After just 3 years of playing saxophone Kay is making amazing progress and sharing great videos of her playing too.
Kay is our November Sax School Legend. Find out about how Kay has discovers new music on saxophone, and made such great progress with Sax School.
Baker Street Riff
Like loads of new saxophone players, Kay wanted to learn to play the sax riff from Jerry Rafferty’s ‘Baker Street’.
“When I started playing in 2018 I had a teacher for about 6 months,” explains Kay. “When I asked about the ‘gliss’ at the beginning of ‘Baker Street’ the teacher just wanted me to start on the first note and I knew that wasn’t right, from what I had heard on the recording….The teacher was great at teaching many instruments, but I realised I needed to learn from someone who was dedicated to saxophone.”
The tune that inspired Kay to begin learning saxophone was ‘Jubel’ by Klingande (available to learn in Sax School). “we used to go to Spain regularly and we saw a great saxophonist. The first time I saw ‘Jubel’ played live it blew me away! I thought ‘It’s now or never’ – I was 51 and I thought if I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it.”
Once she had started, Kay soon discovered more and more music she wanted to learn including ‘Lily was Here’ from Candy Dulfer.
Discovering Sax School
And when Kay joined Sax School, she discovered new music on saxophone. “Sax School has broadened my horizons,” says Kay. “When I started out I was very into pop. But in Sax School there’s blues, there’s jazz, – all kinds of things that I probably would never have tried.”
Kay made a great video of her performance of Etta James’ ‘At Last’ which she shared in our Sax School Community. “I probably would never have tried [At Last] if it hadn’t been available in Sax School,” says Kay. “It’s opened up new genres of music for me.”
New music on saxophone
As well as being fun, learning new music on saxophone has helped Kay to make great progress with her saxophone. “It has especially helped me with timing,” explains Kay. “Learning ‘At Last’, the temptation is to race ahead with it, but you need to take your time. So that was a great lesson to learn.”
Exploring new genres has also helped Kay to become a more accomplished performer on saxophone. “It’s taught me all the little things like grace notes, that turn a mediocre performance into something that is really good to listen to,” she says.
Finding the Right Mouthpiece
Using the resources in Sax School has also helped Kay to choose the right mouthpiece for the sound she wants – especially the Guest Sessions from Jody Espina of Jody Jazz. “The Jody Espina sessions with Sax School were really informative,” says Kay. “I learned lots of new things about mouthpieces”.
Then Kay decided to try a metal mouthpiece for a different sound. “When I started learning Jubel, I thought it would be fun to try a metal mouthpiece. I got a Theo Wanne Fire. I think I need stronger reed on that mouthpiece to tone it down a little bit. Also used that mouthpiece on the video I made of Señorita.”
Kay is also a member of our 1-2-1 Accelerator Programme which has really boosted her progress, and she’s currently working on that tricky ‘Lily was Here’ solo. “My tutor Chris is fantastic,” says Kay. “He sings, claps, and drums back to me to help me get the rhythms!”
Saxophone Role Models
It’s great to have a role model for your saxophone playing, to help keep you on track and stay motivated. Kay was inspired by Mexican saxophonist Grazziato on YouTube. “He has an amazing sound that I don’t seem to be able to emulate,” says Kay. “I also love Alexandra Ilieva, she has a very clear and precise sound.”
Making Progress through Videos
Kay has shared some great videos of her playing in our Sax School Community, but initially she was reluctant. “Originally I didn’t feel the video side was for me, and it took me 5 months to post a video!” says Kay. “The first video I posted was ‘Let It Snow’ because I love Christmas!”
After advice from her videographer son, Kay now uses a green screen for her videos, and records into GarageBand. “Sometimes I record the video separately, but I still play for the video so it’s authentic,” explains Kay.
Despite her initial worries Kay has found the process of making videos really helps her make great progress on saxophone. “It forces you to listen and approach it like a performance,” says Kay, “and some [Sax School] members are so accomplished – their feedback is really worth having. They pick up on things that I would miss – it’s fantastic.”
Kay’s Tip for New Sax Players
Kay recommends starting out with our LITE programme to help you stay on track. “LITE would have been perfect for me when I started out,” says Kay. “It’s a really focussed plan to learn what you need to move on to discover new music on saxophone.”
Congratulations to Kay – Our November Sax school Legend!
If you’re ready to make great progress on saxophone like Kay, get a 14 day FREE trial of Sax School here.