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Home Alt Forums Your Video White Christmas Embelishments Course

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      At last, finally some more activity in this forum. Great to hear what people are working on. My only advice, passed onto me by a pro – don’t start playing a piece of music with embellishments until you can play it properly, otherwise you could make learning the new piece a lot harder.


        I take the pro’s advice sxpoet within reason,but as a teacher I would advocate that you always learn the most when learning on the edge of your ability. It also adds to your sense of achievement and enthusiasm. The embelishments course has given me the basis to try something new, otherwise I don’t think I’d be playing White Christmas.


          Well the Pro i use, teaches the sax, produced a couple of music books, and play gigs every week, and been a band leader in many bands, and played in a lot of bands etc.. his advice on many things has fallen on my deaf ears.

          It was aimed at me when i struggling to play a new tune that wasn’t easy to play, and i wanted to embellish parts of it straight away – the end result was, Stop embellishing parts of it, first of all focus on playing it correctly. When you can do that, then start trying out the embellishments as i can see you are making it harder for yourself to play the whole tune – advice aimed at a beginner.

          Also, other advice passed on to me, similar to your comment, try and learn songs that are just slightly beyond your capability. In otherwords your progress will be a lot slower if you only practice the sames tunes in your comfort zone.

          As for white christmas – as in most other tunes, before playing them, you need to listen to them, and work out what mood or setting white christmas is played in. For me i always imagine, on christmas eve, when the kids are in bed, i’m sitting by the fireside next to the christmas tree, with the lights down low, glass of wine in my hand, then i raise a toast to absent friends.
          So for me, in that situation i wouldn’t find too many embellishments to be appropriate.

          But saying that horses for courses. If you are just practicing embellishments, practice them with every song regardless of being appropriate to the songs – you’ll gain experience in playing embellishments and also gain experience in feeling where embellishments may or maynot work in a song.

          good luck

          Martin Pavíček

            sxpoet has overtaken me – I am removing my comment 🙂


              Haha…..actually I agree, but I occasionally suffer from impatience and in this case over-enthusiasm. I think Johnny chose White Christmas because it’s slow and more manageable for the embellishments…..a bit like a Christmas Tree. But I still find it difficult to be feel Christmassy in a hot country and even more so in October.


                yes of course, as I said in the intro video for all this: MAKE SURE YOU LEARN IT REALLY REALLY WELL!
                and the song is just the vehicle here for demonstrating these few embellishments. again, as I said in the video:
                we’re using White Christmas because it’s very easy to play and even the beginners will have a chance at this.

                the ultimate goal after learning to play these things is to successfully add the in to new songs but for now,
                you don’t need to worry about that cause in this version I have notated all of them with their proper symbols…
                one step at a time, that’s the way to do it!

                also, many people are downloading all sorts of Christmas songs already so I just wanted to give everyone a freebie to
                initiate the season.

                Roger Kass

                  Johnny, Apparently I am a little late to the game, but I cannot find the lessons or music. Is it still available?



                    yes Roger you can still get it.
                    did you get the email? if you are registered then you should have gotten it.
                    the link is there.


                      I have only been playing alto for 2 years and am so glad you decided to offer this course on embellishments!
                      Just finished playing the first embellishments with grace notes and mordants……so easy the way you explain the exercises! It feels great to be able to play the way I hear more experienced sax players playing..
                      Looking forward to future exercises.
                      Thanks again
                      Mike Florio


                        great Mike very glad to hear that. there are more on the way! I’ll be sending another email when next one is ready in a day or 2 so keep practicing those first ones.

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