How Consistency in the Practice Room Results in Solid Improvement

A Simple Strategy for Impressive Results

Consistency is key.

At the beginning of 2019 I set a simple goal for myself, upload a quality YouTube video each week of the coming year. I had other side goals in mind like reach 100K subscribers on YouTube, but I didn’t realistically expect that to happen this year. (We are currently at 128K)

I managed to stick to my self imposed schedule and exceed my goal uploading a total of 55 videos that I think are pretty good quality if the 8.3 million views this year are any indication.

I don’t mean to brag, but when you’ve worked hard at something and achieve meaningful results, it’s okay to pause and pat yourself gently on the back.

The strategy I employed to achieve these results is the same one I apply to practicing the saxophone and hope to convey to my students.

It comes down to one word.

Consistency in the Practice Room

Whatever project we are working on is going to have ups and downs. The key to success is working through the rough patches. Meaningful progress is only possible through hard work over a long period of time.

The single most important thing you can do to ensure you reach your goals on the saxophone is to play it every day.

Bad Practice Sessions are the Most Important
Ever notice how a bad practice session is often followed by a good one? The only way to experience that is to not give up after the frustration of feeling like you’re getting worse rather than improving.

The disappointment we feel during a bad practice session is a sure sign of getting better. It’s an indication that you have raised your expectations for yourself and are no longer content with how you played yesterday.

Use this to propel yourself forward. Consistency = Results.

Okay, pep talk over. Let me leave you with the obligatory top ten list.

Top 10 BetterSax Videos 2019 (most viewed playlist)

Half of these are saxophone reviews which are surprisingly popular. Which video of mine was your favorite during 2019? Let me know in the comments section below.

Set Your Goals

I’ve got one more video for you to watch. It is one of my least viewed, but contains some very important advice I think. Unfortunately, the best advice is often of the sort that few people want. For those of you who have read this far, this video is for you.

YouTube video

Interested in more practice tips? Check out “I SUCK! Turning Frustration Into Musical Growth.”

Also be sure to follow BetterSax on Facebook, InstagramLinkedIn, and YouTube to stay up to date with us for news, giveaways, and other saxophone tips and tricks.

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Hal says:

Your advice is really helpful. I was wondering if you might do a video about articulation at fast tempos. I have a fast tongue and the tendency to want to use it a lot but I don’t think I’m hearing a lot of tongue in say a fast Coltrane solo for example. And maybe Parker as well. I think I might be doing that wrong but I’ve never really been coached on that. Keep
Up the good work best regards

Jay Metcalf says:

Good question. Too much tonguing on fast passages will mess everything up I find. It slows you down, and makes the rhythm sloppy. If you listen to players who play fast like Coltrane as you mentioned, they are doing very little tonguing. More air articulations. Best thing you can do is practice fast passages with no tongue at all. Just air and fingers. Listen to great players and emulate their articulations. Some are easier than others.

KAnn says:

My goal is proper breathing technique. I’m a relatively new student and this is my biggest challenge

אבי שוהם says:

Hello Jay! I’m from distant Israel … even here you came …. I wanted to thank you for everything you do! You are a good person!!!
Thanks for the invested videos that every video sees a huge investment !!!
And although I don’t understand English, I understand (at least a little …) the videos, because you make them perfect !!! With body movements and everything else….
And of course I download the worksheets and translate …
Really thanks for everything !!!
(Sorry about this English from Google Translate ….)

Are You Practicing the Right Stuff on Saxophone? – Better Sax says:

[…] Interested in more practice room techniques? Check out “How Consistency in the Practice Room Results in Solid Improvement.” […]

Max Dixon says:

I have been practicing tenor sax steadily about an hour and a half and would practice longer but my lower lip collapses. I have been doing that for a couple of years with no improvement. Do you have any exercises to suggest? I have a Yanigasawa tenor and am using a Jody Jazz 7* black rubber mouthpiece.

Jay Metcalf says:

Good question, try a softer reed first, that will make everything much easier. Watch my video on the short long tone exercise for a nice trick to build strength. You can also try a smaller tip opening in your mouthpiece like a 6.

Too Old to Play the Saxophone? – Better Sax says:

[…] Looking for more inspiration? Check out “How Consistency in the Practice Room Results in Solid Improvement.” […]

"I SUCK" - Turning Frustration Into Musical Growth – Better Sax says:

[…] Interested in more practice tips? Check out “How Consistency in the Practice Room Results in Solid Improvement.” […]



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