Greg also plays the piano, and has a regular Saturday night gig with a friend, in a local restaurant lounge. Surprisingly, Greg has never learned to read music. “We had a piano at home when I was growing up, so I was always messing around on it,” Greg says. “Then when I was a student I got a job playing in a bar – I played for five hours every night – mainly popular tunes and a few Irish ballads. It was all by ear!” This developed into his current blues duo, with a friend who provides guitar and vocals.
“I took the sax along once, about a year ago,” says Greg. “The acoustics aren’t great in the room where we play. It’s all hard surfaces, and the glasses were rattling on the bar!” Greg says he’d like to try the sax again now that he’s been playing longer. “We are so used to playing together, we don’t need to practice, but it’s different when I’m on sax. We will need to rehearse!”
Greg uses the “Amazing Slow Downer” app recommended by Nigel. “When I was learning ‘Bewitched’ I worked it out a phrase at a time, slowing it down and sometimes looping sections, on my computer,” explains Greg. “I don’t know the names of the notes on the sax; I learn the Sax School lessons through watching Nigel’s fingers!”
Sax School has really developed Greg as a player. “It’s all the little tricks and tips you pick up, like alternative fingerings,” says Greg. “It’s like having a friend over to teach you!” Sax School has also really helped Greg with his improvising. “I’ve learned a lot about the theory, beyond what I could do on the piano,” he says. “Now I can spend hours picking apart a solo to work out how it’s structured.”
Greg also finds advice and inspiration in the Facebook Group. “I’ve learned loads from fellow members and from watching their videos,” Greg says. “I’ve also had the pleasure of collaborating with many of the members over the past two years which is both learning and immensely enjoyable! I am very much of the view with our group that you get back – in spades – what you put in!” saxschoolonline.com