Barrie Fox is this week’s Student of the Week! We loved Barrie’s video of “My Favourite Things”, which included some great improvisation. Barrie is a popular member of our Facebook Community and we always enjoy his videos.
Sax School Community
Barrie started playing sax almost four years ago, and joined Sax School just two weeks later.
“One of the best things about Sax School, for me, is the Facebook Community”, says Barrie. “I believe that you should surround yourself with good people, and everyone in the group is so helpful.”
Barrie has been involved in some great collaborations with other Sax School members. “We’ve done ‘Little Drummer Boy’ – the Bing Crosby and David Bowie version; and four of us even did ‘Bohemian Rhapsody!’” says Barrie. “We each recorded a different part of the track – it was great fun!”
Barrie also finds the Facebook Community a great source of motivation. “If you work on something until you are happy to share it in the group, it gives you a goal,” he explains. “Sometimes you hit a bit of a plateau, when you might not feel you are improving. Having a goal helps you get through those times.”
“I believe that you should surround yourself with good people, and everyone in the group is so helpful.
Commitment of a Sportsman
Barrie was a professional showjumper for many years, competing internationally, and he draws on this experience in his sax practice. “It’s great if you have natural ability at something, but if you don’t, you need to work twice as hard,” he says. “It’s a long term commitment. You get out of it what you put in.”
Barrie is certainly very committed to his sax. “I play every day,” he says. “When I’m at work, I play at lunchtime, in the back of the car. I travel a lot with my job but I always take my mouthpiece and my saxophone neck. I practice long tones, tonguing, or timing. And I always listen to the tracks I’m learning, while I am driving.”
Even when he doesn’t have his sax with him, Barrie tries to add things to his routine which will improve his playing. “I swim every morning, to keep fit,” he says, “and I practice breathing from my diaphragm whilst I swim!”
“Sometimes you hit a bit of a plateau, when you might not feel you are improving. Having a goal helps you get through those times.”
Barrie’s video of “My Favourite Things” was the first improvisation he had recorded. “It’s something I am working on,” he says. “I am focussing on reading music, and improvising, using Sax School and also Blues Mastery. I just wish I had an extra ten hours a day!”
Barrie is also working on his sight-reading. “I used to write the names on the notes on the music, underneath,” he explains. “But I’ve stopped doing that and I find I learn the piece more quickly. I want to be able to play from memory.”
Barrie enjoys playing a wide variety of music. “I loved soul when I was younger,” he says, “but I’ve got into jazz, and blues, and classical too.” Learning sax means he listens to music in a different way. “I don’t just listen to the tune anymore – I’m listening to the groove, or the rhythm,” Barrie explains.
Barrie enjoys transcribing too. “I’ve got a good ear, so I don’t find it difficult,” he says, “but it sometimes distracts me when I should be focussing on lessons!”
You sound pretty focussed to us, Barrie! Thank you for being such an inspiration, and congratulations from all the Sax School team.