Friday, October 12, 2007

Away from the sax - Visualisation

Some time ago I started to notice a discrepancy between my ability to formulate harmonic ideas on the piano and that of the saxophone. I began to realise that one of the difficulties on sax was that unlike the piano or guitar, it is not a very visual instrument. By this a mean that due to the nature of keys or fret board, these instruments are very "colour coded" which aid in visualising harmonies. Discussing this with a friend of mine recently, he suggested trying to get the same principle from the sax by working without the instrument. He suggested working several times a day on visualising with the mind only, the things being worked on in practise. So far I have tried it only with scales and patterns, but already Ive noticed a big difference. If I practise a particular scale or pattern in my head several minutes before practise, I'm clearly able to work on it with a better feel and understanding, and achieve results much faster. Just as the fingers and lungs need warming up as does the brain. My next step will be to work this idea on particular tunes, as I feel my improvising on the sax would benefit from this "visual" aspect as well as the aural and mental side.

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