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Here are the first five steps.

Go through these steps in the order they are listed and follow the directions, thanks.

1. Introduce yourself & say hello to other members
2. Check out the video and share how you sounded on day 1
3. Send a song (identify the song and your name in the file, also let me know whether you’re reading the music or not)
4. Listen to and leave a comment (go to this page  Lindeman Critique and leave a comment at the bottom) describing what you see as the purpose of the exercise on the Lindeman video
5. Send recording of Lindeman slowly (identify what it is and your name in the file). Do not use a metronome for this exercise.

Details below:

1. Introduce Yourself on the introductions page https://saxophonetribe.com/saxophone-tribe-introductions/. And email me a photo of yourself to share with the group (photo encouraged, but not absolutely required) .

2. Check out the video and share how you sounded on day 1

(Time required: ~6 minutes)

3. Email me a recording or phone in a recording of you playing a song that you like.  Send to jammin@saxstation.com (use that email address for all recordings you send) Any song!

If you have not already, read the specifications for critiques. You won’t get a harsh critique on this first recording though, just checking in to see what you sound like, might give you a tip or two and then you can move on.

(Time required: ~15 minutes)

Note: let me know what song it is and whether you’re reading it or playing it from memory.  It can be a song from the music section, ‘Play’, Twinkle Twinkle, Loch Lomond, etc or another song that you choose. Label the song file with your name and what it is.

By hearing you play I’ll know much better what you should be working on.  Don’t worry too much about the quality of the recording.

My preference is that you send mp3 files (rather than wave files or another format) Do that if you have a microphone on your computer and a program to record.

There is another option to use a telephone if you don’t have a way to record and send files.   And if you don’t have a microphone on your computer, you can call and leave a voice message with yourself playing!   (831) 406-1468

4. Watch the video about the Lindeman Exercise on the technique page and listen carefully, then watch this critique.  After you have watched both videos, write a three sentence summary of what the Lindeman Exercise is about, what you should focus on while playing it, and what you learned from the critique.  Leave that comment on the critique page.

What is the purpose of it? To hear a few examples of ‘schmutz’ and learn what it is, check out this video.

(Time required: ~10 minutes)

5. After these three steps, send me a recording of yourself (email it) playing the first part of theLindeman exercise slowly and slurred, as shown below.  You’re moving only one finger, all other fingers should stay on the keys.  This might not be something you’re used to.
Do not tongue at any point between the notes.
(Time required: ~15 minutes)

Get through those four steps first, then you’ll get  the level I statue and the next steps.

Step out of your comfort zone (but not too far). 

Here’s why: between what is comfortable and what seems impossible is where you will learn.  Practicing what is comfortable will not help you progress.  Getting to that place where you’re learning could be as simple as slowing down something that seems impossible.

Try the Lindeman Exercise!! 

This will change how you play.

There is music available to work on.

You can download and I have a lot of classical music for you if you need more to practice.

Leave comments on the pages for everything you have try. 

Comments, questions, suggestions.

Let me know if you have questions about anything.


1. Introduce yourself
2. Check out the video and share how you sounded on day 1
2. Send a song
3. Listen to Lindeman video & critique, leave a comment
4. Send recording of Lindeman

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

KT July 22, 2012 at 10:51 pm

I am focusing for now on fingering better and breathe control. Slowing down has helped.

I need to listen to you playing the first four altissimo. I can finger them, but the sound from one to the next is not as different as I thought/think it should be. LISTENING TO YOU IN DIFFERENT TEMPOS HELPS?

I like blues, jazz, and Setzer….I like sax in other genres, too. It is such an emotional instrument, I would like to hear sax outside traditional genres for sax.

QUESTION: how important is reed choice?

I often play without tongue on some phrases. I am just feeling when and where to do let it flow. Is there a way other than sound and gut to know when to do that?

I am happy with the variety of exercises and songs. MY EAR TRAING is my worst aspect of playing. I spend some time listening evert day.


Neal July 25, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Hey Kate,
Slowing down will continue to help, you may even want to slow down more than seems necessary.

At this point, I would say you shouldn’t worry about altissimo yet.

Reed choice is pretty important. Sometimes it’s good to change things. But reeds are also inconsistent, so you want to just keep practicing and you’ll be able to play on more reeds.

Phrasing and tonguing…… depends a lot on the style, so listening helps figure all that out.

I’ll add more ear training to Saxophone Tribe.




