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Beginner Easier to play quietly than I thought?

rotate

Member
Messages
49
Have read that beginners cant play quietly. And teacher always wants me to play very loud.

But this is a bugger for practicing because have to go to church yard.

Discover it is easy to play quietly, quieter than a recorder which is what I'm used to playing. So can practice at home.

Puzzled therefore about all the stuff on this site about going to fantastic lengths with soundproofing. Surely you could practice very quietly at home most of the time and then go to the metaphorical church yard when you want to do the loud?
 

GsySaxMan

Member
Messages
91
Can you please tell me what the secret is rotate, when a score is marked with a p I start to get a little nervous!

I did start another thread on the subject, and the general consensus was that it comes with both practise and experience; so any technique that you have discovered and might like to share would be very much appreciated.

Cheers,
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
When I found I could do it and stopped to analyse it, I found I was pushing less air out, using similar pressure/support, and tightening my embouchure to maintain pitch and the sound - not tightening as in pressing down harder on the reed, but tightening as in keeping the reed closer to the mouthpiece.

I know it sounds as if there are a few contradictions here, but it's what's working for me.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,953
Practising playing quietly is all very well, but if your gig demands that you play full on, then that's how you have to practise.

I find that most of my students play quietly at first and I have to coax loud out of them. Some, though, are the other way round. It's rare to find someone that can do both comfortably.
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,556
Can you please tell me what the secret is rotate, when a score is marked with a p I start to get a little nervous!

I did start another thread on the subject, and the general consensus was that it comes with both practise and experience; so any technique that you have discovered and might like to share would be very much appreciated.

Cheers,
I find it's a bit like whispering - you only need to put out enough air to hold the note. In fact I have found that when I do play p I seem to stand in a smaller stance - a bit like trying to hide in a corner - I guess it's all part of feeling the notes as well

:))):)))
 

rotate

Member
Messages
49
Can you please tell me what the secret is rotate, when a score is marked with a p I start to get a little nervous!

I did start another thread on the subject, and the general consensus was that it comes with both practise and experience; so any technique that you have discovered and might like to share would be very much appreciated.

Cheers,
I semi knew I was deluding myself when I made the post. It turns out I'd just discovered a particularly happy, soft, reed; even that does not always work.

Not qualified to offer advice but if you only put a small amount of mouthpiece into the mouth this produces quietness. The teacher does not like this, c.f. Nick Wyver above presumably.
 

Sunray

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,708
Nah!! Don't play to softly ...

:w00t: Bugger that quiet playing stuff ...

The bloody neighbours will move back in ... :)))
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
When I first started playing the sax (only about a month ago), I found it almost impossible to sound a note without sounding like the fog horn on an ocean liner. However, just with the very little practice I've had thus far (and not even close to being daily practice) I already have it down to a comfortably volume level that I would at least call (normal instrument level). I'm getting better at playing softer all the time.

Although, having said this, I think if I were playing a duet with a flute I'd still be totally overwhelming the flute. So I'm not sure if I lay claim to playing "P". Maybe just "mp". And certainly not "pp" or "ppp".

There are also certain notes that I still don't have under control yet too. But I'm definitely gaining better control all the time. Of course, if I wasn't that would truly be frustrating. So I'm happy to see progress!
 

saxyman

Member
Messages
267
Its all down to control, I find that when I am playing along with others the arrangement requires me not to block out others i.e. clarinets Flutes etc.
Nice to be nice and loud when soloing though.
I actually like to play parts that have to be quieter as I feel that I am more in control and as a beginner that boosts my confidence.
 

rotate

Member
Messages
49
I semi knew I was deluding myself when I made the post. It turns out I'd just discovered a particularly happy, soft, reed; even that does not always work.

Not qualified to offer advice but if you only put a small amount of mouthpiece into the mouth this produces quietness. The teacher does not like this, c.f. Nick Wyver above presumably.
Should have said also that put the cover, the muslin cover for the instrument, down the bell - it's the only treatment it understands.:)

Just had an object lesson: The girlie next door just banged on the door: "Your little trumpet" .... "The little one's trying to sleep." I honestly thought I was playing very quietly. So don't know what to think.

Anyroad don't want an ASBO, you know I'd probably die. Great thanks to Tony Blair and the American master-race.
 

Sunray

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,708
Lmao ...

Sorry mate ... :shocked:

I know it's not really funny ... :)))

But you will have to join the rest of those "many persecuted Sax players" who sneak off in the middle of the night to some isolated car park [or cliff top] where they can blow there horn without fear of being hung out to dry for disturbing the peace ...


