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Which Should I Learn How To Play Trombone Or Saxophone?

Posted on 9 August, 2016 at 20:00 Comments comments (0)

Which should I learn how to play - Trombone or Saxophone?


Both trombone and saxophone are heavy instruments suited to adults, teens and older children from age eleven. Younger pupils should start on Clarinet or Trumpet initially.


The saxophone is heavy and can only be played wearing a neck strap or full body harness strap to support the weight of the sax as you play.


The trombone requires a long arm to reach the lower sixth and seventh positions and few people realise how fatiguing this instrument is to hold up with the left shoulder. Even ten minutes of playing will leave you aching!


Consider the style of music you enjoy listening to - do you like jazz? Watch videos of players on either instrument - with whom do you most identify?


I teach a person who played sax for years and has changed over to learning trumpet so think about the long term enthusiasm you have.


I want to learn how to play trombone!


Watch trombone players on video - do you identify with this sound?


A first trombone and book and music stand will cost you around £250. You could try the new plastic pbone in various bright colours!


The trombone is a brass instrument - you produce the sound through the brass mouthpiece by buzzing your lips and you use the slide to correct the pitch.


You need to allow daily practice time to develop the lip muscles we call the embouchure. The trombone uses a medium size brass mouthpiece you buzz into, so later you can also play euphonium, a valved tenor tuba.


Scales and arpeggios are essential to correctly find the 7 slide positions. You will cover a tenor voice sound down to a low bass.


The trombone plays harmony notes mid range supporting the higher pitched clarinets and trumpets and can play some nifty solos of its own too!


Trombones play in jazz band, dixie, swing big band, classical orchestra, chamber groups, trombone choir, brass quartet & quintet, circus bands, town bands, wind orchestras and concert bands, military bands, marching bands - pretty much every type of music except the string quartet!


Everybody loves a trombonist so you will be in demand the world over!


If you are an extrovert and wish t be a music personality then learn how to play trombone!


Louise Woodcock teaches trombone in Kent & East Sussex - ring today 07989 370 624


I want to learn how to play saxophone!


Watch videos of saxophonists - do you want to play soprano sax (like a clarinet, high pitch for tunes, John Coltrane), alto sax (mid range pitch, the most popular choice, Charlie Parker), tenor sax (heavier and lower pitch, most popular with guys, Lester Young) or Baritone sax (huge, lower notes)? The smaller saxes are easier to carry about!


Go to a sax shop to try out different sizes and makes - ask for free advise. There are many price ranges from £400 to thousands! A cheap one is fine to begin to learn how to play saxophone quickly! Buy a starter book and music stand too, and a neck strap.


The saxophone is a reed woodwind instrument. It is very popular, especially for jazz and military band music. You will easily find a group, a band or orchestra to play in. You can buy backing tracks to play along at home.


Go to concerts to watch trombonists and saxophonists whenever you can. Be inspired and dig the music!


Work towards exams, meet other players, book workshop days, and above all enjoy learning how to play trombone or saxophone!


Louise Woodcock teaches saxophone and trombone in Kent & East Sussex - ring today without delay!


Louise Woodcock Trombone Saxophone Tutor 07989 370 624


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When is My Child Ready for Music Grade Exams?

Posted on 20 March, 2016 at 14:15 Comments comments (0)

"My child has been learning music privately for some time now but our teacher has not mentioned music exams. Does this mean my child is not yet ready? When does a child normally take their first grade?"


Not all private tutors enter their pupils for music grade exams so first ask if this is the case?


In general pupils progress one grade level a year but not necessarily ready for grade 1 until one to four years depending on the age & ability of the pupil - once the first grade is taken, one yearly is likely progress, although it is possible to take three exams in one year! Don't rush the first one - let your child find their stride! If you wish to avoid a buildup of music theory enquire about Practical Musicianship or take Jazz grade 5. This allows you to the exclusive higher grade 6 - 8 which carry UCAS points!!


Your tutor may be nervous to offer the first exam in case of failure. Failure of a first exam could discourage the child from making future attempts. However, we all have to begin somewhere! ABRSM offer some instrments a Prep Test which is a very useful fun first attempt at grade exams. No pass or fail: your child will present prepared mterial for an expert assessment at a centre near you. Find out more:-  http://gb.abrsm.org/en/home


ABRSM also offer grades 1 - 5 as Jazz syllabus - you buy the sheet music along with a CD containing backing tracks & a full version for practice. My younger pupils love these & do well from grade 1.


