At Sax School we love to see the amazing progress our students make. Greg has been learning saxophone with Sax School for the past two years. He started from scratch and is already out playing gigs! We are very proud to award Greg as our Student of the Week!
Greg first bought his saxophone in response to a New Years’ Eve dare from his wife!
“We were discussing New Year’s Resolutions and my wife suggested I learned a new instrument,” Greg explains, “but I didn’t really start making progress until I joined Sax School, two years later. Sax School is the only teacher I’ve ever had!”
“We had a piano at home when I was growing up, so I was always messing around on it”
Playing Gigs on Saxophone
Greg also plays the piano, and has a regular Saturday night gig with a friend, in a local restaurant lounge. Surprisingly, Greg has never learned to read music. “We had a piano at home when I was growing up, so I was always messing around on it,” Greg says. “Then when I was a student I got a job playing in a bar – I played for five hours every night – mainly popular tunes and a few Irish ballads. It was all by ear!” This developed into his current blues duo, with a friend who provides guitar and vocals.
“I took the sax along once, about a year ago,” says Greg. “The acoustics aren’t great in the room where we play. It’s all hard surfaces, and the glasses were rattling on the bar!” Greg says he’d like to try the sax again now that he’s been playing longer. “We are so used to playing together, we don’t need to practice, but it’s different when I’m on sax. We will need to rehearse!”
Learning to read music is one of Greg’s goals, especially as he would like to join an ensemble eventually. “I get impatient, because I know how the melody goes, by ear, and working the notes slows me down!”
Greg uses the “Amazing Slow Downer” app recommended by Nigel. “When I was learning ‘Bewitched’ I worked it out a phrase at a time, slowing it down and sometimes looping sections, on my computer,” explains Greg. “I don’t know the names of the notes on the sax; I learn the Sax School lessons through watching Nigel’s fingers!”
Sax School has really developed Greg as a player. “It’s all the little tricks and tips you pick up, like alternative fingerings,” says Greg. “It’s like having a friend over to teach you!” Sax School has also really helped Greg with his improvising. “I’ve learned a lot about the theory, beyond what I could do on the piano,” he says. “Now I can spend hours picking apart a solo to work out how it’s structured.”
“Sax School is the only teacher I’ve ever had!
Greg is certainly dedicated to his sax – he even keeps a spare instrument at work! “Finding time to practice is difficult with three young kids, but Sax School is great because I can just dip in when I have a few minutes to spare,” he says.
Learning with Sax School
Greg is a regular contributor to our Members’ Facebook Group. “Posting a video is a really great way to push yourself forward,” he says. “People often feel self-conscious, but it’s such a positive group – and when you watch your videos back, it’s great to see how you’ve progressed, too.”
Greg also finds advice and inspiration in the Facebook Group. “I’ve learned loads from fellow members and from watching their videos,” Greg says. “I’ve also had the pleasure of collaborating with many of the members over the past two years which is both learning and immensely enjoyable! I am very much of the view with our group that you get back – in spades – what you put in!”
Lately, Greg has started transcribing songs himself and shared this brilliant video of him playing his transcription of the jazz standard “Bewitched”.
We love seeing your videos, Greg! Keep them coming!
Want to learn saxophone so you can play like Greg? Get started with Sax School today