Jamie has been playing saxophone for 40 years but he’s finding lots to learn with Sax School. Jamie is our March 2021 Sax School Legend!
Listening to Jamie play, it’s clear he’s an accomplished player with a great sound. However, he still wanted to work on his saxophone skills to get even better.
“I’ve done a lot of gigs, played with a lot of different people,” says Jamie. “I’ve played with some mad party bands, with bongos and bagpipes – and a lot of squealing!”
Busking has been a big part of Jamie’s life too. “I used to live on a boat and I would go off and busk around Oxford – it was an easy life!” he explains.
Even though he had loads of playing experience, Jamie could see there were gaps in his saxophone skills. “I always worried that I will get exposed,” says Jamie. “I’ve got a good ear, and I can make a nice sound – if I stay within a 12 bar scenario that I’m comfortable with.”
Jamie has enjoyed using lessons in Sax School to go back to basics. “I’m going back to playing through chords, and trying to nail it down,” he explains. “It’s taking a lot of time but I’ll get there..It’s like learning to read or write.”
One of the best things about learning online for Jamie is that you can go at your own pace. “It’s been great to be able to learn with Sax School with no pressure,” he says. “It’s brought me on so much.”
A big influence on Jamie’s saxophone sound came from his Dad. “Dad was a player… he played with some good people like Humphrey Lyttelton and Sidney Bechet. He played clarinet then went on to soprano sax, and he’s still playing at aged 96!”
Jamie grew up surrounded by music, particularly jazz. “It’s inside me,” says Jamie. “I Love Coltrane and Johnny Hodges. I’m listening to the Johnny Hodges and Billy Strayhorn album. Songs like ‘Daydream’ are just fantastic”.
Listening to singers has also helped Jamie to develop his saxophone skills – a great pro tip all players! “Listening to singers really helps with the timing and phrasing” explains Jamie.
Tips for new players
It’s great to see Jamie getting out gigging, and also using the resources in Sax School to develop his saxophone skills. A big part of Jamie’s approach is to take his time, and this comes through in the videos he shares.
“If I’m sharing something outside of this room I want it to be as good as I can get it. It’s like you’re presenting something,” Jamie explains. “I spent a lot of time on [my videos of] ‘Harlem Nocturne’ and ‘At Last’ – to get it how I want it to be, instead of ‘that’ll do.””
- Really take your time to perfect something. Take an easy melody and really work on it
- Listen to other players and other people in Sax School
- If you’re finding something difficult, leave it and play something simple for a while. When you go back to it, it’s often come right. It’s like it all falls together when you’re not there.
- Keep exploring!
We can’t wait to hear what Jamie shares next. Congratulations on being our Sax School Legend!
Find out how Sax School can support, encourage and inspire you to make great progress on your saxophone here.