Sam Newsome

Sam Newsome
"The potential for the saxophone is unlimited." - Steve Lacy

Monday, June 11, 2018

Don’t Spam, Connect: The True Path to Building Audiences

Finding an audience with whom to connect is something we all want to do as musicians and artists. And why not? These are the folks who will attend our gigs, purchase our music, and support our artistic endeavors. Our base.

My issue is not so much wanting to have a unified group in our aesthetical corners, but how we often times treat those we're trying to woo, is something to be desired. Instead of satiating their hunger for artistic enrichment, we often resort to spamming them to death. I'm talking about the barrage of emails, tweets, Facebook posts, snail mail, you name it. As I see it, spam is an acronym for:


We all need money. This I get. The problem with spamming is that you betray the trust of those who are interested in what you do. They opened your email, read your Facebook and Twitter posts for the first time, maybe even the second, third, and forth, and after a while, they know never to do it again. Why? Because they opened their door, and you showed up, not bearing gifts, but things they don’t want or need. 

So what’s a fella to do?

First of all, don’t spam, speak. More importantly, speak to those already eager to listen. 

Don’t hustle them. Lead them. Lead them to where they're already yearning to go, but did not want to go there alone. Be a guiding light, not an annoying flickering one, only screaming for attention.

And if you do want to connect with your audience, here’s an acronym to guide you: 



Monday, June 4, 2018

Quarter-Tone Studies for Saxophone - Part 1

One of the best exercises one can practice on the soprano sax is quartertone studies. I consider this the full-body straight horn workout.

(1) Sharpens pitch control. One's sense of pitch becomes heightened after intense quarter-tone study. Since the semi-tone becomes larger, you have a more nuanced understanding of intervals as a whole.

(2) Widens your timbral understanding of the instrument. Since many of these notes require unorthodox fingerings, you also get introduced to new note timbres, quarter steps below and above conventional notes.

(3)  Improves dexterity. There's something about playing these awkward fingerings in succession that leaves the fingers very nimble. I think it's the equivalence to running with ankle weights on. You might be moving slower, but you're working harder.

The Music
This piece shown below is from a book by Ronald L. Caravan titled Preliminary Exercises & Etudes in Contemporary Techniques for Saxophone.  A must-have! This is the first piece in a series of etudes the appear in the section of the book called Quarter-Tone Etudes for Saxophone.

I've included a metronome click with my reading of it. It makes it easier to follow. I also give a universal 4 counts out front.

The recommended tempo is quarter note = 84 -92. But I would say take it at a quarter note = 60, if you have to. The pitches and the fingerings take some getting used to. So take it slow.

 Let me know how it works out for you!

Embracing Authentic Confidence, Beyond the Illusion of Perfection

My struggles with confidence has been a constant companion throughout my life's journey, with and without my horn. I certainly have my g...