There Is No Such Thing As A Wrong Note
There. I’ve said it. And I strongly and firmly believe it. Saxophone wrong notes do not exist.
There Is No Such Thing As A Wrong Note
Ok. I do believe that there could arguably be some different choices with the notes you play on your saxophone at any one point in time, but ultimately it doesn’t really matter what notes you play.
Wrong saxophone notes are just notes.
Learning how to play the saxophone is a process that should be, and is, fun. It should be a source of joy, of relaxation, of wonder. It should come with a sense of achievement and accomplishment.
When you are going out of your way to learn a musical instrument, no matter how old you are or what stage of life you are at, you will make “mistakes”. You will, arguably and perhaps technically, play “wrong” notes.
Most songs were not written with squeaks or honks, or confused pauses built in. Most songs actually have a specifically designed sequence of notes that cause that particular song to be recognisable.
So, while one of your goals could perhaps be to aim to get that specific sequence of notes under your fingers, it should not be the only goal.
Another goal with your saxophone playing could be to just play. Play the songs that you like. Play the style or genre of music that you like. Don’t play the songs that you don’t like !!
I have a one-on-one saxophone student, a woman in her late 20’s / early 30’s who is getting married in a few months time. She wants to play a particular song, her and her fiances special song, on their wedding day. Her fiancé does not know that she is learning how to play the saxophone specifically for their wedding day.
How awesome is that ?!?
She has never played a musical instrument in her life until a couple of months ago.
Her goal is to play. Yes, she obviously wants her song to be recognisable – and it will be. She is doing really well.
But, along the way there have been and probably still will be more notes that she is playing that may or may not have been what the composer of her song originally intended.
Will her marriage break down if she plays a wrong note ? I don’t think so !! Will the world end ? Nope. Will she and her future husband remember her efforts for the rest of their lives ? Most certainly !!!!!
I had another student a year or two ago – a man in his very late 40’s who wanted to play the saxophone with his mates in a band for his 50th birthday party. So, he set about learning a few riffs and lines and little solo parts for a couple of songs for the big event. His mates encouraged and helped him.
The big night came and was a great success. He blew them all away. He was soooooo pleased and happy with how it all went. Yes, he arguably played a couple of notes during the evenings festivities that he perhaps wasn’t necessarily aiming for – but no one noticed, nor cared. All everyone who was at the party knew was that there was a band and the birthday boy was having an awesome time joining in.
He told me afterwards that all his party guests kept coming up to him and were saying, “I didn’t know that you could play the saxophone !”
He was over the moon.
His saxophone wrong notes did not enter into the equation.
Playing the saxophone involves a certain degree of confidence.
But that confidence is a small and personal thought process. Being alone in your bedroom or lounge room while you practice actually requires very little confidence.
From there, nothing else matters. Especially saxophone wrong notes.
Say no to saxophone perfectionism. Your friends, your family, your audience and those around you will love you and support you. Sure, some may support you more if you close the door and not play your saxophone at 3 in the morning, but that’s ok too !
Playing your saxophone will involve different/accidental notes than perhaps you were aiming for.
And that’s ok.
Please don’t stress about alleged wrong notes. Don’t beat yourself up if the notes you want to play on your saxophone are not as forthcoming as you may instantly wish them to be.
Just recognise this as a fact of life – just like rain.
Rain can be seen as a soggy and wet inconvenience that may ruin the picnic in the park you had planned.
However, rain also nourishes the soil and makes the flowers grow.
So too does playing your saxophone. The more you play, the more you will have fun.
The more you have fun, the more you will play.
And therefore, by definition, you will be more awesome than you already are.
Then it’s simply a matter of repeating the whole process.
Keep going ! Keep playing your saxophone 🙂
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