>>Steps 6 – 10

Good job on making it past the first steps. Continue here after you have finished steps 1-4.

Continuing on…..

Steps 6-10:

6. Go to the Tribe Recordings page, listen to one recording and leave a comment with something you liked about the recording.
7. Watch Lindeman critiques for the new exercise and leave a comment
8. Learn St James First Phrase as written (St James, music, right click and save as) (St_James_Neal_tenor_saxophone_tribe, mp3, right click and save as)
(St_James_Neal_alto_saxophone_tribe, mp3 right click and save as)
9. Submit your recording of the first phrase of St James
10. Submit your recording of the two bars (B to C and C to D) of Lindeman

You will get feedback. With St James, it’s a short part of the song, so you should get the rhythm correct before moving on. With the Lindeman, I will tell you if you’re approaching it at a good speed and tell you how accurately your fingers are moving together. The transitions, especially between certain notes, are difficult.

With improvement on the Lindeman, you can move forward to more material. Ideally, you clean it up for the most part. But there may still be some slight problems between these transitions even after years. Not something to spend too much time on. They are a good thing to be aware of and continue improving.


Keep it up!


There is information about working through the steps on this page and then the steps themselves are listed again at the bottom.
The next steps, will require more like a minimum of a week.

The Lindeman is something to add into your practice schedule and work on every day.

Five minutes each day should be enough, more than that will not be terribly entertaining.

It helps you develop the control that will make you play saxophone better.

You should be practicing songs and other things.


Steps 6 -10

6. Go to the Tribe Recordings page, listen to one recording and leave a comment with something you liked about the recording.
7. Watch Lindeman critique and leave a comment
8. Work on the first phrase of St James Infirmary:
a. Watch and listen to this critique I did of the tune: https://saxophonetribe.com/critiques/st-james-infirmary-critique/
b. Review downbeats and upbeats if you need to, https://saxophonetribe.com/downbeat-vs-upbeat/
c. Check out the lesson on subdivision, https://saxophonetribe.com/rhythm-and-timing/st-james-subdivision/
c. Another tool that can help is the metronome, set it slow enough that it is comfortable to play the rhythms accurately. Be aware of upbeats and downbeats.
d. If you have not already, read the specifications for critiques.
9. Submit the first phrase of St James (identify your recordings with what they are and your name in the file)

St. James, the first phrase, may also require a few days of practice and several courses of revisions. You can see that in the critiques, it often did not start off perfectly. Starting on an upbeat is possibly something you’re not used to. And not rushing is very important.

10. Submit recording of two bars (B to C and C to D) of Lindeman.

If these steps take longer than a week, that is fine. Feel free to ask questions about any parts and I’m working on adding review material that will make these steps more manageable for everyone.

More details

7. Listen to Audio & Watch these two critiques

Here are two recordings of B to C and C to D, recorded on tenor. The technique of playing these notes will be the same on another saxophone since you’re using the same fingerings.

B to C, B_C_tenor_Lindeman (mp3, right click and save)



C to D,  C_D_tenor_Lindeman (mp3, right click and save)




And look at the diagrams below.

Then leave a comment on this page about what might be challenging with the next parts of the Lindeman.

(Time required: ~10 minutes)

Why Practice Lindeman? A quick note from Neal:

As you practice the Lindeman, play it slowly and piece by piece. You can play four notes and then breathe. The idea isn’t to play all sixteen notes in one breath, I discourage that actually. It’s to play slowly and develop control and make the transitions work better between notes. This will give you better rhythm, tone, intonation, and more.

It will help you become a better saxophone player since these transitions are the things that what we play is built of. The movement between notes.

After that, work on the first through fourth lines of the Lindeman.  The last two measures in the fourth line, B to C and C to D will likely be the most difficult.  Play these slowly!  Send me the recordings of those two measures, B to C and C to D (only).

