I’m currently working on saxophone solo of Sonata #3 by G. F. Handel. I’m scheduled to perform special music at church on Feb. 8, 2003. The first item on the agenda was to start on the solo portion of the piece and then work with the accompaniment afterwards. With the aid of a computer, I entered the solo in a music program called “Music Write.” Then, I had it played back to get familiar with the notes and rhythm of the song. Sounds like cheating? Not really. I think it’s a great tool for any amateur musician.
The next step was to work on the accompaniment. I had two options. The first option was to have a piano player accompany me. The second option was to have a “taped” accompaniment. I went with the second option because it was difficult to get together with pianists at church. Using the same computer software, I entered the piano accompaniment in the music program. The output was then recorded to a minidisc player. This recording allowed me to practice the solo portion with the “taped” accompaniment over and over again. One advantage that minidisc players have over cassette players is that they spin much more consistently and accurately throughout the whole the whole disc, allowing a saxophone or any instrument to be in tune to the music over the entire disc.
Then comes the hard part that most people do not realize; practice, practice, and practice. I can’t overemphasize the need for practice. As they say, practice makes perfect. Some people like it and some people don’t. It’s important that you enjoy what you are doing. If you do, it makes practice much more fun. The key to practicing a song is to play it over and over again in its entireity without stopping or without any interruptions. You accomplish two things by doing this. First, you will quickly get familiar with the song which allows you to gracefully recover when you make mistakes, and believe me, you will make mistakes. Second, you will learn the more difficult areas of the song that you need to focus in to make your performance as flawless as possible.
The performance. Playing special music in front of 150 people at church I think is nerve racking. This is not the first time I have performed in front of people. I have played in jazz bands in college at times performing in front of the whole student body and faculty. I also have done solo work in major dances in college and other Jazz events over the years. One thing is for sure, I still get nervous. I’m going to nervous when Feb. 8 comes around. But, I think I’m up for the challenge. Maybe, I’ll sneak in a few more practices here and there. 🙂