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Ernie Watts

Excerpt from Ernie Watts' Lesson: Practicing

Why do we play the saxophone? Do we play this instrument to muscle people? Do we play for our ego? Do we play to try to prove to somebody else that plays this instrument that we do it better than they do?

It depends on the individual. For me, it has come to the point of creating beauty, creating something that touches someone. When I practice, when I work on playing or when I work on my tunes, I strive for some aspect of my concept of beauty. This is a philosophical thing, but I believe that if you are given a musical gift, or you have this ďtalent,Ē it is a gift. You have chosen or you have been chosen to be a tool for this energy to work through you and to create beauty on earth. You become a tool or channel for this energy to manifest itself on the physical plane. When you think of it this way, your relationship to the horn means being as fluid and clear on the instrument and having as few technical problems as possible, in order to allow this energy to flow through you into creation.

My whole premise for practicing scales and arpeggios is to be as fluid and as clear technically on the instrument as I possibly can. Itís to create a situation where there is a minimum of resistance for the energy to flow through. I play music to tell a story, to give something, a pearl, the kind of thing that makes people feel better when they leave than when they got there. Thatís why I do what I do.

I have a particular way of practicing so I feel clear on the instrument and there is no resistance. When I play my scales and arpeggios I donít want to feel the instrument in my hand. When I get to that point, I know that Iím clear. I practice for that. I practice for that thing that happens when you are in touch with your instrument and itís like talking. Youíre not dealing with whether the low D is going to be a pain in the butt today or whether youíre going to be able to play the altissimo C.

For Ernie Watts' complete lesson plus musical examples, including a CD of Ernie playing those examples, plus five more incredible lessons by other great artists, you just gotta pick up
Master Lessons For The Creative Musician.

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