(Time required: ~5 minutes each day for three days)

These exercises are originally written as sixteenth notes, but think of it as slow quarter notes as you did before.  After you develop more control, you will be playing these exercises faster.

Work on it for five minutes each day.  Do that for a week.  And plan on adding this to your warmup, it will develop a lot of control which will make your sound much better and give you the ability to play everything better.  Technique helps set up a solid foundation for everything else.  And we start with the fingers.


Do not play this quickly!  Sam Munn played the first Lindeman exercise pretty evenly.  Then he sped up on the third and fourth lines.  This is the first bar on tenor, mp3.

Here’s what it looks like:

Compare the lengths of the red arrows to the lengths of the blue arrows.

Other students have done the same thing initially.

Three other things that you should watch out for:

1. Schmutz in between the notes.  Especially from B to C.  A third note in between the two notes you are playing.  This happens when your fingers are moving at different speeds.  If you hear this, try and figure out which fingers are moving faster or slower and make everything more even.  Slowing down can help you figure out what is going wrong.

It looks like this, the third note is pictured circled in red:

2. Space in between the notes- this exercise should have the notes transition as smoothly as possible between each other.  Certain transitions happen more naturally, but you can work on the transitions that seem more awkward and make them better.  Again, slowing down will help with this.  This tends to happen most between C and D.

3. An abrupt volume change between C and D. When you play D, your volume may increase a lot automatically, try moving your fingers with less force since that force seems to correspond to a large increase in volume and that’s not necessarily very musical.

If you played from C to D in a melody, the D shouldn’t necessarily be twice as loud as the C.


8. Learn the first phrase of St James Infirmary at a slow tempo.

Start with just the first phrase, I want to hear a recording of that alone before you record the entire song. (Don’t send the entire song before I say the first phrase is ready!)

Play this as it is written.

If the low notes are difficult for you, you may play it up an octave, like this:


For St James start with playing like I did. I kept it fairly simple on purpose. Trying to keep the articulation smooth, no abrupt transitions.

Listening to the Louis Armstrong version will be better later when you’re adding in more of you own style and want some ideas on how to change things.

If you listen to the Louis Armstrong version at the bottom of this page it starts off a little differently, but the beginning of this written music is fairly close to how he plays it at 1:04 in that version.

(Time required: ~10 minutes/day for four days)

Basically you want to be able to play it as written first and then add in your own style later, you should be able to play music as written because that’s going to be important in some situations.  Say you’re playing in a saxophone section with four other saxophones, if all five saxophone players are interpreting the music differently, it’s going to sound muddy and sloppy.

I recorded St. James at 66 bpm.  I suggest you start there or slower.

Music and recordings on alto/tenor

You can get the sheet music and my recording on this page: St_James_Saxophone_Tribe_revised (PDF, right click and save as)

Slow St James recording alto (mp3, right lick and save)

Slow St James recording tenor (mp3, right lick and save)

Use a metronome with it if you would like, that can help keep your rhythm more even. It’s not something you would use if you perform, but it’s a good tool for practicing. At the end of the repeat there is a set of parentheses over the final notes, you play that part the first time, not the second time. I may rewrite the music soon.

After you have recorded yourself, listen to it.

Then watch and listen to this critique I did of the tune: https://saxophonetribe.com/critiques/st-james-infirmary-critique/

Leave a comment on this page about where you might have played it differently.

There are a few things that I seem to see consistently.

Two Common Mistakes:

1. Not starting in the right place. This melody starts on the upbeat of 3!

2. Not holding notes for their proper durations.  A quarter note is twice the duration of an eighth note, a half is twice as long as a quarter.  Be careful to give the first note, a quarter note, the full value.  It is twice as long as an eighth note.  Also hold the half note for its full value.  Those are a couple of things that tend to be overlooked.

Another mistake may be not not breath in the right places, try to figure out where phrases begin and end, you can ask me if you’re unsure. Here is the first phrase, the next phrase begins after this with two eighth notes.

The diagram below shows an early recording by Ted, and the note durations not always being held correctly.

