Good practicing boogie

I’ve been lately well on the roll when it comes to practicing; we spent few days up north where there is not too many significant distractions so I was able to play sax all day long – and I pretty much did! I worked mostly with Boplicity and tritone chords but also played Airegin and Donna Lee to get my fingers better around them, too. And, like always, also had some serious fun while improvising on top of different tunes.

Today, as soon as we got home, I sat in front of piano intending to give my hands some serious piano practice but as soon as I had my fingers on the keys the avalanche of music swarmed over me and there I sat, looking at my hands working around C major, wondering what on earth had happened during my little break on piano practicing. I was playing music with a new instrument – what a feeling!

After almost five hours of playing and practicing both piano and sax I feel… like if I’d been working the whole day in a construction zone. Which is not so far away from the truth, actually.

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Sax lesson and ligature adventures

After few months rehearsing by myself I finally got together with my teacher, Tony, yesterday. So there I sat in Union Music rehearsal room playing my latest crush Boplicity to him, and ended up gaining a ton of positive feedback of my developing, which, I have to say, felt really nice! Then we ended up examining quite a while about tritone chords and how to use them in improvising (my poor brain still sings hallelujah for that, but boy, that was also super interesting!). After that he gave me many good pointers about using my palm keys which have been utterly problematic for me. Gotta say I had really missed his very gentle and positive ass-kicking – thanks Tony! Later in the evening me and my husband walked to see him play Union Square with Jazzmafia, and in addition to his playing we also got to see some ass-kicking trombone playing, too! Perfect night.

Before my sax lesson I wanted to try out a new ring ligature I’d been recommended in Sunday jazz jam sessions, a ligature that was supposed to make way softer sound with quite a less resistance than my present ligature does. The ring ligature was definitely all right even though I didn’t sense quite so much difference to my present one I had expected, but when I had fooled around with the ring and my own ligature for a while in came Sam, a sax player who works at Union, with a Vandoren Optimum ligature he uses with his tenor. Okay, I have known that the ligatures make difference… but how much, that I could’ve not even begin to guess before yesterday! Optimum definitely made the sound clearer, adding a little bit of metallic clang to it without being too 2D. Kind of like putting the best of my wooden mouthpiece together with a best of some good metallic mouthpieces I’ve tried. I fell in love.

Now I wish my husband would buy me a golden ring for my birthday… 😉

Chopin

My first piano piece under rehearsal is Chopin’s Nocturne opus 37 no 1. Isn’t this piece of music the most beautiful one! I got to feel soooo handicapped while practicing them first 8 bars at my teacher’s place, but now I have listened it quite a bit from Youtube and played through those bars so many times that the basics go somewhat right. And we didn’t even take the left hand with yet!

I am very glad my teacher doesn’t let me off easy. 🙂

Soloing in San Francisco

Cafe International bass player Ted had posted this little video in his blog, so I take it I can link it here, too. My solo is the second of the saxophones. The first one is the leader of the Sunday jam sessions… oh yes, I still have a thing or two to learn before I’m at his level!

First lesson

The best, or one of the best things of learning new instruments is how retarded one gets to feel oneself! It’s so hilarious: you know your fingers should go someplace or do something, but suddenly they are possessed with the will of their own and do everything else! I just love it… And on the other hand rare are those feelings that can top the mere joy of finally getting some difficult fingering right.

So the first lesson was good, we ended up sitting close to two hours just figuring out what do I already know an can do with piano and what he should teach me. This is of course a common procedure which we also got through with my sax teacher. Usually it takes more than just one session for a teacher to figure a new student out, but A seemed to be exceptionally well on the map and towards the end he had jotted down a 3 to 6 month learning plan for me. I am impressed and very happy for picking him!

Boy, I can’t wait to get my hands on those Chopins!