Charlie Parker: A Closer Look
Nathan Hassall
by nathanhassall
4y ago
Analysing Charlie Parker’s Solo on “Au Privave” The Legendary Charlie Parker, Photo Credit: William P Gottlieb It’s recently been the 100th birthday of the legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker. Most musicians, and jazz enthusiasts know that he was (and still is) a huge influence on the music, but don’t necessarily understand why. I therefore decided to not only post a transcription of one of his solos, but take a closer look at what he actually plays so we can try and understand his genius (even if it’s just a little bit)! The Melody The tune “Au Privave” is a 12 bar blues with a fairly typica ..read more
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What To Practise: Transcription II
Nathan Hassall
by nathanhassall
4y ago
Sonny Stitt’s Solo On “Elora” (Take 2) by J. J. Johnson Sonny Stitt in 1971. Photo Credit: JPRoche This is how I discovered the music of the great jazz saxophonist Sonny Stitt… When I was fresh out of the Royal College, very young, and so very naive I arranged to have a sax lesson with the legendary American saxophonist Bob Mintzer whilst he was over in the UK on tour with his band the “Yellow Jackets”. Back then I was still finding my feet with my jazz playing and if I think back to that lesson it makes me shudder! What on earth was I thinking?! Anyway, Bob was very kind to me in that lesson ..read more
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August Special Offer!
Nathan Hassall
by nathanhassall
4y ago
Take saxophone lessons with Nathan! Professor of Saxophone at London College of Music10% Off Blocks of 10 Lessons Booked In August 2020! I’m offering a 10% discount for any student who books and starts a block of 10 lessons in August 2020. That’s up to a £40 saving if taking 60 min lessons, or basically you’ll be receiving one lesson free! The summer holidays are upon us and yet with most of us staying at home, there couldn’t be a better time to take up a new hobby, or get cracking on your new goal for your saxophone playing. It’s been thrilling to see just how popular learning the saxophone h ..read more
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What To Practise: Transcription
Nathan Hassall
by nathanhassall
4y ago
Dexter Gordon’s Solo on “Blue Bossa” by Kenny Dorham Dexter Gordon in Amsterdam. Photo Credit: Albert Kok Dexter Gordon is undoubtedly one of the all time great jazz tenor saxophonists. His performing and recording career spanned some 40+ years, winning a Grammy, and even earning an Oscar nomination in the Best Lead Actor category for his role in the 1986 film “Round Midnight”. From a learning perspective his solos can be a dream to transcribe thanks to their clarity, therefore making them ideal for the intermediate player. Dexter’s phrasing, use of space, and sense of time often give his play ..read more
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How Can I Improve My Saxophone Technique?
Nathan Hassall
by nathanhassall
4y ago
Working on exercises and etudes can be a great way to improve your technique! Having a good technique on the saxophone is vital in so many ways whether we play in a jazz, pop or classical context. For example, when we improvise a jazz solo we want the freedom to express what we want to say through the saxophone at that very moment. It’s having command of our instrument that allows us to do this. I’ll therefore try and answer how you can improve your saxophone technique in this article below with some useful tips and advice. So, you want a good technique? These are the things you should be prac ..read more
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How To Add Licks Into Solos
Nathan Hassall
by nathanhassall
4y ago
In this post I’m going to go over the key area of how to add licks to your jazz solos. It’s a vital way to start building your jazz vocabulary when improvising, plus it’s great ear training too! I’m using my “Top 5 Bebop Licks” introduced in one of my earlier posts. Please check that out or just grab the PDF download from the resources section below. The licks are all in the sax friendly key of C major and therefore should fall nicely under the fingers. As you’ll have seen from the PDF they all fit over the II – V – I chord progression. This sequence is the main building block of functional ha ..read more
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Online Music Lessons
Nathan Hassall
by nathanhassall
4y ago
Nathan’s Online Music Lessons Set-up! With the Coronavirus, Covid-19 currently bring life as we know it to a standstill I thought it would be a good time to write a post focusing on teaching music lessons online. Having music lessons of any any nature online is nothing new. With the development of broadband and platforms such Skype people have taken music lessons via the internet for years. If you think about it there are some serious benefits to having online lessons. Arguably the biggest one is that you can take saxophone lessons with whoever you want to as there are no physical requirements ..read more
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Which Saxophone Is Best For Me?
Nathan Hassall
by nathanhassall
4y ago
Nathan performing on his Selmer MKVI Alto SaxophoneAre you new to the sax? Unsure of which saxophone you should be learning on? I’m here to help… The short answer is I always recommend that people start learning on an Alto Saxophone. “Why?” you might ask… So, as you might have gathered I’ve been teaching for quite a few years now and during that time I have literally taught hundreds of saxophone students. I’ve taught complete beginners (both adults and children) right the way through to advanced level students studying for their performance based degrees at the London College of Music. I’ve se ..read more
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An Introduction to the Saxophone Quartet
Nathan Hassall
by nathanhassall
4y ago
The Java Saxophone Quartet, performing in 2018 Ensemble playing of any nature is one of the great joys of music making. There is something uniquely special about working as a collective whole to create something of beauty (or, something that swings your socks off!) in the concert environment, or just for fun! The saxophone quartet is arguably the most similar ensemble to that of a string quartet, with it’s blendable combination of soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones. However, it is an ensemble that is often wrongly overlooked by classical music composers and enthusiasts. There is an a ..read more
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5 Top Tips for Beginner Saxophonists
Nathan Hassall
by nathanhassall
4y ago
The Yamaha YAS-280 – arguably the best beginner level saxophone available to buy!! There is an absolutely crazy amount of content out there for online saxophone lessons aimed at beginners, but from a lot of the videos I’ve seen they either get the basics wrong or they don’t explain things particularly well. I thought I’d therefore do a post providing some useful tips aimed at beginner saxophonists. That way you can get off to the best of starts!! 1. Get yourself a decent entry level saxophone I know this sounds expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be tempting to purchase a sax you’ve f ..read more
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