Archive for the ‘Musicianship’ Category

The Bass Project

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Update on The Sax Project. I’m playing sax still but the project itself is on hold. I started playing with the worship team at church, but switched to bass guitar about a year ago, and now I’m pretty much entrenched as their bass player. Bass presents none of the issues that sax does, so it’s been easy to contribute to the worship environment in an effective way.

In the time I played sax with the worship team, it was much as I thought it would be and expressed here in the blog. Perhaps the only thing different was how often I subbed for other instruments we didn’t have – usually strings. We didn’t have a lead electric guitar during that time, so I played a few guitar intros and bridge leads. The band now has an electric guitar and a second keyboard to play synth strings.

As for sax itself, I’ve moved off the alto in favor of soprano and tenor. Due to some health issues, I knocked off sax altogether for a few months last year, though I could still play bass. Played soprano in the Christmas concert in 2009 after a hurried attempt to revive the embouchure. Not sure about 2010′s concert. So in the short term, I don’t know what I’ll be doing with sax on the worship front. My current effort is aimed at developing a set list for a new cover band (secular).

Still At It

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Been awhile. But there’s been progress on the music front.

Since August I’ve been practicing with the church worship team. They like my sound OK, so it remains for me to get the material down. Most of them are participating in the Pastor’s December 7 concert, but I’m not, so I have to time work on the main stuff until then.

I’ve made an upgrade to the student model alto (Yamaha YAS-23) by replacing the neck with Yamaha’s G1 neck, which is what they put on higher end saxes. Basically, I upgraded the tone of the YAS-23 for $300, without having to cough up the cash for the next-level model. I played a YAS-475 (intermediate model) in the music store, but didn’t notice any tone improvement, though the key action was clearly better.

I am considering getting another Vandoren V16 mouthpiece for the alto, this time an A6S to complement the A7M I currently have. The A7M gave me the tone I wanted, but practicing with electronically amplified instruments, I find the need to cut a bit more, not in volume, but with more character from overtones that I would get from a smaller chamber. I will also try out other makes as I get the opportunity.

There’s more to tell, but why do it all in one post?

House of Prayer

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

The third reason I attend church (or church activities, like home groups) is for prayer. Now in practice, I pray very little at church these days, especially compared to prayer on my own. The role of prayer in church has diminished in recent times.

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The Sax In Contemporary Christian Worship part II

Friday, September 14th, 2007

Continuing from previous post The Sax In Contemporary Christian Worship Music

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The Sax In Contemporary Christian Worship Music

Friday, August 31st, 2007

What a grand title! I don’t know enough to fully deliver on what that title promises. Not yet. I have some basic ideas, but the rest I probably won’t figure out until the Sax Project progresses beyond the experimental stage. But I do have definite ideas about what the sax should not do.

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Keeping a Stiff Lower Lip

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

Or rather, keeping the lower lip at all. The other day, I was having the usual morning coffee and pumpkin bread, when after taking a bite I also chomped a good amount of lower lip, about a quarter-inch or so below the lip line. Now I wondered at the time how in doing something so routine, that suddenly my lip moved into position to be chomped. Not a natural eating motion, but oddly, a vaguely familiar one.

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Chip in the Battle Axe

Friday, July 27th, 2007

Got the new Vandoren V16 mouthpieces I ordered last week. As advertised, the Alto piece (an A7) is a breeze to play. No problem over the entire range (low Bb to high F). Very encouraging. Doesn’t alter my sound much, but it’s easy to play. The tenor (T7) piece I really can’t evaluate, because I’m having problems with my tenor embouchure. Don’t have time to work on it now, so I’m going to park the tenor for awhile and just work the soprano and alto. Too bad. The tenor was my old battle ax.

Today I thought I’d explain the musical differences from what I used to play versus what I’m trying to play now.

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Tagged!

Friday, July 20th, 2007

I’ve been tagged by Norm, so we interrupt the regularly scheduled post to comply. I think this must a right of passage for bloggers.

But before I begin, I purchased two Vandoren V16 mouthpieces – a T7 (for tenor) and A7M for alto.

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The Sax Project – Take 25

Friday, July 13th, 2007

In taking up the sax again after 25 years, two physical challenges have appeared that I didn’t have to deal with in the past – lack of power and stamina.

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Back From the Dead

Friday, July 6th, 2007

No, I did not die and return from the Great Beyond. Not yet. What I’m referring to is my recent endeavor to revive the art/hobby/skill of playing the saxophone after a 20+ year layoff. I plan to post on this topic for the next several Fridays, and I hope others who may be contemplating a similar revival of their own musical skills find it useful.

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