KT July 22, 2012 at 11:19 pm

I bought Amazing Grace…..wondered what it would play like on sax…. Because I wrote songs before I knew diddly, about sax, I find I wonder where sax might fit…I love sax and its emotion.


Neal July 25, 2012 at 6:42 pm

One of my favorite versions of that is actually by Victor Wooten (on bass). I think I’ll spend some more time working on it.


KT July 23, 2012 at 10:48 am

Motivating is key for me:
1. Play the music not the instrument; my mantra

2. Spend some of each practice session just freelancing and experimenting

3. Keep the instrument in sight and ready to pick up in a minute…I then play longer and beyond my pre-scheduled practice…ingot a great wall mount and find I just reach for the sax. I got it when I bought my sax…I think it was Locoprassro? It is attractive and artistic adding to decor.

4. I listen to songs that are not focused on sax but incorporate it as well as music that is saxophone based.


Neal July 25, 2012 at 6:44 pm

With #2, that’s part of having fun with the instrument. I like #3 a lot too!


Michael Sojka July 25, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Not having any real musical background, I’ve been having to learn musical theory as well as learning to play the sax.

Today was the first time anyone I know actually heard me practicing and they were shocked at how much I had actually picked up in my few months of learning. I can already play a lot of easier songs like When the Saints, Loch Lomond, Silent Night, and some others.

But I can only play them when reading the sheet music. I want to start working on playing by ear more, but am still finding a lot of inconsistency when practicing long tones. More so on the low end of the scales, and I’m wondering how much of that is the rental sax that I’m using. I am also still trying to play the major scales by heart.

What direction should I be moving now that I can read sheet music and can play most of the notes? I don’t see myself really going as far as playing gigs or with a lot of other people except for a few friends, but I’d like to continue progressing as I’m finding playing to be a great outlet from everything else going on in my life. Thanks Neal.


Neal July 25, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Hey Michael,
My academic background is in physics, so don’t worry about that too much. Have taken a few music classes, but picked up most of it outside the classroom.

Glad you’re progressing. What songs can you play from memory right now?


KT August 4, 2012 at 8:32 pm

I had a harder time with “don’t cry for me Argentina” than usual. I had to listen to several versions and finally pecked it out on piano.. The next version I listened to was a concert version….finally, it looks like I might get down. Knowing the song should not be necessary. Clearly, it helped to have more and more knowledge of the song., including the different takes on where to play softly and when to get into it big.


Neal August 5, 2012 at 9:59 pm

There are a lot of details to learning a song. Sometimes you want to just focus on the rhythm. Then it sounds like you’ve been checking out the dynamics too. A lot more than just getting the notes. Any versions you’re listening to on youtube?


KT September 8, 2012 at 5:00 pm

I listened repeatedly to both Elaine Page and Patti Lupone…stuck with Lupone after several listening sessions. Seems only beginner books have breathe marks.


Gil Ross October 21, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I have completed the 4 steps , I’m working on
my goals, etc.


Neal October 21, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Hey Gil,
Good, keep working on them. Spend some time on St. James and seps 5 and beyond too. Thanks


Neal October 21, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Hey Tim, very cool, glad to hear that. That’s interesting about the group. Yep, playing in a group like that can be a great thing to do to get and play with others. Maybe I’ll write an article about that. How long have you been playing with the Jr. college band?


Neal October 23, 2012 at 1:43 am

Having bad posture will not help your sound, it will only make things harder and can lead to permanent damage. A lot of older saxophonists have a bit of a hunched back, that’s not something I want.

You could run while holding a 40 lb weight, but it would be a lot easier if you didn’t. Usain Bolt might still win in a race against you while holding the weight, but I doubt he would carry it in competition.

Bad posture, flying fingers, etc all slow you down. And most people haven’t spent 60+ years playing saxophone like Sonny Rollins. If you don’t play as well as Sonny Rollins, is there a reason to slow your own progress?


Neal October 23, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Learning anything new will take some attention and if you’re focusing on one thing, you will not be able to focus on other things as well. What we do is build new habits and then we no longer have to think about them.

Within the first weeks of playing, you probably had to think about how to play different notes. Say a D# on the staff. You had to remember what a sharp meant, to put your right pinky down and to include the octave key. Also not to press any keys with your left pinky.

Now, if you see a D#, you just play it even though it involves several things. Just like you can walk and chew gum at the same time. Or drive a car – which involves the gas, break, gears, mirrors, and more.

