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Jazz Sax Lessons: Play Your Scales with Me in All Keys: Natural Minor

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On this lesson, we're gonna
work on natural minor scales.
Natural minors are the friendliest
of all minor scales.
You know why?
You probably do know why.
The reason they're so
friendly is because they have
a relative major scale to go with them.
So without even realizing,
if you know your major scales.
Perhaps you realize.
Perhaps you don't.
If you know your major scales,
then you already know it's
relative natural minor scale.
For instance, if you look at our sheet
that you have available to download and
print out, if you haven't already.
If you haven't already, make sure you do.
But take a look at our first
natural minor scale there, C minor.
The key signature is simply,
E flat, three flats.
And so,
it's just starting an E flat Major scale
on the sixth degree of that scale and
going up.
So you can think of two degrees down.
If you're playing the E flat scale
you go down to D and down to C, and
now you're at your starting point for
your related natural minor scale.
So one thing about playing that's true,
I would imagine,
on every instrument,it certainly is
true on the instruments that I play,
is the great ability to have muscle
memory, or finger memory, when you play.
So if you're used to
practicing your major scales,
your fingers are sort of already used
to playing a natural minor scale,
it's just in a different mode, actually.
So let's play some of these, shall we?
As a matter of fact, what the heck,
let's play them all.
Right on.
I'm gonna play with the metronome as usual
and just as on the other scales,
I'm gonna play them on alto.
I'm gonna start up at the top.
If you're playing tenor or
soprano, the B flat instruments,
you want to start on the next one,
on F minor.
So that we can play it together and
play in unison And
then when I reached the end I'll reach
the end one staff after you actually.
You'll get there before me if you're
playing tenure or soprano so loop back up
to the top and play that C minor as I
play my last scale which is G minor.
So here we go.
We're going to start with our
usual Legato articulation.
Repeat each one and off to the next one.
Okay, here we are.
Metronome set at 150.
[SOUND] One, two, a one, two, oomph.
Hang on.
So I stopped at C sharp, if you're playing
tenor or soprano you stopped at F sharp,
so let's change the articulation again.
Let's do something different.
Let's play one staccato, one long,
one staccato, one long, okay?
So I'm coming up with this
articulations as we go.
Intentionally, because you don't want to
prescribe a particular articulation
to any one particular scale.
The point is that you
want to change them up.
You always want to do different things.
It really is amazing.
It still amazes me after
40 plus years of playing,
how much more difficult it is to play
something that you're used to playing with
one articulation when you
change that articulation.
It becomes a whole
different beast to play.
I think it's because when we play,
whether we realize it or not, playing is
about the coordination of our fingers and
the articulation along with your air.
The air plays a big part of that too
because that's what's propelling
all the notes.
By changing up the articulation You're
eliminating all the potential issues
that come up by not being
familiar with a particular
articulation over a particular note,
or a particular combination of notes.
You might for instance might be super
used to going from C sharp to D
over that register break by slurring.
But if you have to
staccato the first note or
staccato the second note,
it might really throw you.
It, very well, would throw you if
you weren't used to doing that.
It seems really simple,
but, kind of you know,
a challenge you to check that out and
see that doesn't play out to be true.
So, I stopped at C sharp, and
if you're playing tenor or soprano,
you stopped at F sharp if
you're playing along with me.
So now, one short, one long.
staccato legato staccato legato Okay?
Okay, here we go.
and one
two one
two mm
hold up.
Okay, so
when you're playing a long note make sure
you hold it full value to the next note.
So, very often if you're playing A
staccato note, and a legato note prior to
it, we tend to clip off the long
note prior to it, just because,
without realizing it, we're preparing
our tongue for that next SHort note.
And in that preparation, we're chopping
off the note prior to it, like this.
So That's a no no.
You want to make sure that every
long note gets its full value.
It's gonna sound way smoother and
it's gonna be intended to.
Okay, we have three more to go.
Let's reverse that articulation.
So now we're gonna play one long,
one short, one long, one short.
One, legato, staccato, legato, staccato.
I stopped on a-minor, and
if you're playing tenor or
soprano you stopped on d-minor.
Okay, three more to go.
Long, short, here we go.
And, one, two, one two go.
All right,
well done.
I can hear you from here.
Sounds great.
Actually, I can really hear
you from here if you send in
a video of what you've done, so
I can play any of these scales, so
I can take a listen to what you're doing.
I can let you know if Perhaps
you think you're playing
those legatos full value, but maybe you're
not and I can point that out to you.
Or I can just give you the two thumbs
up and say way to go keep going.
But that's the whole point of all of this.
The fact that you and
I can communicate together.
Through our video exchanges and
we can be working together practically
as if we're one on one in the same room.
Alright off to the next scale.
Good luck.