Frequently asked questions
If you would love to start SaxMastery but don’t have a saxophone we now offer the SaxMastery Year 1 course with a brand new Startone Alto Saxophone! The Startone Alto Saxophone is a robust and excellent student model that offers fantastic value for the price. It comes in sturdy padded case with all the basic accessories. It is also checked and set up for you so it’s ready to go right out the case for the SaxMastery Getting Started Lesson. To get this package, click on the START NOW tab in the menu above. This package is only available within the U.K.
The average SaxMastery monthly lesson requires about 45 minutes daily for a month. In the earlier stages it’s less. Lessons are designed to be under an hour. But its jam packed! You’ll work on each lesson for at least a month, sometimes more. You go at your own pace depending how much time you want to put into it. General guidelines… Minimum 30 minutes daily, but a consistent hour a day is a good target. Anything more will fast track you to you to becoming a great player much quicker! Adapt your time commitment with your life, some periods are busier than others… Adapt as necessary… Little or a lot…Main thing is, keep doing it!
Time and results will vary from person to person based on a number of variable, how much time you practice, previous musical experience, level of enthusiasm, determination etc. SaxMastery is not a “Get good quick scheme”! Unfortunately with everything getting quicker and quicker in this age we live in, I still haven’t found a microwave for becoming a hot sax player quickly! I can promise you this… that if you practice patiently with SaxMastery daily, and stick to a regular routine, follow the plan carefully and use the Success Chart at the end of each lesson, you’ll not only see consistent improvement from month to month, but over time you will become a very good player! But please don’t expect to sound like David Sanborn or Kenny G if you’re only practicing 30mins a day! These guys devoted their lives to this with many years of up to 8 hours or more a day! However I can tell you that 1 consistent hour a day with SaxMastery will provide in my opinion one of the fastest methods out there for achieving great results! I’m continually amazed at what I can do in 1 hour with SaxMastery that’s why I use it, it’s like a Tia-Bo workout for the sax!
In the event this should happen, you have a number of options. You can Skype call or message me or leave a video message if I’m not on. I usually respond very quickly usually well within 24 hours, worst case scenario within 48 hours if I’m on the road. You call also email. Contact info is provided in the course.
If you have the desire to learn, the discipline to practice daily, rain or shine, if you’re willing to learn and be patient as you progress on your journey… Then you’re perfectly suited to start SaxMastery. I coach you step by step, book by book, year by year through the course. Whilst I didn’t design the course for children ( I talk as to an adult!), I’ve had students from 10 to 75 years old doing the course, my typical student age has been between 35 – 65, with an almost equal mix of men and women.
Have you heard Candy Dulfer, Mindi Abair, Jessy J, Angela Christie, Jeanette Harris? I don’t think I need to say anymore… these are all great players! One of my teachers at Berklee was female, Shannon LeClaire, another great player. At least 50% of my students have been female. Lady’s make great sax players. You can do it!
No, not for this course, this course is more practical in nature and teaches you the skills you will need to pick up your sax and play! Whether it’s a CD, the radio, with a band, at church, SaxMastery in time will develop your ability to play in most contemporary music settings very fluently by ear. To communicate the music you hear on the course I use what I call Simple Notation, like, C, B, A, G etc. The Getting Started Lesson will prepare you very well for knowing the placement of any note name.
Ask any professional player in order to play effortlessly you need to go over and over things till they become “second nature”. You want to be fluent right?!
SaxMastery was designed specifically for the E-flat alto saxophone, and the notes in each book correspond to the audio pitches for each track. Therefore the ideal scenario is to do the course on the Alto Sax. However, the course has been updated and adapted so that it can be also done on a Bb instruments, such as Tenor & Soprano Saxophones, Bb Clarinet or Trumpet. The main two differences are, 1) Bb Instruments will have different starting point clearly indicated for each module and 2), the range or actual pitch will not always correspond with that being played on the corresponding alto audio track. For this reason it is more ideal for absolute beginners to start on the Alto Sax.
However, despite these main 2 difference if you have some basic knowledge of your Bb Instrument and know the notes for your instrument, you can absolutely benefit as seen from the SaxMastery and become a very good player on your Bb instrument. The reason for this being 1) we want to become fluent in all 12 keys, and 2) we want to become fluent with the melodic exercises in all playable registers on the horn, through the alternating technique. (as seen in the video)
In short, YES! But not until you reach year 4. (Year 2, 3 and 4 coming VERY soon!) Simply because in my opinion you need a very solid foundation first on the rest of the sax. Think of it this way, if you haven’t built the 1 st three floors of the house well, what can you expect of the 4 th floor! Get a solid handle of the 1 st three registers of the sax first then you’ll be so much better prepared to go into the heavens! Having said that, if you already know the altissimo, I practice the altissimo registers using the year 1, 2 and 3 course which has greatly help my playing in that area.
YES! Watch the video again, especially the first minute. There you’ll see me using advanced concepts such as Alternating, Rappidity, Random Mode, Altissimo, a combination of these, and from memory! There are many “levels” to working with SaxMastery that can greatly improve your overall technique and ears. Below are a few examples of various levels you can work on if you’re more advanced:
Level 1: Play in synch with the audio sax practice partner from memory – Goal: Test Review 1&2
- Bring each exercise/module “up to par” in available upper or lower registers then
- Practice “Alternating” each repetition of an idea in available upper/lower registers
Level 3: Practice “Rappidity” (repeating the exercise, or portion of it, as fast as you can evenly do it out of synch with your practice partner)
Level 4: Practice a portion or entire lesson on the “Random Mode” - especially Test Review 1&2
Level 5: Any combination of the above levels.
Mark Bunney is officially endoursed by Cannonball Instruments and plays a Gerald Albright GA5-SB Signature Alto Saxophone (Silver-Plated Body / Black-Nickel Bow and Bell)
Mark uses a Dukoff D8 Metal Alto Mouthpiece and Legere Signature 2.75 strength Reeds
"If you're taking the sax seriously and looking to step up from a basic student model sax to a professional sax, my no.1 recommendation would be to consider finding a local Cannonball dealer and trying them out! Like choosing a top end car, it's highly personal and a subjective area. I play on them because they are the best instruments that match my style and playing needs, and I've been very happy with them since switching to them in 2007.
In the U.K the main two dealers are Dawkes Music (ask for Sam) and Sax.co.uk (ask for Jim Cheek). You can mention Mark Bunney refered you.
In the U.S.A for your local dealer contact Cannonball Instruments at 1 801 563 3081 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Having said the above, please bear in mind that each persons set up is highly personal and what may work great for me may not be the best for you, and vice versa. All the best in your journey, Mark B
This is a common issue for most beginners, it’s usually a sign that you’ve lost the correct embouchure ( mouth ) position.
When it goes high , you need to momentarily stop and reset yourself and try again , being confident of the sound you should be trying to produce (with the D1 track for example). Repeat this often.
It’s not like a keyboard where you just press the key and it comes out perfect every time, you have to persist learning to get the embouchure position and pressure correct until you get the note you want to behave!!
But you do have to just keep working on it daily to consistently find that sweet spot for the note.
These issues are most common from Eb1 - C1 (and B1 / Bb1)
However if after trying this for many days patiently with no change, it could be that your saxophone is “leaking”, meaning the keys are not fully shutting ‘air tight’, prevent the sound to come out easily.
For beginners, It’s usually 95% the first reason above and 5% the second reason.
Hope this helps x