andy in action IV

(c) uta großkopf | photosphaere.org

Welcome to my very personal “Sax-Workout”! Here you’ll learn about the way I teach,  practise and play saxophone, flute and didgeridoo. It is not a very new or that unique idea, but it’s my way!

Graduating from music conservatory, I was a walking encyclopedia in music-theory, arranging-techniques but was also able to play that stuff I learned plus all kinds of musical styles, techniques… If you want to be a pro in music you got have these chops for sure. But by that time it didn’t inspire me any more. I had the feeling to be in at a dead end road.

– Today I’m practising the above mentioned stuff from time to time. –

That was the time when I got back to my roots and started again by improvising from scratch!       That is: I didn’t mind about chords and chord progressions, about scales etc. I trusted my instincts and just played by ear. That is exactly what I find most suitable for any student just starting off playing the saxophone and those saxophonists with some experience wanting to start improvising. Most people think you have to know everything about music theory first and be a very skillful player in your instrument to be able to improvise. That’s totally wrong! Anyone can play and improvise. And by improvising from day one you will be a better and more versatile player in a shorter period of time plus you will never forget to play music! No matter how virtuos you will be on your horn.

What really had a huge impact on my way to play (physically and mentally) was when I started to practise TaiChi and QiGong. Since day one being an absolute beginner in this form of the martial arts, I try to shift the inner composure and the position to my playing and practising.

After practising TaiChi and QiGong nearly every day for about five years now, I focus strongly on the physical aspects of TaiChi when teaching saxophone, flute or didgeridoo or doing workshops.

I experienced not to need that much energy when playing my horn, since I do TaiChi on a daily schedule. As all martial arts emphasize: the energetic centre of the body is about two inches down the navel. So that’s exactly where a windplayer’s supposed to center the air when breathing!

For me it is very important to have a good feeling of my body with my feet on solid ground. That’s when I feel cool enough and comfortable and ready to play. I’m able to breath freely and deeply. And that’s what I want for my students and other players coming to my workshops as well.

When I have really lots of time to practise (that is seldom enough) I do TaiChi & QiGong for about 20 to 30 minutes before I take the horn in my hands. Maybe it’s just my imagination but I think playing scales, arpeggios, songs and improvisations is much more easy!