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Studies Free video lesson and PDF for beginners

geg1700

New Member
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London
Hi everyone,

today I would like to share one of my free lessons I am offering as part of my saxophone teaching course along with an 18 page PDF ebook for beginners.

Normally I would ask users to sign up on my homepage before they get access to this. However I'm going to give you access to this without asking anything in return.

http://www.saxophoneguru.com/free-sax-lesson/

enjoy!
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Just north of Munich
Warning. I took a look at this. It's aimed at absolute beginners, but I wouldn't recommend it for them. Some of the content looks as if it's been lifted from here.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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A pic's been posted here. Also comments about the break point on the mouthpiece. The whole thing gives the impression of being written by someone who's read a few books/web sites and made a few notes. It's not accurate and doesn't show any real understanding.

I toyed with the idea of deleting the post, but decided to let it stand, with comments, so that people can see what it really is and that we don't endorse it.
 

jbtsax

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Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
To get a concept of what "depth of understanding" is with regard to saxophone pedagogy I recommend watching this set of videos produced by Eugene Rousseau Steps to Excellence. Another way to learn what saxophone teaching is all about is to study this book The Art of Saxophone Playing by Larry Teal.

While I applaud the ambition and exuberance of a young player to share what he has learned with others, I also feel that teaching the saxophone is far too important to be left to amateurs on the web who can at best only make generalized comments that can be easily misunderstood and create barriers for those learning to play.

Let me put it this way. I know a lot less today at age 66 after a master's degree in music, a 32 year music teaching career, and 55 years experience playing the saxophone than I did at age 19 right out of high school. :)
 

Jamesmac

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,872
Hi everyone,

today I would like to share one of my free lessons I am offering as part of my saxophone teaching course along with an 18 page PDF ebook for beginners.

Normally I would ask users to sign up on my homepage before they get access to this. However I'm going to give you access to this without asking anything in return.

http://www.saxophoneguru.com/free-sax-lesson/

enjoy!

I listened to the video up until you described curling your bottom lip around the bottom teeth and then inserting the mouthpiece into the mouth. My experience is, that if you ask a beginner to do that, the result when they push the mouthpiece in the mouth it has a tendency to push the lip too far over the teeth. which is a big problem. Better to ask the student to place the top of the mouthpiece on the top teeth, with the mouth open, then with the bottom lip curl it slightly around the bottom teeth and close the mouth.. I also ask them to feel the muscle in the bottom lip, and ask them try and place the teeth there, and feel a cushion effect.
 

Colin the Bear

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15,183
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Burnley bb9 9dn
Being able to play doesn't mean being able to teach. I've played a long time. I don't think I'd make a good teacher. When some beginners post problems I am at a loss to think of an explanation for the cause of the problem or a solution. Then one of the teachers comes on and posts a simple, direct explanation and solution which seems so obvious it amazes me. Players offering help to other players is great. Wanting paying for it....well.....nice try.
 

gregerhillman

Member
Messages
52
Locality
Sweden
I listened to the video up until you described curling your bottom lip around the bottom teeth and then inserting the mouthpiece into the mouth. My experience is, that if you ask a beginner to do that, the result when they push the mouthpiece in the mouth it has a tendency to push the lip too far over the teeth. which is a big problem. Better to ask the student to place the top of the mouthpiece on the top teeth, with the mouth open, then with the bottom lip curl it slightly around the bottom teeth and close the mouth.. I also ask them to feel the muscle in the bottom lip, and ask them try and place the teeth there, and feel a cushion effect.

We have similar experience Jamesmac. I agree that focusing on the placement on the top teeth works a lot better. That will often help getting the right position of the mouthpiece fairly quickly.

Having a tight jaw, almost like biting, doesn't work as it prohibits the reed from vibrating. No vibration = no sound! (or just squeeks!)

Aiming for that cushion effect is also the way I teach. My personal taste is to not fold the lower lip over the lower teeth at all, but it's different for every player and what works for me may not be right for others.

I took a look at the video and I don't agree with that folding the lower lip technique, which I've discussed in this forum before. However, he's getting a sound in the saxophone and it seems to be working for him.

In my experience this is something that's quite hard to nail down in a video. (I've tried it myself, but it's also one of my videos that I get the most beginner questions from.)

My solution for that online has been to do Skype Calls with my beginner students, so that I can see the student live and help make adjustments.

I think it has to do with the fact that even though we are the same, we are still different. The anatomy of our mouths differ and there's probably not one "right way" to do it.
 

Jamesmac

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,872
We have similar experience Jamesmac. I agree that focusing on the placement on the top teeth works a lot better. That will often help getting the right position of the mouthpiece fairly quickly.

