Tag Archives: saxophone

C Jam Blues

An iconic jazz chart…   also, an all time favourite of Lindyhop dancers around the world, epitomised by the version on the Live in Swing City CD (http://www.amazon.com/Live-Swing-City-Swingin-Duke/dp/B00000ICNS).

And so, this tune was how little Miss 9 (was little Miss 8) started learning to improvise on her saxophone.

At her last lesson, she was trading 4’s with her teacher and it was so.. cute!  Yes, I had another proud parent moment.  Her improvs were extremely basic and at times awkward, but, hey, it was one of her first times and she’s 9!

Coming from a classical background, I’m not really sure how one starts learning or improving their improvisation skills, but I have a feeling the more you do it, the more you find out what sounds good and what doesn’t, and your fingering becomes more natural, heading towards the point where you don’t even need to think about the fingering but just the notes, or maybe beyond the notes and just how you want it to sound and where you want it to go.

So Miss 9 has been “practising” at home.   I think I’ll have to get my violin and trade some 4’s or 8’s with her at home!

This morning I put on the CD, played C Jam Blues for her and she goes “I can play this!” and grabs the CD cover to look at the artwork and track listing.

Ahhh…  a jazz muso in the making 🙂


Switching from Violin to Saxophone

Miss 8 on sax

Back in March, I blogged about how Miss 8 was losing interest in the violin (https://jasechong.wordpress.com/2009/03/29/giving-up-the-violin/).  She just didn’t want to practise, making practice sessions a real struggle and very non-productive.

We then tried her on the piano with Wifey teaching her.  This was quite good.  But 2 things have happened lately which have changed the game again – Simpsons and a concert outing!

Miss 8 has suddenly taken a keen interest in watching the Simpsons.  I don’t know what has spurred her interest – kids at school?  the bright colours?   We only let her watch a couple of times a week, but Lisa Simpson’s saxophone has definitely inspired her.  And then a month or so ago, Wifey brought Miss 8 to a school concert where there was a really entertaining saxophone quartet. 

We started hearing, “Mum, when can I get a saxophone?”, “Dad, can I learn the saxophone?”.  Not once, but nearly daily!

So we lined up a teacher and a week ago we hired a sax.  It was so weird – Wifey and I are pretty musical, but our expertise is all in keyboard and string instruments.  I have no idea how wind or brass instruments work, how they fit together, how to put your mouth on the mouthpiece, how to “install” a reed, etc! 

At the hire shop, we opened up the case.

I looked at it.

It was shiny and golden with a dazzling number of buttons, ok 🙂  It was also bigger than I thought, and heavier than I expected.

It was so refreshing to see Miss 8’s enthusiasm for it.  She got it out straight away at home, tried to put it together and had a go!  And then spent the rest of the evening just walking around the house with it strapped around her neck, producing lound honking sounds from it.   She experimented with the keys and finally figured out the first few notes of the Simpson’s opening theme tune!

Wifey and I looked at each other – the difference in attitude and enthusiasm towards the violin and the saxophone is like night and day.  She couldn’t wait for her first lesson, and then apparently yesterday, the first thing she did when she got home was to get the sax out to practise.  I’ve learnt that it may take a few goes to find the “right” instrument for your child – there’s no “best” one for all – it really depends on your child’s personality.

I just hope her enthusiasm lasts!