Off Rhythm: And How to Cure It
As a saxophone player, could your timing and rhythm improve at all? Do you ever get lost? Feel handcuffed to sheet music? Would developing great rhythm help you express yourself and feel more free on the saxophone?
“When familiar with a song, I can play along, when not I’m lost.”
-Sam (part of Saxophone Tribe)
If you play the wrong note, it’s slightly bad. It becomes worse if that mistake causes you to panic and lose your place.
If you play a ‘right’ note in the wrong place, it’s no longer right and can be very bad.
As you develop a great sense of rhythm, everything you play sounds better and you get closer to mastering music and becoming an amazing saxophone player. Cannonball Adderley and many other great sax players could hold the rhythm just as well as drummers.
In music, you can hear:
Three main categories- notes, rhythm, and tone.
Of those three, rhythm is the most important. Rhythm includes articulation, phrasing, and phrasing. Rhythm affects emotions and is related to technique.
Rhythm is most fundamental.
You want a great tone and you want to understand harmony, but without any rhythm….. you should probably put down the saxophone.
Fortunately, you can develop a sense of rhythm. This involves breaking thing down and slowing down, among other things.
Sax Station breaks down music into pieces you can absorb and master.
I talk about saxophone groove on the site since I think it matters more if the music feels good than if you play the ‘right’ note. And the note is only wrong if it disrupts the flow and messes up your playing. If you use a ‘wrong’ note as a passing tone, it sounds good and gives some color to what you play.
Other saxophone teachers often focus on scales, harmony, and notes. You’ll learn some about those things on here, but we’ll also get more into rhythms, tone, articulation, articulation, feel, and more.
What’s the catch?
You’ll find a lot of free lessons (hundreds) on Sax Station. More recently, a growing number of video lessons. I have learned many things over years of playing and I share much of it. There are also paid classes and a program called Saxophone Tribe.
Sign up to get access to some exclusive sax lessons and find out when new lessons are made.
You can go through the free lessons and ask some questions, but if you want feedback on your playing and more direction on progressing and sounding better, check out the classes and Saxophone Tribe.
An Example of Improving Rhythm
Check out this progression where a student from Saxophone Tribe improves the rhythm, articulation, and phrasing of a melody.
If you look at the waveform of a recoding, you can see the rhythm.
First, rhythms are completely off
Quarter note played, where there should be two eighth notes
Next,that was fixed.
But eighth notes are uneven and half notes are not held long enough.
Much better, but a couple things still off
Some notes made more even, durations of notes still not consistent.
Breathing in the wrong place throws everything off
Breathing should be done not to interrupt phrases.
That’s more like it!
To learn more, click the link and follow the directions. Entering your name and email will get you the music that was played in the diagrams above and a detailed breakdown in a report. After that, filling out the survey will get you access (with a password) to a video lesson on this song.
And after that you will find out about more steps.
Or consider joining Saxophone Tribe to jump in right away: