Lesson 30: Sing and Play

Since I developed carpal tunnel syndrome in 1990, I began to sing as a way of practicing the saxophone without using my hands.  After my operation, I could not use my hands to play the sax for 4 months so began singing and imagining the saxophone fingerings simultaneously.  This was extremely slow going at first, because my ear needed a lot of work, and now, years later, is still challenging for me.  What I’ve learned from this practice is that it will consistently develop your ones and the connection between the ear (mind) and the fingers (body).  I’ve mentioned this countless times in all my other lessons but I thought it was time to demonstrate how one might go about doing this.  The difficulty here lies in the singing of the musical phrase.  Most of us (including myself) aren’t great singers, so we shy away from singing as it is embarrassing and somewhat humiliating.  If you can throw these fears aside and sing you will soon realize (if you haven’t already), just how good singing is for your ears, your musicality, your playing and your general enjoyment of music.  If you can maintain this “sing and than play” approach throughout your practice routine, day in and day out, you will see steady improvements over the years.  One thing you’ll quickly notice, is that, although you can play things at break neck speeds, singing is a slow and delicate process which will truly reflect where your ear is at and what specifically you have trouble hearing.  You can’t hide behind your instrument, your technique or your knowledge when you sing; if you can’t hear it, you can’t sing it.  Keep in mind that you should try to sing the pitches in tune, as best you can, try to avoid singing just the rhythms with a vague or unspecific pitch.  Sing over a drone so you can sense the vibrations of the different intervals above a root or pedal and will help to get the notes better in tune.  There is a PDF of the ii – V7 – I melody below and an mp3 you can practice singing along to as well.



Lesson 30: Melodic ii V I PDF

Lesson 30: Midi sing along Mp3

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