Beginner Biting the mouthpiece

Tommy Ng

South Yorkshire

Heard someone said that the amount of pressure applied on a mouthpiece (lip) should be constant no matter how high or low the note is.

For me, i need to change the pressure to play high and low notes. Am i doing something wrong???? :confused:

I bite harder to play higher notes...
I bite harder to play higher notes...

So do I (but don't tell anyone)

In traditional saxophone teaching it is usually considered ideal to keep your embouchure the same throughout the range. This is often not possible and with more extreme altissimo it is very difficult.

I change my embouchure quite a lot, but if you were just playing one style of music, e.g. classical, it should be possible to aim for keeping the embouchure and pressure the same throughout.

Look on it as something that is ideal, but don't worry if it doesn't happen, unless there are actual problems (and really only a teacher might know)
My teacher's teaching me to adjust it depending on the note I'm playing. I really hope I don't have to undo that in the future, but if Pete can do it, I'm not worried. I'll be grateful to play even half as well as he does.
I bite harder to play higher notes...

In the regular (non-altissimo) registers, your embouchure shouldn't differ too much. An excercise you can try is playing the upper register while you imagine playing the lower register. That might help in loosening your embouchure.

Another excercise that I find useful, is doing mouthpiece-only practice. One of the things that brings you is finding out how you can change the pitch of your notes while keeping your embouchure constant. I regularly do them while driving to and from work in the car.
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Cheers Pete :thankyou:

I should add (as a disclaimer) that many teachers would say that you must not change your embouchure, and get you to work towards this. If this is the case, then I recommend doing it, please don't say "oh, but Pete Thomas says it's OK not too". It's probably a very good thing in the initial stages at least to work towards this.

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