I often like to work on things away form the sax, i.e. transcribing and rhythm work, but recently in order to make this work more organised and productive I started making a more in depth list of things I can do. This is particularly for situations where I would like to study or practise and I am not able to, or it is not appropriate to start playing my horn.
1. Rhythmic work: This is very important part of my work and I try to do at least 15mins a day. It can be done anywhere. Just need a metronome and something to tap on.
2. Transcriptions: I try to do both writing things down and learning things purely by ear. Of the two I find the latter more difficult yet more satisfying and beneficial for my general work in music. Writing things helps both my ear and as well as my written rhythmic vocabulary.
3. Visualising chords and scales: I still am slower at mentally picturing certain scales and chords so I work on seeing these as quick as the "easier keys". Some times I also write out scales to help this, and also visualise playing them on the sax.
4. Singing or humming melodic and rhythmic ideas over tunes: I use aebersolds to tryout certain rhythmical and melodic ideas. Personally, if I can't sing an idea in my head I can not play it on the sax so this is very beneficial work.
5. Listening: This influences me alot and the more I listen, the better my musical vocabulary. I try sometimes to do a more focused listening where I will only focus on certain ideas in a piece, i.e. bass line or piano comping etc.
6. Composing: I would like to compose more, and do have periods when I do alot, but I see that if I could do a little bit each day I would go alot further. Now I try to keep a book that when an idea comes, even if it's a small phrase I write it down with the hope that I may eventually use it.
7. Memorising tunes: My aim here is to memorise and understand a chord structure of a tune in such a way that I can then also transpose it into other keys.
This list is clearly not exhaustive and all these are very much work in progress, so I would be happy for any comments on further additions and ideas.