Serious Teacher: “I’m afraid I can’t teach you next week; I’ll be cancelling your lesson.”
Students Gasps: “What?”
Very Serious Teacher: “I am a member of NASA and I’ll be going to a conference.”
Confused and Surprised Student: “You are?”
Very, Very Serious Teacher Turns To Lock Eyes on Student: “Yes. I belong to the North American Saxophone Alliance.”
Mildly Shocked Student Relaxes Into a Knowing Smile.
The Region 10 NASA conference took place at Western University, London—ON not UK—February 22-24, 2019. It was expertly hosted by Bobbi Thompson and sixteen engaging saxophone majors. Sixteen! Strength In Numbers.
It was a pleasure to hear former students Victor Agrippa (Humber) and Jesse Ma (U. of T.) take the stage.
Always eager to steal some tips from the other side, I took in the Andrew Bishop Masterclass. What a treat to hear an accomplished jazz musician with classical training and sensibilities discuss his approach to the saxophone.
It’s hard not to be jealous of jazzers. They are so cool when they play. So relaxed. So physical. This ability to feel the music; this sense of ease they bring to their music-making: Irresistible.
Andrew Bishop made several kinaesthetic observations:
“Feel the rhythm like you are a drummer.”
“Let the horn be an organic part of you.”
Channelling Donald Sinta, “Economize your altissimo fingerings.”
And his final advice to aspiring players, “Pay attention to ergonomics.”
Oui, oui, oui et oui.
Great advice for both jazz and classical musicians, don’t you think?
So how can we Classical types loosen up and get more physical?
Get your Five Stability Points in place. Set the metronome to click at any tempo. Flick off the lights. (Or close your eyes.) Improvise. Use the beat. Feel the beat. Dance while you play. Move naturally.
And stay loose-as-a-goose.