08/30/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 242)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 242

Date: 08/30/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island)


I decided to take this day and work as hard as possible towards a single task.  This was a marathon day, something I do from time to time to re-center myself.   My attention lately in both my music and day to day life has been scattered.  My practice routine has been a critical part of maintaining and strengthening my mental clarity.  This routine also contributes towards the longevity of my focus during live performance, recording and the rest of my life.  However, in the past few months I’ve noticed that my level of singular attention while practicing or just doing a task, even making coffee or getting ready in the morning, has begun to fracture.  I walk out of the room without having finished putting my razor back, or I leave one vegetable half chopped while I begin working on another. 

My goal today was to design and finish building a good quality coop to house a few quail out in our backyard.  From sun up, I decided not to eat, drink, or rest until it was finished to the best of my personal standard and ability.  I started around 9:30am and was fully finished at 6:30pm.  I didn’t look at my watch until I was finished.  What I discovered, as I have many times over in my personal marathon sessions, was that focus is not always dependent on energy but it is more dependent on a singular desire towards an end.  Throughout the day I did go through periods of exhaustion and frustration, but I tried to view these as part of the larger arch of the day–begin and end–start with a design and finish with a product.  

After finishing this marathon session, I had only a small amount of time to play and record before other personal obligations later in the night.  I walked immediately into my practice space and began recording for about a half hour.  It felt incredible to play–I was exhausted but full of life force.  The horn was calling me to explore, and I felt absolutely no barrier between myself and the instrument.  This marathon session was not intended to be a cure-all, but more a jolt back towards where I want to be in how I approach my daily life.  The result was this improvisation, an energy piece with a quickly inspired, simple melody.

This improvisation uses the pitches Eb-Gb-Db—-.  The lengthy held out multiphonic that opens the improvisation and is used throughout became a springboard for these three pitches.  The fingering was as follows:

(Left Hand) B-A-G keys, Octave, Low B, Palm Eb

To play the Eb, I used the above fingering but put the F key down in the right hand and took away the Palm Eb.  The Gb was played with the above fingering but without the Palm Eb.  Finally, the upper register Db used the multiphonic fingering but with an adjustment of my embouchure to eliminate the additional tones.


The image “Untitled” accompanying today’s post by Bernardo Ortiz Camp (2008).