Having a tight jaw, almost like biting, doesn't work as it prohibits the reed from vibrating. No vibration = no sound! (or just squeeks!)

Aiming for that cushion effect is also the way I teach. My personal taste is to not fold the lower lip over the lower teeth at all, but it's different for every player and what works for me may not be right for others.

I took a look at the video and I don't agree with that folding the lower lip technique, which I've discussed in this forum before. However, he's getting a sound in the saxophone and it seems to be working for him.

In my experience this is something that's quite hard to nail down in a video. (I've tried it myself, but it's also one of my videos that I get the most beginner questions from.)

My solution for that online has been to do Skype Calls with my beginner students, so that I can see the student live and help make adjustments.

I think it has to do with the fact that even though we are the same, we are still different. The anatomy of our mouths differ and there's probably not one "right way" to do it.


There are I my opinion certain basic rules no matter the individual physical makeup.
These are more obvious and necessary with Clarinet than with sax, possibly the reason why most of the old timers could play both very well. A sax player with an unorthodox embouchure, usually has trouble with Clarinet, hence the term misery stick from a lot of sax players. You only need to look at at Sonny Stitt and realise that the sax can be played with all sorts of mouth shapes. But for a beginner on sax why not apply the normal rules, and let him/ her develop their own further down the road.
I think this is a very good video to watch.
Don Menza not only explains the embouchure but describes how he also can
Imitate other players sound, with changing the embouchure and air flow.

http://youtu.be/5Oc0VzGBPxY
 

jbtsax

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Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
The traditional saxophone embouchure has just enough of the lower lip pushed back to cover the top of the lower teeth. This allows the lower lip which is supported by the chin muscles and the muscles in the corners of the mouth to have a stable foundation on which to rest. The "lip out" embouchure may work for some individuals who focus on one particular style of music, but it is not suitable for all styles of playing. My philosophy in teaching is to give each student the proven fundamental tools of tone production as a beginner which will provide a foundation later on for experimentation in double lip, or lip out embouchures if the student chooses to create a specific sound or style.

An analogy that illustrates my philosophy would be that Kenny G, a great player plays out of the side of his mouth. Should Kenny G teach beginning players to start that way, because it works best for him?
 

BigMartin

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Manchester, UK
I came to the sax(es) from the clarinets and it took me a long time to realise how different the embouchures need to be. I think you have to treat them as completeley separate instruments, despite the apparent similarites. When I saw the video this thread relates to, I immediately thought "No, that's a clarinet techinque".

+1 for that Menza video, reallly impressive.
 

Jamesmac

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Messages
1,872
I came to the sax(es) from the clarinets and it took me a long time to realise how different the embouchures need to be. I think you have to treat them as completeley separate instruments, despite the apparent similarites. When I saw the video this thread relates to, I immediately thought "No, that's a clarinet techinque".

+1 for that Menza video, reallly impressive.


The Menza video shows that if you have a good embouchure, ie following the accepted rules, you can alter it to achieve lots of variations in the tone. I don't go for this idea that the clarinet embouchure is far removed from the sax, and I can prove it in how I sound on both instruments. With Sop Alto and Tenor. For me it's more a mental difference, and poss mouthpiece design. when I have a Clarinet in my hand, I want to play Mozart, but with Sax, the last thing I want to play is Mozart. Usually players that have what is re. A nice sound, usually carry that over on to different instruments.
 

gregerhillman

Member
Messages
52
Locality
Sweden
There are I my opinion certain basic rules no matter the individual physical makeup.
These are more obvious and necessary with Clarinet than with sax, possibly the reason why most of the old timers could play both very well. A sax player with an unorthodox embouchure, usually has trouble with Clarinet, hence the term misery stick from a lot of sax players. You only need to look at at Sonny Stitt and realise that the sax can be played with all sorts of mouth shapes. But for a beginner on sax why not apply the normal rules, and let him/ her develop their own further down the road.
I think this is a very good video to watch.
Don Menza not only explains the embouchure but describes how he also can
Imitate other players sound, with changing the embouchure and air flow.

http://youtu.be/5Oc0VzGBPxY

I agree with you that there are some basic and fundamental techniques which should be used when teaching, regardless of personal references.

I'm simply pointing out that, in the shoes of the beginner, it can be a challenge to implement a good position and embouchure without any feedback.

That's just the experience I've got from helping students get started online and why I think it's beneficial doing Skype calls to sort that out.

Having just Video lessons can be great, if structured properly.

