Sweet Progress

I’m still not practicing every day. However, I have been getting 3 to 4 days a week for several hours. Despite not being able to practice every day, and I am improving. I have noticed some of my old muscle memory is coming back. Some muscle memory is good, and some I need to try and forget permanently.

I would practice every day. However, even though I use a harness instead of a neck strap, I sometimes get some severe upper back and neck pain after long sessions. I don’t use pain meds other than Tylenol on occasion. For the most part, I use ice and sometimes a heating pad, which happens almost daily.

I am improving on the songs I have been practicing, and I have continued analyzing chord progressions and memorizing songs. As I have stated before, I had never taken this step. Now that I have begun this process performing the songs is much easier and more enjoyable.

I have loved listening to and playing jazz since high school. I was turned on to jazz by my high school band director, who was the first to form a jazz ensemble at my school. His name is Dennis Eichler. I WAS IN LOVE when I learned that musicians create this awesome music through improvisation.

Charlie Parker was the first saxophonist I encountered on this journey. I could not believe what I was hearing. Could he be creating all of the melodic lines I heard on the spot? It was true. Then I learned that musicians use the song’s chord progressions as a guide to improvising new melodies. What an art form! As the years have progressed, I realized that you need to be somewhat of a virtuoso to be a successful jazz soloist (I am not).

It would take a long time for me to realize that I needed to follow my instructor’s directions. I didn’t want to learn my scales, and I thought I could function without them. It is impossible. Scales are essential, and you can’t go forward without them.

Anyway, I digress. The muscle memory I spoke of had to do with scale patterns I had learned before. Some of that muscle memory had to do with bad habits I’d picked up over the years. So there are some things I need to unlearn.

I feel more comfortable on the sax, and I am getting better. There is much more to learn and relearn (other than chord changes), and I will get there eventually. Everything a player learns on their instrument contributes to their ability to be a jazz musician (if that is your goal). Well, I guess that is true for any genre of music. Practice makes a better musician.

I have tracked my progress on Youtube if you’d like to follow. Some of the recordings are decent and some of them are not so good. I posted them anyway, as they show the various stages of my progress and sometimes regression. There are other musicians following along, so I don’t want to be dishonest in any way.

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