Try Play along with my recording and try playing it with a metronome at a slow tempo.

Lindsey did something similar, with the first two notes being held for the same value and the half note not being long enough.
Vijai played the first quarter note for the right value, but then the eighth notes (in sets of two) were uneven.  The first was shorter and the second was longer, kind of like a reverse swing.  Also, the half note wasn’t held for full value.  Same thing happened with the tied quarter notes which are the same duration as a half note.

7. Submit recordings of the Lindeman (B to C and C to D) and the first phrase of St. James Infirmary.

I’ll give you some suggestions on things to work on for both of them and will let you know when I think you’re ready to move on.

(Time required: ~15 minutes) 

Also, check out the Louis Armstrong version and let me know if you find another version you really like.  A few you might check out are Cab Calloway and Trombone Shorty, that last one is more modern, his solo is kind of annoying though because of a note he holds for a long time.

Here’s a comparison of how Louis Armstrong plays the melody at the beginning compared to at 1:04.  And also how Ted played it initially.


Finish these steps and you’ll get the next steps.  A new statue awaits after the next set of steps.

Steps 6-10:

6. Go to the Tribe Recordings page, listen to one recording and leave a comment with something you liked about the recording.
7. Watch Lindeman critiques for the new exercise and leave a comment
8. Learn St James First Phrase as written (St James, music, right click and save as) (St_James_Neal_tenor_saxophone_tribe, mp3, right click and save as)
(St_James_Neal_alto_saxophone_tribe, mp3 right click and save as)
9. Submit your recording of the first phrase of St James
10. Submit your recording of the two bars (B to C and C to D) of Lindeman
Keep it up!

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

KT September 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm

I never know when a goose will escape my sax when I transition C to high D. Clearly, repeating these two lines of Lindeman will be like a vaccination: painful but necessary.

Loved St. James and still need to polish it up. Thanks for including that song.


Neal September 21, 2012 at 11:38 am

Hey Kate,
Really slowing down will help you figure out which fingers are late and/or early. The Lindeman works well as a diagnostic tool to figure out how to play better.

St James is a cool song, Might have you learn that in another key too pretty soon.


Vijai Anand December 3, 2012 at 10:43 am

I fully agree with KT the transition from C to high D and even B to C sometimes a little sound 🙂


Sandy January 9, 2013 at 9:09 am

I think the challenge will be avoiding playing a schmutz, especially from B to C.
Also trying to get the bar timespans to be the same.


Bengt January 10, 2013 at 8:24 am

Re steps 5-7.
Step 5: Play slowly. The slower the better. Practice keeping steady tempo. I find G/A most difficult. I get much bludder when I play the A.

I also practice on a song that runs: …. #F2, #A3,#C3, #C3, B3, B3, A3, #F3….. When I go up, #A3 and above, I just get bludder. I use an Otto Link 6* and as regards reeds I use Rico 2 or VanDoren V16, also 2. Maybe you have a suggestion about what I should do. My teacher has advised me to put only the tip of the mouthpiece into my mouth. His idea is that by doing so I will develop a better tone. Thank you Neal!


Neal January 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Hey Bengt,
Thanks. What do you mean by “buldder”? Louder?

If that’s what you meant, all the notes on the saxophone have different amounts of resistance. If you have the same airstream flowing through (which you should) then some notes will tend to pop out. How to make your sound even is to adjust the fingers speed, what that ends up meaning is that you usually want to lift fingers more slowly.

A sudden movement in your fingers will also be heard in your sound.

In terms of taking little mouthpiece, you can overdo that, so play around with it.


Ted January 15, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I find the B to C transition in the Lindeman the hardest to be consistent with. Is it acceptable to leave the right hand on the keys for the C to D transition? Makes it smoother and I can’t detect any difference in the sound.


Neal January 15, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Hey Ted,
Thought about that a little bit and tried it out when I practiced earlier.

