Here's some advice:
As with most skills, the more time you devote, the more rapidly you'll progress. A daily routine with a significant focus on technique will result in dramatic growth within a period of months.
LONG TONES: This exercise is extremely important for two reasons. 1. It allows you to focus on your tone/sound. By holding one note out, for a 10-12 second stretch, you can focus on nothing but refining your sound. 2. It allows you to play faster! How? While you are concentrating on your sound, you should relax your fingers and let them sit in perfect position, touching all the keys. It is this training that will allow your hands to be where they should be when it is time to respond! Think about this: If you played every note written for saxophone (low B flat to high F, and held them for 12 seconds, then rested for 4, that's just 16 seconds times 31 notes, or 496 seconds - less than 10 minutes to concentrate on every note possible and learn your instrument. To play a 2 octave major scale (basically the full range of your instrument) would be less than 5 minutes!
SCALES: Major/Minor/Chromatic/Jazz: It doesn't matter! Any scales you practice will build your technique. But only if you do it right.
- Play them slowly enough that you can move your fingers accurately and exactly. If you can't play the scale 3 times in a row at that tempo flawlessly, then you are playing too fast! Accuracy builds speed!
- Make intelligent choices with fingering options. This is your chance to practice the correct move, so that later when you are playing, it is automatic.
- Vary your patterns: Go up and down. Move in 3rds (ex. c-e-d-f-e-g-f-a-g-b-a-c-b-d-c) once in a while.
THINK ABOUT THIS: If you played scales at 1 note per second (a slow pace) you could play a scale in 16 seconds - that's easily 3 scales per minute! So why are you playing less than 12 scales a day? Imagine how much better you could play in less than 5 minutes a day!