PS - I am OK - My neighbours moved out a week after I got my girls ... [Alto & Tenor] ...
 

rotate

Member
Messages
49
Sorry mate ... :shocked:

I know it's not really funny ... :)))

But you will have to join the rest of those "many persecuted Sax players" who sneak off in the middle of the night to some isolated car park [or cliff top] where they can blow there horn without fear of being hung out to dry for disturbing the peace ...


PS - I am OK - My neighbours moved out a week after I got my girls ... [Alto & Tenor] ...
Great. It is quietening to know, obviously, that there are others. Bit like being a werewolf.
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
PS - I am OK - My neighbours moved out a week after I got my girls ... [Alto & Tenor] ...
Coincidence???

The house next door to me is empty at the moment (since before I started playing). I can practice at all sorts of silly times. I'm quietly hoping it doesn't sell too quickly. Would it be unethical to peer out of the windows and start blasting away when anyone comes to view it? Nah, thought not.
 

singlereed

Member
Messages
124
Another thing is worth checking - your saxophone needs to be working properly to play quietly. When I am checking that mine is in proper adjustment, softly blown notes at the bottom will not work if there are leaks. Of course, when you are a new player, you don't know any difference and I played a leaky sax with some difficulty to start with. Get your teacher or an experienced player to check your horn. That said, I agree, I would encourage a new player to develop volume at first as a major shortcoming with many new players is lack of air support and playing it loud helps correct that amd learm how it feels to play the sax; it needs quite a lot of energy to get it to respond.
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Sorry mate ... :shocked:

I know it's not really funny ... :)))

But you will have to join the rest of those "many persecuted Sax players" who sneak off in the middle of the night to some isolated car park [or cliff top] where they can blow there horn without fear of being hung out to dry for disturbing the peace ...


PS - I am OK - My neighbours moved out a week after I got my girls ... [Alto & Tenor] ...
I once (in 1900 & frozen to death) went to the local courting spot with a friend, and a couple of ladies?.
After a while I got bored, so, got the bari out of the band wagon, threw a blanket over my head and walked round the place honking bottom Bb. One car started up and prepared to move off, I said sorry mate - I won't say what he said, but to my surprise, it was two blokes!!!
I often wonder how many little 'uns got started because of my drunken stupidity!
 
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rotate

Member
Messages
49
Another thing is worth checking - your saxophone needs to be working properly to play quietly. When I am checking that mine is in proper adjustment, softly blown notes at the bottom will not work if there are leaks. Of course, when you are a new player, you don't know any difference and I played a leaky sax with some difficulty to start with. Get your teacher or an experienced player to check your horn.
Got the teacher to play the horn on similar advice. He said there was no problem.

However put a photograph of the sort of top pillar on a saxophone site, may have been this one can't remember. And some incredibly knolegable party, edits some sort of saxophone almanac or something, said it had been put together wrongly in the factory, China. There was no way the pillar could have been bent and twisted with a blow because this would have done much damage to the rest of it. He said sod the teacher a good player can play a bin bag, sort of thing. He said should try to get money back.



I find this credible: the rod upon which the G key-pad rotates is obviously bowed and the screw holding this rod into the top pillar is proud. At the factory they appear to have compensated for the deformed pillar.

Any thoughts would be helpful.
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
This is one of the risks one takes when buying directly from China. Chinese factories, especially some of smaller ones, are not keen to put something down to experience. They would rather "fix" a product if it can be salvaged. I would think that in your case the decision was made the saxophone was playable, and the shape of a particular part was no bar to it remaining playable.

This of course is also partly the reason why Chinese saxophones bought through a reputable distributor are more expensive. These distributors make sure that proper quality control is exercised before the item is sold.

The problem you have described does seem to be rather less common now. You read of lots of people buying perfectly satisfactory saxophones over the internet from China. But in the end it as usual caveat emptor.
 
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rotate

Member
Messages
49
This is one of the risks one takes when buying directly from China.

This of course is also partly the reason why Chinese saxophones bought through a reputable distributor are more expensive. These distributors make sure that proper quality control is exercised before the item is sold.

The problem you have described does seem to be rather less common now. You read of lots of people buying perfectly satisfactory saxophones over the internet from China. But in the end it as usual caveat emptor.
Bought it from a local, high street music shop. Manufacturer guaranteed for a year. If I'm ignorant my capacity for vigilance is limited.
 
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