It’s possible you could do that in some situations, but in other places it would make things a lot more awkward and probably sound worse.

Say you went from a G to a C to a D.

It wouldn’t always be smooth to have those keys pressed for the C to D transition depending on what came before the C. It would be a strange habit to build that wouldn’t necessary be a great idea. So I would recommend against this.

The Lindeman isn’t music, but we take the control developed from it and bring it music. Playing the Lindeman ‘well’ is less the point than using what we learn from it to sound better in music.


KT January 15, 2013 at 10:32 pm

I like Armstrong’s version best, but I took time to listen to Van Morrison’s several times and Eric Clapton’s once or twice.


Manuel Gonzalez January 21, 2013 at 9:00 am

Neal: Can you check the sheet music for the St James song. When hearing at the recording I can not follow it after the first repetition and going to the second part. Is like there is something missing. Let me know.



Manuel Gonzalez January 21, 2013 at 10:32 am

Neal: I got it. I did not read your comment about the parenthesis over the eight notes before the repeat sign. That was the part missing.


Neal January 21, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Thanks Manuel, I also just revised the music to make it more clear with a first and second ending. Removed the parentheses.


J March 10, 2013 at 1:14 am

I havn’t tried this yet- perhaps tomorrow. but really? trombone shorty…

WOW! personally not a fan. all music does have something to offer though, so thanks for the referal .



J March 13, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Most difficult-
– B to C is my smutzy enemy number 1. I think i have C to d, but will wait and see.
– Enemy #2 for me is timing. I just can’t seem to figure out how to use the metronome and, still can’t read music so rather confused at what different symbols are and do! hhaha, what a learning curve.

The recordings help too.

Much fun!


Neal March 15, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Hey J,
You can use a metronome without reading music. Basically, start at a slower tempo, think of a beat as a quarter note. Slow it down as much as you need to play the rhythm evenly.

You might start by practicing scales with a metronome.



Luc March 14, 2013 at 12:51 am

The Lindeman exercise is ok, but the timing on Saint James Infirmary with the metronome is a pain in the a.. If I follow the recording I can reach a good result but if I follow the metronome I am completly out. It’s going to take me month to get used to this machine.



Neal March 15, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Hey Luc,
You might have it set at a setting that is too fast, try slowing it down, should make things easier to handle.




Luc March 16, 2013 at 2:28 am

Hi Neal,

The problem if I set it at a slow tempo, is that I cannot check with your recording if I in or out. If I use the metronome as a playback I am ok, if I use it counting I get completely lost. I need to feel the rhythm and not to mentalize it. Playing saxophone for me is a dance and not a mechanical reproduction of sounds.



Neal March 16, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Hey Luc,
On St James and a few other tunes, I play them fairly slowly.

Another thing you want to do is listen to more music in the styles you want to play. That is very important.

Why do you get completely lost if you use counting? Does it seem too fast?

You don’t have to count or use a metronome, but they both can be useful. If you can play good rhythm without those tools, go for it.

It may take more work though.



Luc March 17, 2013 at 2:06 am

No it’s not too fast, I just can’t figure out mentally the pulsation, I have to feel it. It’s a good exercise though, but I just don’t like it yet. For me saxophone is a hobby and even if I want to become better, I am just not quite sure to be able to struggle that much to reach a better level, as I risk to give up with everything if it starts to bother me and block me instead of giving me confidence. I am going to think about all this and see if I can overcome it. I’ll send you a couple musics I am doing right now, I am pretty in tune only feeling the music. I am still very disappointed with myself not to be able to use a metronome.

KT March 14, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Hi J and Luc,
Glad to hear I am not the only one ready to mangle my metronome! Looks easy….I probably feel comfortable using metronome about half the time…mostly on Lindeman not songs.


Bengt March 16, 2013 at 3:45 am

Hej Luc, KT and Neal!
I also had problems with St. James. Neal was good humoured but not satisfied. “Do another…..”. I started using a metronome. I also found the metronome difficult to use. But not only the metronome caused problems. Also starting recording was troublesome. At once, exercise became a considerable hurdle.

