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Current Practice Guidelines

(subject to change)
March 1, 2006, 11:54 PM

Aebersold, J. (2000). “Practice Suggestions.” In Aebersold, J. (2000) Jazz Handbook,
New Albany, IN: Jamey Aebersold Jazz, Inc.
Improvise some every day. That’s the REAL YOU. Play what you hear in your head.
Make a habit of practicing in all twelve keys.

Baker, D. N. (1994). A Creative Approach to Practicing Jazz. New Albany, IN: Jamey
Aebersold Jazz, Inc.
When possible, spread the practice sessions out across the day.
Practice sessions should include:
1. Maintenance (warm-ups, flexibility exercises, articulation and range exercises,
and other daily routines)
2. Scales and arpeggios
3. Formulae such as II V7 patterns, cycles, turnarounds, melodic-rhythmic and
harmonic patterns (clichés), bebop and contemporary patterns, etc.
4. Solo transcription (written and aural)
5. Listening
6. Ear training
7. Sight-reading changes
8. Preparing specific assignments (if you are studying)
9. Learning tunes (include all types – blues, ballads, bebop, standards, Latin, free,
contemporary, etc.)
10. Whatever else is relevant to you musically
When practicing the above materials, vary all of the components – tempo,
dynamics, rhythm, meter, articulation, phrasing, octave placement, vibrato,
inflection, mood, style, etc. Don’t spend all of your practice time on things that
you can already do. When the things on which you’re working become
comfortable, then something has to change if growth is to continue. Play the
material faster, cleaner, louder, softer, higher, lower, in a different key, or with
alterations; or simply add new material.
From time to time, read tunes and changes from a fakebook. Simply play through
them for familiarity; don’t work on them.
Remember: Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. Those
who fail to prepare, prepare to fail.


2. The learning of a tune should encompass melody. Items 3 through 7 should be played with recorded accompaniment. including crescendi and diminuendi. (2000). A Daily Practice Schedule: Topic Sequence 1. (1941. Ten minutes for scale practice. building intensity. Benny Goodman’s Clarinet Method. chord progression. or cultivating a melodic sense. disciplines. 15 min. Ten minutes for sustained tones. 3. appropriate ingredients. however). range studies. etc. and tunes should be taken up each week. exercises. J. Twenty minutes for phrasing lessons. B. Such a turnover in materials will help insure a steady rate of progress. 4.Coker. Special Disciplines 7.). Goodman. New Albany.). Scales and Patterns 3. reading. time-feeling. Twenty minutes for technical exercises. IN: Jamey Aebersold Jazz. Improvisation Exercise 5. use of all rhythmic levels. Learn a Tune Minutes Spent 5 15 10 5 15 10 15 A new set of melodies. Given below is an example of a schedule that may help you to organize your practice time. This schedule is based on a seventy-five minute period (1 hr. 2 . (2000) Jazz Handbook. J. Divide the hour as follows: 1. and familiarization with the most significant recordings of the tune (the listening is done at another time. Inc. Milwaukee: The Goodman Group distributed by Hal Leonard Corporation. Pattern Application 4. patterns. “Special Disciplines” refers to studies aimed at resolving weakness in areas such as playing fast tempos. “How To Practice Improvisation.. 1989). transcribed solos.” In Aebersold. dexterity exercises for the fingers. A Slow Melody (tune) 2. Transcribed Solo 6. but it could be changed proportionately to fit a shorter or longer period if modified to allow time to take up instrumental studies (long tones.

Outstanding performers must possess technique. 7. 5. try to apply different forms of tonguing and slurring. breath control. means tonguing and slurring. A thorough foundation on scales and chords will aid you in reading of notes in group form. 3. Why look at every note of a scale or chord if you have memorized them! Tone. Memorize all prominent scales. Sax Scales. (1994). Daily practice will bring about that simultaneous manoeuvring (sic) of more than one finger at one and the same time. Tone control. vibrato. applying that fine sense of touch instead of that rigid sense of pressing. are all tone elements. Saxophone Practice Schedule – Two Hour Minimum 1. Time or Rhythm. 4. Avoid taking unnecessary breaths. 6. Milwaukee: Edwin H. This will enable you to avoid looking at each and every note when confronted with a scale passage. Medfield. expression or dynamic shading. Use author’s space and line note idea to imbed chords in your mind. Breathing. (1946). Effectiveness is obtained through application on the factor. Apply Proper Breathing and learn to play many notes in one breath. 8. Five minutes: Done slowly. Technique. 2nd. 3 . Tonguing and Slurring. For best results. Vision must always be at least four notes ahead of actual playing. Chords & Solos. Inc. since certain chord passages are considered difficult. eventually adding some form of resistance to the abdomen area. 1. Liebman. 2. When playing a scale or chord from memory. plan and designate exactly where you will take a breath before attempting to play a musical phrase or group of notes. MA: Dorn Publications. Proper Breathing. Reading of Notes In Group Form. all instruction books have specially designed exercises to develop technique. reed control. and add your name to the outstanding performers. The average professional can play a 32 measure chorus in four breaths. Writing of music applying all time characters can be a great aid in developing this sense of time or rhythm. Scale Practice. to read instruments. D. Also. Developing A Personal Saxophone Sound.Herman. Chord Practice. This factor is usually the most difficult among students. W. Too many breaths bring about uneven and poor results. and ultimately brings about reading of notes in group forum – an important essential in professional playing. fast inhale/exhale breaths. Phrasing. Morris & Company distributed by Hal Leonard. Apply as much time as possible daily to this factor. As a rule. Concentrate mind upon fingers. This is another important essential in all playing.

Articulation 4 . Relaxation 2. Twenty minutes: Both classical and jazz solo transcriptions for sight reading purposes. add extended overtone exercises for more challenge. expressive. Fifteen minutes: position of tongue for both sustained notes and for tonguing. Airflow 3. in various articulative and rhythmic configurations. Clean/low note fundamentals first (don’t drop jaw). 6. Mineola.2. use crescendo/decrescendo at times checking intonation constantly. Mouthpiece alone. Intonation 5. check ability to pre-hear interval. 4. Pino. flexibility and familiarity with the language. Reading. these exercises are for dexterity. Twenty minutes. intervals over a range of at least a tenth. not just chromatically or scale steps. 5. single tongue at various speeds and levels of intensity using all combinations of tongue and reed areas. Order of Priorities for Musicianship 1. to be done legato at quickest overall speed. match the natural fingering to the overtone in terms of intonation and timbral quality. beats on two and four). later on. NY: Dover Publications. 7. 3. Technique 5. check for evenness of sound and breath. Rhythm and meter 3. Forty minutes: In order to learn the alphabet of music. to be done intervallically. Tempo 4. use the metronome for accuracy (for jazz players. ability to prehear overtone and play it with a minimum of embouchure movement. coloristic devices to be practiced. Inc. (1980). Five minutes: Play scales. Embouchure 4. also do pre and post tones carefully. the idea is that practicing fast technique separately will result in it becoming second nature for use in musical ways. keep each aspect separate. Relaxation 2. The Clarinet and Clarinet Playing. Phrasing Order of Priorities for Clarinet Playing 1. Long tones. Miscellaneous. Overtones. D. Scales/Arpeggios/Intervals. emphasis on laryngeal (vocal cord/folds) activity. exercises for finger dexterity and smoothness in all ranges. Fifteen minutes: Useful for checking embouchure positions.