What happens on SaxDay

Nottingham SaxDay 2015 - Information about the day

Date: Sunday March 22nd 2015

Venue: Held at the Djanogly Arts Centre, part of the University of Nottingham superb Lakeside Arts Centre, many of the sessions (and the concert!) take place in the fantastic Djanogly Recital Hall, which is widely regarded as one of the finest small concert halls in the UK. Part of the University music department, close by there are lots of well-equipped, soundproofed practice rooms, ideal for small group playing.

Djanogly Arts Centre, University of Nottingham, University Boulevard, Nottingham, NG7 2RD



 djanogly recital hall


 tutor team

Course director Alistair Parnell is joined by regular SaxDay tutors of Naomi Sullivan, Julia Mills, Nicola Pennill, Sarah Markham and Chris Jolly.

Provisional timetable (final details may be subject to change)

Time Djanogly Recital Hall Practice room/foyer
10.00  Arrival and registration  
10.30  Introductory session  
10.40  Group playing with coaches Group playing with coaches
11.45 Break Break


Playing in a jazz combo (JM/CJ)

A chance to join in OR learn by watching a session to learn some of the skills needed to play with a rhythm section.

This session will cover good delivery of a 'head' (tune)  including intros/outros and grooves, how to listen and work with /interact with a rhythm section, being more creative with arrangements etc.

Anyone that wants to play in this session will have the chance to do so, or you can be an audience member and find out what's involved.



Optional sessions (repeated after lunch) - choose from:

Ensemble communication (NP)
Do you play in a quartet or other group? How many 'leaders' does it have? One? None? Four? In this session we will take a new look at how to improve your group playing by developing the ability to lead, follow, anticipate and react in the moment, whichever your instrument or role.

Blending, tuning and balance (NS)
A really sophisticated ensemble sound can be attributed to players ability to blend; blend dynamics, tuning, articulation and sound.  Learn how your playing can contribute to an improvement in any group you are part of!

Doubling on the saxophone (AP)
One of the great attractions of the saxophone is the family of instruments that it offers.  But what are the unique challenges and differences to consider if you want to try your hand at a soprano, or a baritone, for example? This session will help to prepare the way.

Ensembles (SM)
If you really just want to do more playing then help will be on hand to help find music and get you started in a group.

13.00  Lunch Lunch (please bring a packed lunch) and trade stands.


Approaching the core repertoire (SM)
There are lots of really great original pieces for saxophone which players will want to be aware of and try at various stages of advancement. In this session Sarah will use her vast experience of performing and teaching these works to suggest good places to start, and to explain ways to tackle them.  Examples are.

Bozza Aria
Maurice Tableaux de Provence
Milhaud Scaramouche
James Rae Sonatina for Alto Saxophone
Binge Concerto

Repeat of 12.15 sessions:

Ensemble communication (NP)

Blending, tuning and balance (NS)

Doubling on the saxophone (JM)

Ensembles (CJ)

14.45 Group playing with coaches Group playing with coaches
16.00 Mass blow  
16.45 Break  
17.30 Concert - please invite family and friends to come along.  It's free, and will feature tutors as well as selected items from the day's sessions.  

Group Playing with Coaches

  • All participants will have the opportunity to play in ensembles of various sizes.  Depending as they do on numbers and mix of instruments, these groups will be assigned on the day, and a coach will be available for help with getting started and to direct you for all or part of the session.  Larger groups will have a dedicated coach for the whole session.
  • A note on playing ability and sight reading.  This course is intended for intermediate players, and so parts are not sent in advance, and you need to be prepared to sight read the music on the day.  Every effort will be made to provide music of a suitable standard but you should be at least Grade 5 or equivalent level to get the most out of the day, and to ensure groups can be well matched.  To give you an idea, reasonable fluency is needed in a range of musical styles, in keys of up to five sharps or flats, with the ability to read details of music expression such as dynamics and articulation.


  • You can choose to attend two different workshop sessions.  We realise that people have lots of different interests and aspirations, so the aim to provide a wide range of sessions, using the specialist knowledge of the team. Observers will be able to take the audience point of view, and pick up valuable tips and advice for their own playing.  If you prefer not to attend any workshops (although we hope you will!), provision will be made for extra playing sessions.
  • For the repertoire session with Sarah Markham, we'll be looking for some volunteers to play a movement from the list of pieces (see above), and will select a few people to give a good selection and range.  If you'd like to offer to play, we'd love to hear from you, just drop us an email to say which you'd like to play!  They range in difficulty level from Grade 6 upwards, and several feature on the ABRSM lists, so you may have already played some of the suggested music.  For those in the audience, bring along your copies if you have them, to help you get the most from the session!
  • In the jazz combo session there will also be a chance to do your thing! So if you'd like to develop your skills in this area, we'd love to have a few volunteers prepared to play.  You can let us know in advance, but we should also be able to accommodate those who want to step up on the day.
Other information about the day
  • The evening concert is informal (and free!) if you’d like family and friends to be there, please encourage them to come along.
  • Nottingham’s sax specialists Windblowers will be available throughout the day with instruments, accessories and music to try and buy - www.windblowers.com.
  • Please bring packed lunch. Windblowers provide hot and cold drinks at breaks.
  • Please bring a music stand!

How to book

About the SaxDay organisation
SaxDay was set up in 2004.  Initially run as annual one-day events it has since expanded to include one and two day events, and to cater for a wide range of abilities.  All events are run to promote educational objectives and are non-profit making, with each event aiming to cover the costs of hosting through participant fees.  The events have been generously supported by Windblowers.

liz and heather  sw14
sarah and michael