Sometimes it’s hard to know what to practice. There’s lots of technique books and patterns out there and choosing which one to work on can be tough. Truthfully, you just have to pick one and get started. When you finish you move onto another. For me, that process sometimes takes an odd twist and I come up with an expanded exercise, one of which I’ll share with you now.
I enjoy learning things. But once I’ve learned it, I try to find some way to twist it into something new. Sometimes it’s altering the rhythm and/or articulations, playing it backwards, or displaced, adding chromatics… and sometimes it’s altering the mode or tonality. Here’s something I did with an old classical saxophone favorite.
Every saxophonist who’s had any classical training probably has this book. The exercises are challenging and useful.
Years ago I memorized the Major version of number 1 in all 12 keys. When I’m learning a pattern the first thing that I do is figure out each scale degree by number. It makes it easier for me to transpose. Here’s the major pattern from the picture above in numbers:
Then came the fun part. I just started trying the pattern different ways. The first was in harmonic minor (lower all the 3 and 6’s by half a step) and eventually started experimenting with all different tonalities. Below is a PDF of the possibilities that I came up with, written in the key of C. I definitely recommend practicing them in all 12 keys. Hope you enjoy!