CHOPS 2 continues the mission to modernize the existing pedagogical materials available for saxophone by providing a thorough collection of pattern work. When I set out to write the first volume of CHOPS, I was looking to reassess and update the fundamentals of every facet of saxophone playing for the advancing student, from basic long tones through advanced articulation and technique. In that first volume, I included updated, “full range,” scales as well as one example of a scale pattern. Here in this second volume, I want to provide a fun, intellectually stimulating, and musically useful course of pattern work for many types of scale formulations.
In this volume, the focus is on a fundamental area that we have all been practicing since we first began the instrument. However, it has been my observation that the way we practice these very rarely develops to the level of the rest of our practice on both an intellectual and a musical level. Even the most advanced students often practice their scales in the same form and manner as their earliest study and focus merely on speed and dexterity as the ONLY goal as opposed to just being one possible goal. While we all understand that scale practice is necessary, what exactly it is you should be accomplishing by practicing them is not always clear. In this volume – using the range of the modern saxophonist – the advancing student will find many new ways to effectively develop their scale practice into a means to develop several fundamental areas at once and connect this practice meaningfully to other fundamentals, etudes, and repertoire.
Working with patterns is hardly a new concept when it comes to the area of woodwind performance. For generations there have been patterns and scale-forms created to work with jazz improvisation and harmonic progressions, develop characteristic technique for certain time periods of music, and also quite plainly to provide some variety for students. However, many of these are not written down or transmitted effectively via demonstration or suggestion. Thus, if there isn’t a tangible bit of material, let alone a course for the student to work from, they become easy to ignore and the student returns to the original scale form they had already learned. Here we have four primary ways to develop a lifetime of enjoying and learning from scale practice
Given the range demands presented here I strongly encourage you to work from the first volume of CHOPS, as that will provide you with a technical basis through all registers. This volume is an extensive collection of patterns designed to keep your scale practice creative, fun, and immediately useful to the rest of your practice. In some cases, you may find it useful to use the music throughout the practice of the pattern, in others you may find it useful to take just the template of the pattern in one key and work through all keys in your head. While the skill of developing the eye – mind – finger connection from working from the page, especially in the highest register, is an extremely useful and necessary one to develop, the mental transference of a pattern through all keys without the page is equally useful. With successful use of this volume, you should feel that BOTH of these areas are developed to an extremely advanced level.