Tag Archives: Student responses

Charlie Parker @100

Saturday, 29th August 2020 marks the 100th Birthday of Charlie Parker. Parker, (nicknamed ‘Yardbird’ or simply ‘Bird’) is quite simply one of the most important saxophonists who has ever lived. His mastery of the instrument and the music has arguably never been surpassed and the influence he has had on every saxophonist, even every jazz musician that came after him is legendary.

Sadly, owing to Covid-19 I can’t be at his graveside with others this Saturday as I had originally planned. There’s various videos on YouTube of others doing this over the years, but it simply won’t be possible for me, or many others to play ‘Happy Birthday’ to Bird this Saturday.

However – I’d like to do a little bit of a last minute ‘challenge’ and get as many saxophonists as I can to play Parker’s ‘Now’s The Time’

Submit to [email protected] and I will publish the video at some point on Saturday – our little way of marking Bird’s 100th Birthday, even during these difficult times.

If you really want to get to grips with this then have a look at my Now’s The Time Transcription Project.

Download the lead sheets

Bb / Eb Lead sheets (one file)

Download the backing track

With Melody

Without Melody (just backing)

What to do

  • Record the Head x 2
  • Record as many solos as you can manage, (maybe include your favourite Charlie Parker phrase?)
  • Record the Out-Head

#DFBlues Challenge

As part of my Vlog on YouTube I wanted to start a series of ‘challenges’ that all my viewers can take part in over a period of weeks.

The first challenge will be the #DFBlues challenge.  Simply post a video of yourself playing a 12 bar blues for a minute or less on Social Media and make sure you use the ‘#DFBLUES’

At the end of January I’ll pick my favourite three, tell you why they are my favourites and the winner will get an exclusive ‘Coffee with Dan’ mug!

Here’s the backing track (click on this link to open) 

Why I teach music

I’m often asked why and how I got into teaching the saxophone.

My answer can be as simple as two words: passion and inspiration.

I’ve been inspired by some great teachers over the years. Going right back to when I was just about tall enough to reach the keys and hammer away on my grandma’s organ, music has always fascinated me.

At primary school my teacher, who was not a trained musician, was so passionate about getting kids involved in music that he held DAILY band practices and an hour’s rehearsal after school on a Friday.

When I got older I met – and studied with – some of the biggest names in the saxophone world,  As I got to know them and found myself having amazing conversations with them, one thing struck me: ALL of them were passionate about music and wanted to draw other people in to know and love this wonderful art form.