Category Archives: Lessons

#DFBlues Challenge 2 – Minor Blues

So the second of my #DFBlues Challenge is now upon us!

It’s really simple to do and open for EVERYONE to enter. All you have to do is video yourself playing, (or singing) a Minor Blues, (with my backing track if you can, but hey as long as it’s a Minor Blues, you do what you want!) & then post it to Social Media using the hashtag #DFBlues

I’ll then pick my favourites at the end of May and do a follow up Vlog episode then. Make sure you are subscribing to my YouTube channel!

Why Transcribing Is So Important

If you ran through this website you would notice that there is one type of course that keeps popping up – transcription.

Transcribing in its strictest sense is the art of musical dictation, that is writing down what is played – but I don’t want you to do that, (at least most of the time.)

Why? Well music is sound. I’ll say it again MUSIC IS SOUND! So often we spend far too much time using our eyes when we play music rather than our ears.   If you truly want to understand how a musician, especially a saxophonist sounds then you need to learn the art of imitation.

But I thought jazz was all about self expression, being unique? Self-expression is a real important part of jazz, but you’d be very much mistaken if you thought jazz was all about making it up on the spot etc.  Jazz is a language, like French and if you really want to become fluent in a language, to communicate with others in that language, to express yourself in that language then you need to learn how to converse in that language.

There is no better way of understanding how Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Paul Desmond, Miles Davis (not a sax player, but worth transcribing,) John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and many others construct their solos than listening intently and learning how they play by USING YOUR EARS!!

Here’s one of my students Simon playing a transcription project he’s been studying on Sonny Rollins’ version of ‘Three Little Words’ (there’s no course for this, Simon’s been working on this by himself.)

You can listen to our transcription projects below


If you want to start learning how to transcribe, or how you can apply it to your playing, then click here

Dan’s Advent Saxophone Calendar #16 – Melissa Aldana

Melissa Aldana is the 16th person on our saxophone advent calendar and the youngest saxophonists on the list.

Melissa was born in Chile in 1988, starting on the Alto Sax aged just six! She moved onto the Tenor Sax in her teens after hearing the sound of Sonny Rollins, (her first tenor was her grandfather’s Selmer Mark VI.)

Destined to be one of the most important jazz saxophonists of the 21st Century, start listening to Melissa today!

 

 

Can this App tune your Sax?

Finding a good application to tune your instrument is quite difficult.

This Tonal Energy Tuner is a great little app for helping you identify which notes on your sax are in tune and which are out.  It’s not the perfect method, (you really want to train your ears to do this) – but it’s a great starting point.

How to Warm Up

These videos from the Jazz at the Lincoln Centre are a GOLDMINE for any musician, no matter what your level.

I use a variant exercise of this called ‘the pivot’ – but this is a great way of warming up.