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Breaking a bad habit

OP
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Keep Blowing

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I have been doing it differently to that for so long it's hard to stop it,.
I did see an exercise on YouTube where you play the lower octave while pressing the octave key. Apparently you can't hit the notes unless your throat is open,. Whether this is good practice I don't know
 

Zugzwang

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Would you think it detrimental if I practised long tones and overtones playing at a whisper on a regular basis?
Bob Reynolds says that the reason he can play subtones through the whole range of his horn is because he had to play at "Don't wake the baby" volume when he lived in a flat. Doesn't seem to have done him any harm....
ps he also practises in hotel rooms a lot, it seems
 

thomsax

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I have many bad habits, tightening my embouchure, reed is tight on mouthpiece, biting, pushing, squeezing, hard reeds (# 4 pasticover), baritone reeds on tenor, big tip opening (#10 (.130") Rovner Deep-V) ..... . I blessed with big lungs, strong diaphragm and I like to hit hard. So why not use my personal qualities? Today I get some compliments for my sound and the way I play. That never happened when I tried to play pretty. I had a sax teacher for some weeks. But the teacher just wanted me to sound in the same way as he did!! Teachers are lazy???? Today I have a guy/mentor that like my sound and the way I play. At the age of 63+, I still think I can make better and louder noise:). I'm one of Frank Zappa's disciples:

"Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible".

Keep On Honkin*!
 

Pete Effamy

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Hampshire
I have many bad habits, tightening my embouchure, reed is tight on mouthpiece, biting, pushing, squeezing, hard reeds (# 4 pasticover), baritone reeds on tenor, big tip opening (#10 (.130") Rovner Deep-V) ..... . I blessed with big lungs, strong diaphragm and I like to hit hard. So why not use my personal qualities? Today I get some compliments for my sound and the way I play. That never happened when I tried to play pretty. I had a sax teacher for some weeks. But the teacher just wanted me to sound in the same way as he did!! Teachers are lazy???? Today I have a guy/mentor that like my sound and the way I play. At the age of 63+, I still think I can make better and louder noise:). I'm one of Frank Zappa's disciples:

"Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible".

Keep On Honkin*!
You are correct that many teachers try to make disciples and that is a poor show.
With that setup though, can you play anything other than loud and brash? Perhaps you don’t need to...
 
OP
Keep Blowing

Keep Blowing

Senior Member
Commercial Café Supporter
Messages
1,569
Location
Bottesford England
I have many bad habits, tightening my embouchure, reed is tight on mouthpiece, biting, pushing, squeezing, hard reeds (# 4 pasticover), baritone reeds on tenor, big tip opening (#10 (.130") Rovner Deep-V) ..... . I blessed with big lungs, strong diaphragm and I like to hit hard. So why not use my personal qualities? Today I get some compliments for my sound and the way I play. That never happened when I tried to play pretty. I had a sax teacher for some weeks. But the teacher just wanted me to sound in the same way as he did!! Teachers are lazy???? Today I have a guy/mentor that like my sound and the way I play. At the age of 63+, I still think I can make better and louder noise:). I'm one of Frank Zappa's disciples:

"Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible".

Keep On Honkin*!
Would be good to hear you play!

Keep Blowin'
 

Halfers

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Certainly from a singing perspective, closed throat seems an appropriate description. God knows the amount of times I've got it wrong and it sure feels like the throat is closing.. :oops: :confused:
 

Pete Effamy

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Hampshire
it's probably already there, but you can't see the wood for the trees - a common problem, we're too busy chasing something without stopping to appreciate what we've already got...
we already sound like ourselves, we're just not happy about it because we're too busy listening to other players and wanting what they've got - and they probably were never happy with their sound either
Same as my hair - mind of its own - always wanted someone else’s hair
 

Guenne

Senior Member
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Austria
This is however the accepted terminology in many countries whether biologically correct or not. Raising the soft palate? Simulating a yawn?
That may very well be.
In my teaching, I'm trying to be as anatomically precise as my little knowledge of anatomy allows.
Because you know (quoted that 100 times, sorry):

The players/teachers do what they do; they tell the student what they think they do; the students think they heard what the teachers said about what they think they do; the students then try to do what they think the teachers said about what they think they do.

Denis Wick

I'm not 100% d'accord, but I agree with the "aah" thing:

You might find the chapter about "Power Startup" in John Harles "The Saxophone" useful. I could agree on "open throat" if we look at it this way.

Cheers, Guenne
 
Last edited:

jbtsax

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Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
There is no such thing as an open or closed throat!
Perhaps it is an issue of "semantics". :)

In my teaching I have regularly had to work with students who exhibit tightness in the throat area that had a detrimental effect upon their tone quality. I'm not sure I can describe it but it can be felt by first blowing a full and unrestricted stream of air, and then purposefully restricting or "choking off" the air at the back of the oral cavity. Another way to "feel" the sensation is to first speak with a normal voice and then the say the same thing with a "stage whisper".

I found this most common in beginning trumpet students as they tense up to attempt to play the higher notes. It was also common in saxophone players who had switched from clarinet. Starting on clarinet they became accustomed to blowing against more resistance than is felt playing a saxophone. As a result they restricted the airflow somewhere in the back of the oral cavity in an effort to replicate the more familiar feeling of resistance when they play.

I'm not certain of the physiology involved in this blockage of the air stream, however I do know that the solution was to have the student 1) simulate the first part of a yawn, 2) sing "AHHH" on the lowest note they can, 3) blow a warm stream of air as if to fog a cold mirror. In my own experience taking vocal lessons as a music major in college, one of the issues my teacher tried to correct was my tendency to tighten the throat area when trying to reach high notes. I have always equated this with what I have observed and tried to correct teaching beginning band students.
 

Jazzaferri

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Victoria BC Canada
should have listened to your advice when I first joined the Café!
My playing time is very limited, maybe an hour on a Saturday Morning and sometimes 2 hours on a Sunday morning, so I generally just have a good blow. I could practice in the evenings but I have to play at a whisper which I have always found this very frustrating.
Would you think it detrimental if I practised long tones and overtones playing at a whisper on a regular basis?
Absolutely. My practice used to be 4-5 hours a day. Now I try and get an hour but if its going to be a short one my first priority is long tones and overtones. Playing quietly is even more difficult and requires more control than playing loud. 15 min of pp long tones will be a great challenge. Overtones are much harder to do pp so maybe learn them well in the time you can play at normal volume
 

Guenne

Senior Member
Messages
888
Location
Austria
I did see an exercise on YouTube where you play the lower octave while pressing the octave key. Apparently you can't hit the notes unless your throat is open,. Whether this is good practice I don't know
This is an exercise for air focusing/voicing. Can you do it?
 
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