Melanie never imagined she would have the confidence to play ska saxophone in a band on stage. Now she’s confidently improvising solos and playing gigs every weekend with a ska band.
Melanie is our September Sax School Legend. Find out how Melanie went from giving away solos, to improvising with confidence, with Sax School.
Like many saxophone learners, Melanie felt nervous playing on her own. “I’ve always played in horn sections,” explains Melanie. “If I got the chance to play a solo I would give it away to the guitarist!”
Making videos and sharing them in our Sax School Community has given Melanie’s confidence the boost she needed with performing live too. “I would never have imagined I would be playing ska saxophone in a band,” says Melanie. “I’m in a David Bowie band, I play soul and a bit of rock ’n’ roll. But I’m absolutely loving it!” With “The Incredible Skank Brothers” Melanie has been playing at gigs, parties and outdoor events every weekend since COVID restrictions were lifted. “It’s been crazy!” she says.
Melanie has super-charged her progress with our ACCELERATOR programme, with tutor Fred Vigdor.
“Fred always has a way of making something interesting or fun – even if it’s something you don’t particularly want to do!” says Melanie. “He makes it so easy and I want to pick up my saxophone and I want to improvise.”
As well as working on particular solos with Fred, Melanie has been able to take her learning into all aspects of her playing and performing. “I can take all the things that he’s done with me and transfer them into live playing as well as practicing. It’s like a complete learning experience,” she explains.
Like many of our Sax School members, Melanie needed a way to learn that is flexible and fits in with her busy lifestyle. “As adult learners, it’s difficult to make time to go to a lesson every week – even scheduling a Zoom lesson. With Accelerator, … it’s like having a lesson every day because I’ve got all the references that Fred has sent me …to refer back to. I’ve just loved it.”
Using a video exchange, Melanie can get feedback, comments and her questions answered, any time. “If you want to ask a question you can just post it and get an answer – if you were having individual lessons you would probably have to wait till next week,” she says.
A Wealth of Resources
Melanie is a violin teacher by profession and studied music at university, but when it comes to saxophone, she’s self-taught. She started learning saxophone in her twenties when a friend asked her to help with some arranging for a horn section. “I ended up buying an alto sax and joining the band. He taught me a few riffs and the rest is history!” she says.
Discovering the wealth of resources in Sax School was perfect for Melanie because it gave her all the technical know-how as well as huge library of tunes to learn in every style.
“I can get all the technical knowledge I need as well as find the tunes I want to play,” says Melanie. “I can learn a particular solo, or learn about the pentatonic scale, or how to play be-bop – depending on what I’m working on.”
Melanie has these tips for new School School learners:
- Try to pick something that is at your level even though it can be tempting to dive into a song you love and then struggle with it and get frustrated.
- Stay focused. Try not to jump from one thing to another. Complete the lesson before moving on to the next one.
Congratulations Melanie! We can’t wait to see what you achieve next with your saxophone.
Want to make great progress on saxophone like Melanie? Get access to over 600 lessons, courses, and masterclasses, plus the support of our tutor team and our amazing worldwide Sax School Community. Start today with Sax School!