Now, after having worked on using metronome and recording for some time, I start considering the metronome as a friend, a co-player. And I am in full control of the speed. De-humanized, but I think it will pay off. I can see that nobody as to today, has passed the 8-12 step. Why? Can’t be the Lindeman or the scales. It might be the Farewell… .

I think I have stage-fright, do not want to start practicing on it because it seems so difficult to play to the satisfaction of Neal. I practice on a number of songs each day, and I like that. Sure, I do a lot of mistakes, but I get some support by the metronome and a lot of practice and joy.


KT March 17, 2013 at 3:47 pm


Re steps 8-12….I think you are correct. Playing by ear is a very slow process for me. Got most of Jamaica now…I used to think you either could play by ear or could not.. Now, I know it is work to create that skill, not a gift at birth.


KT March 20, 2013 at 10:10 am

Hi Bengt,

It wasn’t St James that caused me to lose my stride; it was Jamaica Farewell by ear. Ear is something I just need to work on. Do you find by ear or reading sheet music is easiER?


Bengt June 4, 2013 at 3:51 am

Hi KT. Long time since you mailed me. Sorry!.

I find reading sheet Music is much easier than playing by ear. Neal just gave me a real challenge. He suggested I named Three songs I would like to play. I took three songs from my favorite disc: by Getz and Peteson. All songs there are marvelous.

I intend to go about it by first listening and finding out the notes. by playing them and noting them on sheet paper. Than play again and try to find out about tempo (rests an times) update my notation.

I believe that I may use some months to accomplish this. Do you have any idea about what Getz did to get the specific sound that is so characteristic of his way of playing. The tenorists that, in my opinion, is closest is Jim Tomlinson.

Do you know of Stacey Kent with whom he has made several excellent recordings?


Neal June 4, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Stan Getz practiced a lot. Your tone develops with awareness and time. I think he probably had an idea of what he wanted to sound like and did what was necessary to get there.


J March 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Hi all,

if you have an iphone, try looking up the app called sax scales. there are a few versions, each getting more difficult i believe.

play along with scales and metronome- it sounds OK to me. I can’t remember if it cost anything though.



Asha March 18, 2013 at 6:00 pm

What are we to work on after the 5 – 7 steps?


Neal March 18, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Looks like you got through 5-7, so step 8, just emailed you. Thanks


charles B April 21, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Lindeman is a great exercise. It forces me to concentrate on the fingers. Hopefully this will get me to where I am at typing–not thinking about the fingers while expertly typing. It also forces me to concentrate on tone and appropriate duration. Going from c to d poses some challenges. Using the side key for the d is much easier.


Neal April 21, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Hey Charles,
Definitely, it has helped my playing a great deal, even after a couple of years of using it though, it’s difficult to play things perfectly. It helps show you what you need to work on to improve your playing in many ways.

For the C to D, yes, it would be easier to transition from C to D, but if you’re going from C to D to E, that side D becomes very awkward. Or C to D to quite a few other notes. Sometimes you will want to use the alternate fingerings, but not always. And often the alternates don’t sound quite as good.


Terry S. June 3, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Well, I can definitely relate to J’s comments, about the timing and reading music…practice practice practice. I just don’t want to perfect the wrong thing.
I noticed it is better if I turn the sound down on my metronome and just change with the flash from the corner of my eye while I am preparing for the next note on St. James

I also found that I am having to lift my fingers away from the keys, in order to avoid any in between notes when going from B to C and C to D.
Oh, and I have found KT’s goose.


Neal June 4, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Hey Terry,
Yes, you want to make sure you’re getting the rhythm right so you don’t practice bad habits.

Just added a few things about downbeats and upbeats, check those out.

With your fingers, you want to be able to keep your fingers on the keys. So instead of needing to lift them up, try slowing down and keeping them on the keys.


