Fingering Exercises

  • Taming The Saxophone vol III


  • 110 pages of exercises, patterns, scales, licks etc.  for intermediate to advanced players. Check out the examples in this section

    “Thanks for your Taming the Saxophone book. Lots of great stuff  for both myself and my students – I sure wish I’d had the book fifteen years ago!” – Dan Forshaw

    Taming The Saxophone – a great book, I use it every day to keep the chops in order” – Bobby Wellins

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Warming up, playing faster and playing more creatively

In this section you can see many of the exercises and patterns presented in Taming The Saxophone volume III. We start off with a wonderful daily warmup exercise and then progress through different types of  fingering patterns and licks for jazz, blues and rock playing.

Why is it important to warm up first?

The first series of exercises get your fingers loosened up. Just like an athlete, it is best to stretch your muscles before sprinting. All throughout, I am going to emphasise the importance of playing evenly – many people start to play fast before they can play a an even tempo, which results in sloppy timing. Just as a drummer practises rolls very slowly to begin with to make sure the strokes are even, that is what we need to do on the saxophone.

Even when you have progressed quite a way through the exercises at a good tempo, the warmup exercises are great to get you grounded and focussed.

  • Saxophone Warmup

    Get your Fingers, Mouth and Brain in Gear The first of this series of exercises is one that a great warm up exercise for the saxophone as well as being one of the best exercises for learning harmony. It consists of ... Read more…
  • Dexterity & Technique

    Fingering Exercises for a Fast Playing Technique The next four fingering exercises of this section are based around simple four note triad patterns which take you chromatically through all the keys. These are very useful to gain a good fingering technique ... Read more…
  • Cycle of Fifths

    Before practising these, make sure you are familiar with the theory behind the cycle of fifths. The cycle is an immensely important concept in chord progression based jazz improvisation and crops up in many tunes, whether it’s a simple turnaround ... Read more…
  • 2 5 1 Progressions

    IIm7-V7-I progressions (“2 5 1”) Why is this so important in jazz (and blues)? I’ve already mentioned how the harmony of music can imply a feeling of movement away from or towards a state of rest. This is what can make the ... Read more…
  • Chromatic Scale Exercises

    Free postage UK, half price international! Exercises involving the Chromatic Scale These exercises are all based around the chromatic scale so it’s a good idea to first learn the scale before studying these exercises. Obviously you don’t want to run before you can ... Read more…
  • Studies in 4ths

    Using the interval of a 4th The interval of a 4th is very useful for contemporary styles of jazz improvisation Ex 6.01 As an alternative, instead of stepping up a semitone between each 4th arpeggio as shown here, try using a whole tone. Ex ... Read more…
  • Diminished Patterns and Licks

    The diminished scale can be very useful. When applied to a dominant 7 it includes several nice extensions and chromatic notes: the b9, b10, #11 and 13 and can be used with a plain dominant 7 or one with those ... Read more…
  • Whole Tone Scale Exercises

    Like diminished scales, whole tone scales fit very well over a dominant 7 chord, especially if the chord has an augmented 5th or b13th, though they usually work well even when the chord has a perfect 5th. There are only ... Read more…
  • Alternate Saxophone Fingerings

    When to use alternative fingerings When it would be too difficult to use a regular fingering, use the alternative. This often applies to trills but also to different scales and interval jumps. We show some examples below of musical passages, but ... Read more…
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