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  All Wrong

Greg Vail

Pearls Of Wisdom. Learned all wrong, should I quit?

Pearls Of Wisdom

All Wrong – Should I just Quit?

I had friends that went from High School, straight into Long Beach State. When I was looking to transfer to LBSU, I called these guys and asked what music I should get ready for auditions. I got the name of one song that the best Tenor Player last year used as his really hard piece for his Senior Recital. I took that Classical Solo and practiced 8 hours a day for months before the auditions. Of course, I got in without a hitch.

When I arranged my first lesson with the Sax Teacher, I took the first available because I was eager to make my mark and impress.

Leo Potts is a great teacher and Human Being. I got into my first lesson with Leo and things went very strange very fast. Leo gave me some music to play and kept stopping me within a note or two, scratching his head. He asked me to play a G, over and over again. He then asked if I was tonguing. I was not really sure but thought I was.

Over the next few minutes Leo realized I had never learned to tongue and practicing soooo much, I had developed an amazing set of weird techniques to cover for the fact I did not use my tongue right at all.

Leo then said, “How did you even get into this program?”

I was devastated; had shown up thinking I was going to impress my teacher and he is now deciding what to do with his mistake.

Leo gave me 1 chance to stay in the program. He told me to practice starting notes with my tongue. Told me to play middle B, A and G; over and over again. Then told me to start on a G and slur to A, back and forth; told me the same for A and B.

He then told me I would be kicked out of the Department if he walked by my practice room and heard anything else coming out of my sax. I went totally crazy trying to limit the sax and play 3 notes, only, or collegiate death.

Leo saw what he needed to and basically rebuilt me from the bottom up.

Thanks Leo for taking the time. Sorry I was such a pain in the butt.

Greg Vail Email Contact --