However, I think more care (than just videos) and time is needed when working with total beginners, so that they can develop a good foundation to build on.

There's always room for improvement. Thanks for posting the video link. I'll check it out.
 

Jamesmac

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Messages
1,872
I used to fall asleep when I was teaching, especially on a hot summers day in a stuffy classroom. But I found if a beginner, from scratch was shown a good basic embouchure shape, they could make a presentable sound straight away. Occasionally there could be a bit of air escaping from the sides of the mouth, which I don't agree when you say in the vid that it's important to watch that. Much more important to keep the shape, the escaping air will sort its self out. Teaching via Skype is another story. Something that I have no experience.
 

BigMartin

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Manchester, UK
The Menza video shows that if you have a good embouchure, ie following the accepted rules, you can alter it to achieve lots of variations in the tone. I don't go for this idea that the clarinet embouchure is far removed from the sax, and I can prove it in how I sound on both instruments. With Sop Alto and Tenor. For me it's more a mental difference, and poss mouthpiece design. when I have a Clarinet in my hand, I want to play Mozart, but with Sax, the last thing I want to play is Mozart. Usually players that have what is re. A nice sound, usually carry that over on to different instruments.
IMO, a tight-lipped, clarinet-style embouchure doesn't allow enough flexibility in the saxophone sound. Vibrato, for example is much more difficult.

The "accepted rules" for me come from this book from a very successful sax deucator and player:

http://www.robbuckland.com/content/playing-saxophone-book-rob-buckland.

The methods in here have helped my sound enormously over the last year, and the first thing I needed to do was rethink my embouchure from scratch.
 

Jamesmac

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Messages
1,872
IMO, a tight-lipped, clarinet-style embouchure doesn't allow enough flexibility in the saxophone sound. Vibrato, for example is much more difficult.

The "accepted rules" for me come from this book from a very successful sax deucator and player:

http://www.robbuckland.com/content/playing-saxophone-book-rob-buckland.

The methods in here have helped my sound enormously over the last year, and the first thing I needed to do was rethink my embouchure from scratch.

I really can't see what the big deal is. Having a more concentrated approach on Clarinet, or looser on Tenor does not change the basic embouchure. You could say that from Sop to tenor has the same problems. Which is why a lot of Sax players have problems with the Sop. The difference in movement of the embouchure from the higher saxes is less pronounced than the lower. Ie from Sop to Tenor. The Clarinet differs only no1. Having less movt than the Tenor, and more similar in movement as the Sop and No2 the Clarinet doesn't have the same problems with the lower notes as the a Sax. Because the embouchure stays more uniform throughout the range.
 

Jamesmac

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1,872
PS. But when I have more movt when I play the bottom B, Bb on the a Tenor , I don't consider that I'm changing my embouchure , just allowing more movt. Perhaps you see that as a different embouchure.
I puff my cheeks slightly sometimes on a Tenor , ( never on clar.)but the anchor points stay the same.
 

BigMartin

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Manchester, UK
I really can't see what the big deal is.
I'm not sure there is one, really. But for me, the way I form the sax embouchure is very different than when I used to play clarinet. And it works much better that way (for me. YMMV of course). For one thing my lower teeth are much further from the mouthpiece, or to put it another way, my jaw is much (and I mean much) lower.
Having a more concentrated approach on Clarinet, or looser on Tenor does not change the basic embouchure. You could say that from Sop to tenor has the same problems. Which is why a lot of Sax players have problems with the Sop.
No, not for me. My baritone, tenor and sop (and even 'nino) embouchures are formed the same way, the only difference being adjustments for the size of the mouthpiece.
The difference in movement of the embouchure from the higher saxes is less pronounced than the lower. Ie from Sop to Tenor. The Clarinet differs only no1. Having less movt than the Tenor, and more similar in movement as the Sop and No2 the Clarinet doesn't have the same problems with the lower notes as the a Sax. Because the embouchure stays more uniform throughout the range.
My sax embouchure is (or rather can be, I'm still working on consistency) uniform throughout the range. Tongue and laryinx positions change, but not embouchure.
 

Jamesmac

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1,872
OK. Here is the basic problem. When you make a statement that the Clarinet tight lipped embouchure is very different to the Sax.
Did you have a good Clarinet embouchure in the first place.
Also you are still working on consistency with your Sax embouchure. That you say you changed from the way you played Clarinet.
Sorry Big Martin but it does not stack up.
My point is that the accepted traditional embouchure as JBT mentioned works for both, with minor adjustment, that you have even with the individual Sax,s

PS. I don't have a problem with a player saying that they found out that the way they played clar is different to how they play a Sax.
 
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