Grade 5 is GCSE Music level so consider the first four grades as steps towards this. The higher grades lead on to professional qualifications such as diplomas. Any musician attaining grade 5 will have a fine array of musical skills to enjoy music making as a life long hobby so it is really worth the pursuit! Have you thought of joining a local band? They will be glad to hear from you!


Must we take every grade from 1 to 8?


It is not necessary to take every grade - sometimes waiting will halt a pupil's momentum - you can take grade exams in the spring, summer & autumn only. There will be a centre near you, usually no more than 20 miles. The exam certificates are very highly prized & preparation for an ABRSM exam will give your child confidence in taking academic exams. Kids love to pass well!


So if you have had lessons for a year or so then begin to think about grade exams, perhaps an early Prep Test to start. You can always retake a failed exam or go onto the next level. Plan ahead carefully with your music tutor to give your child adequate practice. Have a positive approach to long term success.


"Have a positive approach to long term success!"


The exam consists of 3 pieces from a list worth up to 30 marks each - Aural which is music ear tests worth 18 marks - Sight reading worth 21 marks shows how well your child thinks at this level - Scales & arpeggios worth 21 marks. Ask your teacher to help you prepare in depth for these as they are worth 60 marks & the pieces worth 90 marks - total 150 marks. You must get 100 to pass. Don't throw any marks away! Prepare lovingly & thoroughly as each level assumes you learnt the previous material well & gets harder!


Many parents do not understand the intensive study required at each level to achieve a good pass. Listen to what your teacher feels about the amount of time you need to prepare & set aside daily practice time. Input achieves output! Don't rush. It takes years to learn any musical instrument really well. A labour of love... and FUN!


It takes around three weeks after your exam to receive the result. Get yourself a beautiful A4 frame ready to proudly display your certificate!


I hope this has been helpful. If you live in Kent or East Sussex I am happy to travel to assess your child's ability & current study level. Contact Louise Woodcock on 07989 370 624




Saxophone Lessons in Your Home - Kent & East Sussex

Posted on 28 June, 2015 at 9:25 Comments comments (0)

Have you ever wanted to play Saxophone?

If you live in Kent or East Sussex you can enjoy weekly lessons in your own home with Kent based professional saxophonist Louise Woodcock.

* Learn at your own pace

* Fun!

* Play the music styles you really enjoy - no boring studies!

* Take ABRSM grades Jazz 1-5 or Classical 1-8 if you wish

* Play in a band!

* Improve your memory and dexterity; build your self confidence

* Learn to improvise & read chord charts - compose your own songs!

* Choose the best SAX for you

All this and more - book your first lesson today & see how you get on.

No sax yet? I can recommend one for you.

Have you tried FIBRACELL artificial reeds? I use these! No more splits!

* Learn to master playing along with backing tracks

* Simplify fiendishly difficult passages!

Call Louise now on 07989 370 624

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What makes Charlie Parker's playing so vibrant & effortless?

Primarily his sense of urgency (extremely fast tempo) but also his unique approach to finding harmonies beyond the imagination of other players! Charlie Parker improvises neatly over scale patterns rather than just attempting to keep pace with chord changes, and this gives his music a complete sense of freeflow, of the melodic line soaring out over the bass, not just the creation of a harmonic line. Parker's melodies have a beautiful life of their own - you sense the backing is there to create a fullness, rather than hearing a lead instrument struggling to keep pace.

There seems to be a destined vitality to Parker's creations - music history would be flat without him.

You can listen breathless for a moment to catch his dynamic sense of passion and vivacity! Passion which led him to practice repetitively until every note felt pure and effortless like a swallow soaring low over a bubbling stream.


Effortless playing is attained through years of repetitive practice, an obsession with detail and perfection, a personal demand for dexterity and faultless flow. An intense approach to building complete and confident all round musicianship is required. Study your instrument's ability and limitations: work over every scale, major, minor, mode, blues, pentatonic, dominant, chords, diminished harmonies. Listen to players of all eras. Play by ear, play from your heart. Without passion for detail you cannot progress - only a complete love for great melodic innovation can begin to produce genius in your playing!

You can progress as far as you wish - greater passion = greater reward.

I challenge you to succeed - keep on & on - there is no end to playing perfection

Who do you influence? Push further! Play more. Listen more. Feel much. Believe!

Louise Woodcock is a Kent based Saxophonist & Tutor.