I've been learning for quite a few years now, decided earlier this year it was time to do something useful instead of just going to lessons and practicing at home. A colleague plays alto in a local orchestra and they were looking for a tenor (both cover the French Horn parts), so it was arranged.
It's been a very good experience, we had a concert last night which went really well, and was my first concert at this sort of level. So highly recommended.
I thought I'd share some of the challenges I had...
Tuning - this lot tune to A=443, so the mouthpiece wouldn't go on far enough at first. Then I had to adjust my playing to keep all the notes in tune at the higher pitch - and play in tune with the rest of them.
Timing/Counting - This was the hardest part. Pace varied from faster than I'd ever played, to so slow I could easily play 4 notes per beat without breaking into a sweat. Unlike more modern music where there's always a drum or bass to keep the beat, for many bars there...
When we announced the two meets @QWales suggested we might like to hold one in Cardiff. His employers Atradius have kindly offered us the use of some meeting rooms in their offices in Cardiff Bay. I visited them in April and met the building services manager who is keen to support employees interests and liked the idea of the cafe holding a meet at the offices.
There were two small conditions, one being that if we are serving food we use their on site caterers and the second that we make a small donation to their two charities of the year. I will have to confirm the charities but one I think was in respect of children's cancer.
I have been discussing this with Aldevis and we are both keen if possible to make this a slightly different event to the previous two. We would like to try and get some suppliers of instruments and sax related stuff and...
Doing some recordings for the Cafe Saxophone TOTM and BOTM threads has made me really listen to my own saxophone sound. It can be a painful process - like listening to your own voice on recordings, it's not how you think it is.
It has got me thinking about what aspects of the sound matter most for distinguishing between "good" and "bad" sound on the saxophone. The instrument has a very flexible timbre and lots of great players have their own characteristic voice.
Apart from playing with good tuning, what do you think makes for a "good" sound on the saxophone ? Maybe, what makes one player sound great and another player sound like a novice or an amateur ?
For an example:
Good sound: Clean start to notes, hit notes on desired pitch, even vibrato (where used), "rich" tone throughout the range.
Bad sound: Hesitant start to notes, scoop up to pitch (for no musical reason), uneven or "nanny goat" vibrato, "thin" tone.
What do you think ?
This is very exiting news. After months, no, years of R & D and one or two extra grey hairs appearing on Dr. Pillinger's head plus one or two falling out of mine, i am pleased to say it looks like we may finally have an alto mouthpiece good enough to decorate with this distinguished brand.
I already have quite a long list of interested parties so please make sure you are on my mailing list, via the contact form here:
There will be two production facings (custom facings also available)
5* (suitable for classical and also fine for beginners)
6** (For anything else)
The 6** is more or less a 7, but may feel more like a 6* or 6 which I find to be the absolute best for jazz, pop, blues, r & b, rock and anything else including bluegrass and dubstep (Not doorstop)
I received a nice email this morning from Paul's granddaughter, who thanked me for the mention of him in the TamingTheSaxophone article on R & B saxophone players
She has mentioned it on the Paul Williams Facebook Page
So please like, share and comment there, tweet it etc.
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