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for some resources for learning to play in odd time signatures including play-alongs, transcriptions and analyses of Chris Potter soloing on those same tunes, and a compilation of odd time signature practice techniques.
The vibrant sound of the saxophone is what makes it unique, and its flexibility is what ultimately lets each player develop their own voice. There are many techniques and methods used that help develop a beautiful and personal sound.
I teach both jazz and classical saxophone. I like to focus on what the student is most interested in, but at the same time we cover all the neccessities to good saxophone playing. I like my students to become independent musicians, meaning that I give them the tools to proactively improve their music instead of waiting for an instructor to point out their weaknesses. I also realize that a good teacher helps students understand their musical roadblocks, so I do my best to fulfill that role too.
Extended Techniques: Altissimo & More
The saxophone lends itself to an amazing extended range as jazz musicians like Mark Turner and Chris Potter and the great classical saxophonists have shown us. Not only can the saxophone's range be extended but it is capable of many fantastic sounds including multiphonics and vibrant overtone based sounds.
Standards and Jazz Compositions
The ability to improvise easily over standards is vital to a great improviser. All the greatest musicians I've encountered can improvise well on standards with no difficulty. Also important, is the ability to play over tunes from jazz composers like Thelonious Monk or Wayne Shorter, which generally tend to be more complicated than standards.
Listening, transcribing, or just playing in the style of... No matter how you approach it, most of the best jazz musicians learned to play what came before them. Charlie Parker learned Lester Young solos, and Joe Henderson transcribed Coltrane. What has come before serves as a foundation that musicians use and expand on as they develop.
Melodic and Motivic Improvisation
Mastering the jazz language is important, but the ultimate goal is to get beyond licks and create our own personal musical statements like the best jazz musicians have. Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, and Joe Henderson are a few classic examples of saxophonists who got beyond the point of emulation and offered something unique. There are fantastic players today carrying on that tradition.
Some of the interesting things jazz musicians are exploring today include stretching the harmony, shifting and odd time signatures, and incorporating elements and styles from other music into jazz. These explorations offer their own challenges, but they can result in some very exciting and new music.