Same thing with good finger position, posture, etc. They become habits. You can have good habits or bad habits.




Paul Frankland October 24, 2012 at 10:56 am

Hi Neal

Interesting discussion I started regarding posture. You can drive some way in the middle of the road but its a good idea, when learning, to start off in the right lane (Left where I live!) I don’t think correct posture requires immobility. Ballet dancers and sprint runners spring to mind.

Tim is obviously at a level where he is satisfied with his playing and conscious list checking is not necessary. I had hoped I would improve “naturally” – It doesn’t work. On what he calls Overthinking ; I can’t multitask with familiar actions so mixing all the learning techniques at one time requires more thought than I could muster. A more methodical approach seems sensible.

It could be an age thing – I see I listed my goals in the wrong forum. Neal perhaps you could paste me into Taking Action? Thanks


Neal October 24, 2012 at 11:41 am

Hey Paul,
Just moved it to its own page. https://saxophonetribe.com/taking-action/tone-improvement-paul-frankland/

I think Tim has been watching his fingers lately too with the Lindeman.

Working through things methodically definitely helps when you combine things in new ways or refocus on things. Your attention is limited especially when trying things/experimenting.

I might move a few things in this thread around since there is some good discussion, but it’s not all related.




Vijai Anand November 28, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Hi Neal,

The Lindeman Exercise is very helpful for me. I see this a good exercise for someone like me to regain confidence coming back after years. Practising this can improve fingering, breath control, tonguing and also to play with the correct beat and control.



Neal November 28, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Hey Vijai,
Looks like you understand its purpose better now. Thanks


Gil Ross December 4, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Hi Neal, can you send the next session so I can go to the 2nd statue, I believe I have done some of them or maybe all of them, not sure, let me know soon as possible, thanks Gil


Neal December 4, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Hey Gil, just emailed you, your playing is coming along!


Doug K. February 12, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Hi, I purchased my Martin Tenor in December 2012. I am mainly a singer but I have dabbled with the French Horn and Sousaphone back in High School.

I am 46 and retired due to health issues. So the Sax is my way of staying active and focused. I have played the piano by ear in the 80’s but like with the piano and now the Sax, I have a learning disability when it comes to using both hands. Like when I play the G-Major Scale I squeak each time I go from one hands to two (and use the octave key). So when I play the D, I squeak. Another problem is hitting the low C or the Bb.

I have no problem hitting it if I start with other notes, but when I start with the low C, I sometimes get the octave version or a squeak. I cannot figure out what I am doing wrong. Since December I have been self teaching or using online videos to get me started. Now I need to put everything together.

I have yet to learn all the major chords so that is what I have been working on.

And by ear I was able to figure out JOY TO THE WORLD fairly easily in the second week of practice. Therefore I am excited that with the lessons you provide, I should certainly improve. Finally, I learn the fastest watching videos of a person playing and showing me the fingering. Thanks


Neal February 13, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Maybe you can tell us a bit more about singing, that’s something I’m trying to work on a little bit.

That doesn’t sound like a learning disability with your hands, just something you need to work on.

Support the low notes, but don’t try to force them out.


Terry S. May 14, 2013 at 5:38 am

Hi Neal
The Lindeman exercise…..I did not think something that looked so simple could be both so difficult and beneficial, to perfect.
It helps with the “brain to finger” coordination in both accuracy and speed. It lends credence to the old adage that ” that first you get good and then you get fast”. It is teaching me to control and coordinate my breathing with my finger movement.


Mary July 4, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Hi Neil,

Do you have the completed sheet music for skyfall




Neal July 4, 2013 at 3:03 pm

No, sorry. You can either learn it by ear or buy the sheet music.


Hiram N. November 6, 2013 at 9:12 am

I was not aware of the Lindeman exercises. It seems it will help me slow down which is my biggest problem. breathing is the other, and by slowing down when practicing the Lindeman exercises I can control my finger movement and have time to control my breathing. looking forward to learning more.


Y. Rideaux November 12, 2016 at 10:05 pm

Hi, Neal I’m ready to play the Lindeman exercise, but can you clarify the exercise. Do you want us to play all the measures top and bottom four times, and is that repeat sign at the end on both?


Neal November 12, 2016 at 11:00 pm

To practice it, you probably should use the repeat sign. For the recording, four measures (without the repeat sign) is fine. And the version on top (half notes/slow tempo)


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