PeterSax-methode

About Peter

I am Peter Steenbakkers, saxophone player from the Netherlands. The origin of this auditive method lies in my not-so-common musical development. As a self-made musician, I mainly learned to play by heart, and later on, I was surprised by the sheet music dependency of many wind blowers. 

Soon after I quit my job at a research lab, I started to play more and more in bands, and soon I also began to teach saxophone, which was very exciting. Sometimes I joke that I was teaching two sax players at the same time, one of them being me.

I did like teaching right away, and from the start, I was curious about how people learn to master their instruments. Also, about why they think it's very difficult to play by heart. I started to search for the logic behind it. Apparently, I was back in research again. By observing and analyzing, I discovered a lot about human behaviour when learning to play music. I noticed that when my students were playing from sheet music, their focus was very close to the paper. After letting them take a little step back, they already started to sound more natural. Since I let them play mainly by heart and on intuition, they are having more fun while developing a better connection with their instrument.

Many assume that improvising is only possible after studying the scales and theory thoroughly. In practice, beginners improvise along with me after a few lessons. The same applies to music teachers, who first thought that they probably never would be able to improvise.

Using sheet music?

Sure, I also use sheet music with my students. But most of the time we are playing by heart and improvising on intuition.

The exercises

- First, I started to develop the CopyMe exercises because, for horns, there was no easy auditive material to practice with. I wanted it to be accessible for all levels because even many traditionally trained wind blowers have problems playing by heart. You can play with these tracks on your own, having fun and growing at the same time. See here for more detailed information.

- Later on, I developed the Improvise along with me exercises. For years, I was already improvising along with my students, playing one after the other over inspiring backing tracks; we take turns playing two bars. You get no more information than what you hear, so you just have to rely on your ears and intuition. You can watch the Demo to get an idea of how it works.

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