Home Alt Forums Daily Practice Routine #1 daily practice – timing practice


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    had my 1st weekly sax lesson this year (lessons were put hold due to house decorating)

    After 2yrs of working with 1 2 3 4 or 1& 2& 3& 4& or 1E&A 2E&A etc..
    due to tempo’s getting faster in the sheet music department and sheet music having more mixtures of 1/4, 1/2, 1/8, 1/16 … notes, my teacher now wants me to stop counting all together – reckons my brain cant process the timings to keep up with the faster tempos, and more complex mixture of note timings.

    So now i’ve got a new xtra 10 min routine to add to my bulging daily practice routine.

    Using a metronome (as always – like licking marmite)
    for 1/4 notes instead of counting “1 2 3 4” in 4/4 time, i now have to
    mentally say “ta ta ta ta” instead
    for 1/8 notes instead of counting “1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &” in 4/4 time, i now
    have to mentally say “tat tat tat tat tat tat tat tat” instead

    is doesn’t have to be those exect words, you could use da da dat dat
    or ta ti ta ti etc.. but just don’t use numbers.

    The general idea, is when you see the complex notes coming up you then know how to blow the times in the various patterns they present themselves, instead of keeping track of counting. There are cases were you still need to count eg – if you have to stay silent for several bars.

    though i’d share that – as this year i intend to make a more concerted effort to get my timing improved.

    If anyone has any other tips – that would be useful.


    That is an interesting suggestion. I have always had difficulty in counting especially when there are 1/16 notes or faster and have generally opted to play by ear. If I am ever going to get better I am going to have to learn to count better/more accurately. It has been the goal of my practice this past week also, so I will have to try your idea. Thanks for posting.


    for four 1/16 notes which is the same time as one 1/4 note – you can say the word ‘alligator’ very quickly

    1/16 2/16 3/16 4/16
    Al-Li-Ga-Tor as fast as you can, hitting the 1/16 notes on A, L, G & T

    when you started getting into these fast tempos going above 96 & higher, timing is really hard to count in your head.


    i hope this is going to help me when i tackle yakiti yak
    ta ta ta tat tat tat-a tat-a tat tat – well not quite like that but you get my drift,
    so in the back of my head i hope to hum something like that to keep time than counting…


    If you mean Yakity Sax then yes…actually that’s a great tune to practice this note reading stuff with cause everyone knows that melody and therefor it can help you to see just how those groups of 8th’s and 16’s should go.

    wayne wojnarowski

    I’m from the school of counting but in reality your time comes from you internally, after a lifetime of practicing Sx poet I was taught counting the notes as you first said 1 2 3 4 . I don’t think saying TA TA TA TA will help you know where you are in the song , but you know what after practicing and playing for some time I still make mistakes, I think it keeps you on your toes , but really when I play drums that internal clock thing is a very good thing to have.

    wayne wojnarowski

    SX poet for 16’th’s try 1 e an ah 2 e an ah 3 e an a h 4 e an ah it flows better , I think?

    wayne wojnarowski

    How are you going to know the value of those complex notes if your saying TA TA TA , as you well know notes have value 4 3 2 1 1/2 1/4/ 1/8/ 1/16 . My 2 cents is you have to internalize those note values so they come naturally to you . through practicing if you see a bunch of complex notes coming up you aren’t going to know how to play them by thinking
    TA TA , DA DA or DAT DAT sx poet stick with counting the values of the notes ,come on you know if this were so easy we would all sound like Johnnie right?

    wayne wojnarowski

    Sorry for being so wordy but sx poet if the notes are getting to fast maybe you should slow down.


    i was just scratching the surface, of the stuff, when i start getting into different combinations like dotted 1/4 note 1/8 note combinations etc theres various other wordings – this is where the counting starts to fall apart mentally for me.

    Lots of sheet music – if scan them you can identify lots of repeated note patterns – so if you like doing it this way you can skim ahead while playing and know automatically the sound/rhytmn pattern.

    I wouldn’t advise anyone to move away from counting when they start out, but at some later stage – if you play a lot of repeated stuff you start to know the sound patterns of note combination types and gradually drop a lot of the counting to give you more freedom in playing

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