A Practice Approach Used By Pros!



Here’s the Story:

This week a student came to their lesson and attempted to play a scale for me. It was one of the more difficult major scales, but it’s just pushing buttons, right? 😉 Long story short, he couldn’t play it. Should a student be able to play difficult scales after 1 week? Absolutely! The scale was not the issue, the problem was the method of practicing.

This Takes too Long!

This is what some students say when they try methods of practicing taught and used by professional musicians (By the way, Pros already know many scales but we continue to use these principals when learning new material). Want the method for learning your scales faster? Click here! Yes, there is a lot of repetition, but it works!

Back to “this takes too long.” When a student can’t play a scale after 1 week (when they are able to practice every day) I ask them if they used the method I shared with them. Usually the answer is no. “Why didn’t you use the method?” I ask. They often respond with, “it takes too long”.  This is when I help them gain a perspective on “long”.

1 Week vs 2 Months

Sometimes a student will continue to practice their own way- which can be a much slower process. A few weeks later I ask the student if they’ve been using the method we discussed. If the answer is “no”,  then I ask the student what is holding them back. They respond with something like, “it takes too long.” I then ask, “what’s longer, 1 week or 2 months?” Of course they know the answer, but this helps them grasp the situation. Here are some other questions I ask:

  • Would you rather learn the scale in 1 week or 2 months?
  • Which approach is actually longer?
  • Which one requires more patience?

The answer is the 2 month approach. Of course we don’t want this approach to continue, so we need to change how we practice. If we practice like we did in the past, even if we have a new teacher, we will get similar results. Want better results? Change your method of practicing to increase how quickly you learn.

Why Not?

So why not practice the shorter way? You could have all your major scales in a cool, calm, 3 months. Even if you don’t rush it, you’ll still learn quickly in comparison to less effective approaches. Here’s what I share with my students at the end of this little speech.

If you want better results from your practicing, then follow the approach we have discussed. It may feel like it’s taking longer, but you’ll soon see results. When you see results, it’s easier to make the choice to practice and it’s more fun! Just think, every time you sit down to practice you’ll get better. This will change your attitude and approach to practicing.

So try this approach and accelerate how fast you progress on the saxophone! Click here to be taken to the blog post that shares this method. Scales are about to become easier!


What method of learning scales do you use? Does it work well?

If you liked this post please feel free to “Like” and share this post. Thanks for assisting in getting the word out!

Have a great week of practicing and performing!


Comments 4

  1. Hi early I think your posts are too wordy -if you could just “get to the point” it would be more helpful.

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  2. I feel your information is very valuable – Maybe I’m just one that wants the basics and not a long story leading up to it and perhaps that’s very helpful for some and just doesn’t work as well for me…keep up the good work. You ARE a good teacher , your material is first rate -i did not mean to Infer otherwise in my previous comment.

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      Thank you Peter, and I appreciate the feedback and the compliment. If you find the blog info not in depth enough, then the lessons may be a good fit. They provide the exercises and content designed to help you progress on the saxophone. Thanks again, and please feel free to reach out if you have further questions.

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