One of the things our members love about Sax School is the chance to connect with saxophone players around the world.
This month we are recognising 5 awesome members, in 5 different countries, who’ve got together as “Sax Squad” to create an amazing multi-sax collaboration of “Got to Get You Into My Life.” Sax Squad are our April Legends!
I caught up with the group to find out more. Sadly Gregory couldn’t make it due to work commitments – you can read about Gregory’s playing in his own Legend blog, here.
It was Les, who’s based in South Africa, who kicked off the project. “I got in touch with Gregory in the USA, and Watson in Scotland, because like me, they are ex-Police Officers,” explains Les. “We decided to recruit Andy (from England) and Judy (in Rome) as “Special Constables” so they could get involved too. So it’s a truly global project!”
It was Les, too, who suggested they record the Sax School multi-sax arrangement of “Got To Get You Into My Life”. Watson took the baritone part, with Andy and Gregory taking tenor and Judy and Les taking alto.
Learning the parts
The group admit that while the music looked straightforward at first, it proved to be more challenging when they started learning their parts. Watson has a great tip on using a digital sax when you’re learning new music. “I listened to the baritone part through headphones and used my Aerophone to get my fingers around it. Then I transferred to the horn,” explains Watson. “The Aerophone is great for learning alternate fingerings, and for improving your technique – you’ve really got to be accurate with it.”
Andy admits recording his part was a challenge too. “I had to record it multiple times until I was happy with it,” he says. “Once I’d got a video, against a plain background, I sent it to Judy who worked her magic.”
Bringing it Together
Once each member of the group had recorded their parts, it was down to Judy to edit it all together. Fortunately, Judy creates videos regularly in her job as a language teacher. Plus, she had access to some extra expertise. “I teach at the music university in Rome and some of my students are doing a degree in production,” she explains, “so I got a lot of tips from them. It made a change for them to be teaching me!”
Judy used Logic Pro to edit the audio together on her computer. Bringing together five parts which have been recorded separately has its own challenges. “It can be difficult lining the audio up, even when you’ve played to a metronome,” says Judy. “It helped that everyone was in tune!”
Judy added the audio track to the video she had created on her iPad, using Lumavision. Then the finished video was ready to share in our Sax School Facebook Community!
Having done this collaboration, the group are all keen to do another. “For me, this is one of the most valuable things about Sax School – the opportunity to play with other people and interact with other saxophone players,” says Les.
“It’s a great learning curve and it’s lovely to connect with so many different people,” says Judy. ” It’s all good fun and that’s what it’s all about.”
Tips on Doing a Collaboration
This video, and the other collaborations we’ve had in Sax School, always inspire other members who want to do the same. The group had these tips for other players on how to get started.
Judy: Ask in Sax School Facebook Community for people to collaborate with. Reach out and people will respond.
Les: Pick something easy! You’ll get a lot out of a project even if it’s a simple arrangement – not just about learning your part, you’ve got to record it, connect with others, put it together.
Andy: Recording for a collaboration forces you to look at the music in more depth, because you know you’re going to put it out there.There’s some accountability, because you’re working with other people.
Congratulations Sax Squad on a great video – thanks for inspiring our Sax School Community!