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  • This topic has 6 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 2 years ago by Anonymous.
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      This is akin to a drinker who is unaware that he has turned into an alcoholic.

      Sax Rot is a similar condition or mental State that Sax players can very easy slip into without realising it.

      The underlying cause of Sax Rot – is due to lack of “forward planning ie Not Scheduling what you will practice next week” combined with lack of “Failing to Revise the Schedule at the end of each week”. In other words without realising it, you’re doing the same thing every day, and boredom has set in – Sax Rot.

      Here are some classic symptoms to recognise if you are suffering from Sax Rot

      After your daily practice – you feel no genuine improvement.
      You have to force your self to pick up the sax each new day.
      You still make the same mistakes today that you did yesterday and the day before.

      bottom line is thinking ‘oh no, i’ve got to practice today, otherwise i’ll lose my embouchure etc…”


        Good one!


          A few weeks ago i realised i was suffering from Sax Rot, the unmotivated desire not to pick up the sax and practice.

          Light bulb moment – i was routinely doing the same thing for the past few weeks. So i stopped playing the sax for a week. Worked out what the Sax wanted from me – i realised the overall problem – i’ve been practicing the Sax for 8 years now and i still can’t play a music sheet in time. After 8 yrs of practice if i still can’t play a music sheet in time – then i’ll never be able to play music sheets in time.

          I can pickup a music sheet and practice bar by bar and after a few days or weeks i can play the music sheet in time, but that’s the same thing over and over. i want to pickup a new music sheet and play it in time after a few run throughs – not spend weeks inching my way through the music sheet bar by bar like a snail.

          Children’s music sheets, simple tunes like ‘row row your boat..’ i can play them straight off in time. Complex combinations of notes is where the problem lies.

          Now i’ve worked out what i really need to be doing – working through specific time training exercises – it may sound boring repetitive exercises, but it’s the only way to break into those advanced music sheets to make them easier to play.

          Sax Rot is out of the way and i’m picking up the sax with renewed interest


            that’s great. the more tricky syncopated string of notes is the real problem for most of us and that’s what slows you down.
            But, I find that there’s really only a certain number of combinations and so taking these one at a time can slowly help anyone “overcome” this.
            When I used to practice a more advance piece I’s get stuck at several bars so would break them down and take those couple beats that would stop me in my tracks. This method works well within one piece of music because there is always repetition and you find after working out a couple bars thew rest are either the same or very similar.


              Thank John.

              Can you recommend any music books specific to timing exercises.

              I’m currently working through ‘Rubank Elementary Methods for saxophone’
              there are two other books in the series – Intermediate & Advanced.

              Rubank Elementary Method Saxophone (Rubank Educational Library) : Hovey, N W: Amazon: Books


                yes that’s the one I went thru years ago. I didn’t go thru the advanced one, didn’t need it for what I do…it’s got some really crazy music that only the top readers can get thru.
                you’ll be doing great by getting thru this one tho so good on ya!


                  This book works, i’ve done everything up to where it starts on 6/8 timing which is the equivalent of covering grades 1 & 2. With this grounding, i’m going through two other sax books – “Grade by Grade 1 & 2” by ‘Boosey & Hawkes’ – and i’m playing these in time with the backing tracks just after a couple of run throughs.

                  So it just goes to show, if you do the ground work and then only start playing music sheets up to that level of playing – those music sheets become more easy to play after several run throughs, compared to spending a lot longer time working bar by bar.

                  Once i’ve run through the grade 1 & 2 books, i’ll go back to the Elementary Rubanks music book and do the 6/8 stuff which is part of grade 3.

                  So i’m using the Rubanks book for the technique, and then reverting to a relevant backing track grade book – to make sure i can play in time with a backing track. However, it does work better when i’m learning a new sheet, to master it before hand with a metronome, before playing along to a backing track.

                  There’s no cd with the Rubank book, so you have to use a metronome, and i’ve found using the electronic metronome making sure it only clicks on the 1st beat of every bar/measure forces me to play better in time than having the metronome click on the rest of the beats in a bar/measure.

                  I think the major problem i’ve had so far, is playing along to music sheets that i’m not capable of playing ie not technically experienced enough to play sheets of a higher grade. Which is why i was spending a lot of time working bar by bar….

                  Thanks John, your input is valuable. Stay on the right track and don’t get distracted and waste time on pointless exercises.

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