Tutorials

Greetings from a Norwegian wind-instrument teacher

Esca

New Member
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9
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Norway
The title says it all really. My main instrument is cornet, but I suddenly find myself with some woodwind pupils and so I've decided to pick up the instruments I know nothing about, saxophone being one of them. It does go a lot quicker as I already know how to play a couple of instruments. Still, there are bound to be things I can't figure out on my own, so I'm hopeful I can get some guidance here :)
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
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840
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New Mexico, US
Certainly quicker than starting from scratch, but IMHO as a low brass player originally, I still find the Sax to be a very quirky, somewhat compromised, and at times counter-intuitive.... invention :oops:


Have fun !
 
OP
E

Esca

New Member
Messages
9
Location
Norway
Certainly quicker than starting from scratch, but IMHO as a low brass player originally, I still find the Sax to be a very quirky, somewhat compromised, and at times counter-intuitive.... invention :oops:


Have fun !
Honestly, the one I'm struggling with the most is the flute. The clarinet and sax I can make sound alright, and I'm picking up the grips fairly quickly, but the flute is a whole other thing. 10 minutes in and I got a cramp in my thumb o_O

I do wonder about the tuning between notes on the sax though....
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
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Sitting with a tuner it seems a bit all over the place :p

I just can't make up my mind if it's a bug or a feature
Tuners are evil!
Saxophones are evil too, but more pleasant and useful than tuners

The trick is to position to mouthpiece on the correct place on the cork.
Then practise a lot.

Not as easy as it sounds
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
840
Location
New Mexico, US
Sitting with a tuner it seems a bit all over the place :p

I just can't make up my mind if it's a bug or a feature
First off: have the sax checked to make sure it is in good playing shape; no leaks , etc. And have the tech check the keyheights...which can effect intonation up and down the registers.

Then if all of that seems pretty good....no horn issues....for steady intonation, practice long tones. Perhaps you know of a sax player who can help you with that ?
 
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Esca

New Member
Messages
9
Location
Norway
First off: have the sax checked to make sure it is in good playing shape; no leaks , etc. And have the tech check the keyheights...which can effect intonation up and down the registers.

Then if all of that seems pretty good....no horn issues....for steady intonation, practice long tones. Perhaps you know of a sax player who can help you with that ?
Ah, I mean difference in tuning between notes. I can hold a note just find, but when playing two different notes one is flat and the other is sharp.
 

aldevis

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Ah, I mean difference in tuning between notes. I can hold a note just find, but when playing two different notes one is flat and the other is sharp.
It depends which notes you are talking about.

C1-C2-C3? (Work out the nomenclature)
C1-C#1?
A1-A2?

They can be symptoms of very different issues.

As long as you keep in mind that a saxophone is not a tempered keyboard: tuning comes from the player
 

aldevis

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Ah, I mean difference in tuning between notes. I can hold a note just find, but when playing two different notes one is flat and the other is sharp.
I can tell you how I start tuning:
I play a C minor (13) on the piano, with the pedal.
Then (on alto) I play an A minor (dorian) scale and find the right position for the mouthpiece.
After that pracice comes into the game
 

Wade Cornell

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New Zealand and Australia
If your sax is OK then it's a matter of embouchure. You've potentially got a great advantage as a brass player. To be good on any brass instrument you need to hear the note in your head to ensure that the right note comes out. You adjust your embouchure to ensure the right note/harmonic comes out and the tone is good. The sax isn't like piano or other tuned instruments. You also need to hear the tone and adjust your embouchure. It's different (of course) but the principle is the same. Most beginners can't play a sax in tune, however you (as an experienced musician) can hear when you are on pitch, where other beginners can't. Most beginners just blow and wiggle their fingers expecting that they've hit the notes. They are concentrating on reading and playing those notes. When/if they start to become aware of their tuning problems it's a slow process for them to correct as they (generally) can't hear the note they are playing until after it's been played. As an experienced brass player you always hear the note first, so adjustment can be learned and applied much more quickly.

Although the embouchure for flute is also totally different, the same applies with the shape of the embouchure giving the right note and good tone. Both instruments are much easier than brass, but it will take some time for you to master these.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
840
Location
New Mexico, US
Ah, I mean difference in tuning between notes. I can hold a note just find, but when playing two different notes one is flat and the other is sharp.
I understand. Intonational quirks, and difficulties with certain notes as you mention in your other thread, could either be newbie blowing issues OR it could be the sax has leaks or its keyheights are poorly regulated.

So the actual piece of hardware in your hands needs to be checked to make sure it is performing acceptably. You don't know how MANY beginning players out there report problems they have been having for week,s months...only to discover their horn was in need of a servicing and it was not them.

A beginner playing a horn not regulated and leak-free can develop bad habits very quickly.
 
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