' You don't learn to talk from a book either...'

These exercises will help you learn to play by heart much easier. Actually, to play what's in your mind. That will also be very helpful when you start improvising on intuition.

I’ve made 50 exercises, for both Bb and Eb instruments, each lasting about 1.5 minutes. With your wind instrument, you instantly copy the phrases that I play on saxophone. First, listen to a few examples:

We start very basic with just three different notes (g, a and b) and not too long phrases. It is best to play a track completely in one go.

Before you get started with a new track, check in the table what
notes are being used, and listen to these notes by playing them.

You will probably make mistakes, partly because you're not used to doing it. But that's okay; see them as learning opportunities. Next round, it will go better!

Here are some examples of students playing with the exercises. You will notice that they are not playing flawlessly; they are searching and trying. And in the meantime, they are learning and getting better.

Henk is a bit experienced player. He plays a lot, also with jam sessions, and every now and then he does a few tracks as a warm-up. Here he plays the alto sax.

Kim has been playing the tenor sax for several years now. Besides practicing with these exercises regularly, he also does a lot of improvising.

Lucie on the tenor sax is not playing for too long yet. For her it's hard work, but in the same time worthwhile and nice to do.

After a few tracks, I start to use more different notes (with a maximum of five) and change to some other keys. It gradually becomes more difficult, but it’s not necessary to complete all the exercises up to track 50. Just go as far as it feels comfortable to you. Play a few tracks whenever you start playing; use them as a warm-up before playing with the improvisation videos.

One of the first things you will probably notice is how easy it is to copy a phrase in an instant, and that it becomes more and more enjoyable over time.

These are the notes I used in these exercises

If you find an exercise too fast, you can slow it down with an app. My favourite app for both changing tempo and key is Amazing Slow Downer (see also in Tips). Do not hesitate to use this help. It’s all about getting to feel more comfortable copying what you just heard.

Learn to make mistakes

That may sound a bit strange, but mistakes can be very useful and should be seen as learning opportunities. Best is to play the track completely in one go. You can always repeat a track if you like, and you'll notice that you make progress every time. It’s quite possible that you're going to have more and more fun doing these exercises. You can also see them as a warm-up for your improvising; it's not necessary, but very useful.

The power of listening

One very important part of making music is listening. There’s a significant difference between hearing and listening. You hear with your ears. But you listen with your ears, your brain and your feelings. With these CopyMe exercises, you train your listening skills very effectively. So, listen carefully to the riffs I play and copy them right away. You will be very busy for about 1.5 minutes.

It all starts with listening

This method helps you improve several essential skills without using sheet music.

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You learn to listen much better in a natural and fun way. Read more»

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Playing by heart

This starts with replaying the CopyMe tracks. And later on when playing well-known songs by head.

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In no time you're playing what you just made up; and then you are improvising! Read more»

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Articulate, phrase

That determines how you pronounce and tell something with your instrument. You work on aspects that determine your sound, such as tone, embouchure, attack, and breath support.

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Instrument control

You’re getting to know your instrument in a more practical way. By repeating phrases you increase your motor-muscle memory and learn to move your fingers more smoothly and effortlessly.

Are you ready to get started?

Download the 50 CopyMe exercises for free!

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