performances, and maybe go to some open mike nights,” he says. “I also want to continue building on my improvisation skills as its not something that comes easily to me yet”.
Andrew is making great progress with Sax School, and he’s really enjoying the experience. “I just want to continue playing, and improving and having fun with my saxophones. Sax School has been a large part of that process this year,” he says.
It’s great to have you as part of Sax School, Andrew! Congratulations on being our Student of the Week!
Watch Andrew’s winning performance of ‘Baker Street’:
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