Luke Bong July 14, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Hey Neal,

I’ve been practicing Lindeman and the C to D transition is ‘killing’ me. I got an A each time I go from C to D. I tried it slowly, then quickly but it made no difference. I’ll continue to work on this transition today. Can you give me any advice how I can overcome it?



Neal July 14, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Hey Luke,
If you’re getting an A, that means that the fingers on your left hand are moving faster than the fingers on your right hand. And if it’s an A specifically, then two fingers of your left hand may be moving faster than every other finger.

Therefore, you should keep that in mind and even exaggerate, moving the fingers (possibly just the top two fingers) on your left hand slower and the fingers on your right hand faster. Make it so you don’t get the A.


Luke Bong July 14, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Thanks for the advice, Neal. Will work on it this afternoon when I get home.


Neal July 14, 2013 at 10:29 pm

Hey Luke,
Thought about that a little. It comes down to just practicing more. But also being aware of certain things. I have been playing a lot longer than you.

Here’s my response, https://saxophonetribe.com/vibrato-wavering/

Check out the video of challenge #7, it’s related.




Luke Bong July 15, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Hey Neal,

I followed your advice to the tee and I managed to get the D (octave) during practice yesterday. Finally! I can’t describe how happy I was to get a D (pun intended). I’ll practice the assignment for a couple more days before I record it and send to you.

Will check out the Challenge 7 video.

Thanks so much!


Guy April 11, 2014 at 8:12 am

Didn’t realise the difference in volume from c to d until I did this exercise, hadn’t noticed the difference playing scales until I played just the 2 notes


Asha Imani September 9, 2014 at 4:28 pm

I find the steps to be challenging and a learning tool. The steps push you to practice music situations that you may not consider. It also gives you something to practice on a regular basis such as the Lindeman scales.


Calvin Comer November 21, 2016 at 4:11 pm

Find B C , D C What’s very hard to keep rhythm. I Learn how to use the metronome. Would recommend everyone uses the metronome.


Y. Rideaux December 1, 2016 at 11:48 pm

Hello Sax Tribe, -The Lindeman Exercise playing B to C and C to D for me I had to really focus on hearing the clean transition from one note to other(over and over) and making sure my embouchure was not too tight and timing my breath breaks early enough to maintain an accurate note sound. In addition, standing verses sitting made a huge difference in sounding more smooth. Importantly, listening carefully how Neal plays-and I stop rushing like I was in college trying to meet deadlines that’s-too stressful and it leads to errors.


Gary White September 11, 2017 at 10:22 am

Hi Folks,
I finished up steps 6 thru 10 last week and wanted to let you know how this went. The Lindeman exercises weren’t easy but I seemed to do well on passing thru this step. The exercise I must have submitted 5 times on the St. James Infirmary Blues was really difficult. Neal makes you toe the mark and play this correctly! And I am glad he did as in the end I could play the whole phrase without a breath and the notation in correct timing. It made me feel like I really accomplished something!

I like Neal’s approach to teaching. He gave me guidance through the steps. I really appreciated that and moving on to new challenges in the next steps.

My Best!


Anouk Radix September 20, 2018 at 3:23 am

Lindeman second part might be challenging because there is a lof more moving of fingers going round. So it might be more difficult to keep everything in control.


Neal March 17, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Hey Luc,
Try playing a C major scale as quarter notes (slowly) with the metronome. Send me a recording. Take it as slowly as you need. I think this will prove that you are able to use a metronome.

It should be a tool that helps you.

Getting better requires some struggle, realize that playing music well takes work and try to think of it as a challenge, rather than a struggle.



Luc March 18, 2013 at 1:49 am

Hi Neal,

Should I play slurring or articulating the notes for the scale? Thanks


Neal March 18, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Hey Luc,
It’s good to practice scales with different articulations. Slurring is best for some things, like showing which transitions need work. You’ll hear the schmutz. Articulation can hide schmutz.



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