Technique Building


Dan’s Scale Primer

Do you struggle to play quavers, triplets and semiquavers in sight reading?

Do your fingers feel like jelly when you’re trying to improvise quickly?

Do you ‘know’ your scales only to find out when tested that they are not as secure as you would like?

Digital Patterns – A Practice Tip from Chris Potter

Digital Patterns are an exercise which I learnt from Chris Potter – you simply take a 2 or 4 note grouping and move it around the instrument. In this video my student Matthew Nixon joins us and demonstrates how he has practiced (or not) Digital Patterns in his practice routine.

Modes – (On Sax)

Modes are simply just extensions to our usual scales. In this lesson I show you how to apply modes in your practice and build up the technique to be able to play them in pieces.


Growing up, my first saxophone teacher used to tell me about 9th and 11th chords. I was too proud to actually ask what they were and politely nodded as he showed me super locrian modes over altered dominant scales, and my minded drifted as a teenager does onto more important things such as football, girls and what I was having for dinner.

4 Note Cells / Digital Patterns

Digital patterns or 4 note cells are an important building block of improvisation. These 4 note groupings are such an important part of the jazz language that it is ESSENTIAL that you know them and practice them carefully, in ALL KEYS!

Grouping Digital Patterns

In this lesson we look at combining two digital patterns together to form an 8 note pattern. The key to getting this into your vocabulary is practicing it in isolation at first and then applying it to particular pieces.

Play Brecker Scales

In this weeks lesson, I show you how to play one of Brecker’s signature scales, the ‘diminished’ or ‘octatonic’ scale.

Play Pentatonics with Coltrane

In today’s lesson we are going to look a the great Duke Ellington standard, ‘In a Sentimental Mood’ in order to look at the major pentatonic scale in another setting.

Dan’s Scale Primer – Part 2

So many people, (myself included,) find that their fingers can feel like they are tied in knots. This becomes increasingly apparent when you are trying to execute difficult passages of music. It can also cause issues when you’re sight reading as passages that are ‘unfamiliar’ can be difficult to play accurately.

Lydian Augmented Scales

Lydian Augmented Scales are a great way to navigate Minor 7b5 chords and Major 7th chords.


Dan Forshaw

I'm passionate about creating inspirational experiences through music and other arts. A life changing experience under the influence of the music of John Coltrane lead to study in New York and London. My thesis was on the Theology of John Coltrane as expressed through A Love Supreme. I perform across Europe with various jazz groups and teach through my innovative website, I'm a total Apple Geek, Cricket, Rugby, F1 and Football fan and I'm learning to listen opinions before giving my own!