Other Top Tips

Jani

New Member
Messages
5
Location
Helsinki
#44
Want to give my 2cents. I'm still beginner myself, so this might not be the most helpful thing. There might also be the possibility, that I've understood the whole concept of articulation/tonguing wrong, but who knows. Still manage to produce sound.

To my experience, you can practice tonguing just by whistling along your favourite songs. Just follow some instrument, or singer for more rapid changes, along and tap the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth, on note changes. This is, as I've understood, basically articulating without mouthpiece or without concentrating on embouchure.
Add some finger tapping, on note changes, to simulate keys.
Remember to stop the airflow for whistling with your tongue, not by closing your throat.

Would also recommend not to this kind of thing, if you work at office etc, as I imagine it being kind of obnoxious to others. :D
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,101
Location
leicester
#45
my advice is -

- have a good idea of what you want to achieve and work towards that goal - and don't let anyone tell you you can't. There's no place for negativity in the learning process.... "yes you can, but try doing it this way" is better than "no, don't do that it's too difficult for you" - positive advice is always more helpful.

- don't get too worried if you can't do something. The more you fret about it the more it'll become a mental block. It'll happen eventually. Learn at your own pace..

- don't be afraid to explore the instrument for yourself - it's your instrument, you paid for it, so find out what it can do... don't worry, you won't break it.

- practicing long tones isn't just about seeing how long you can hold a note for, there are very few occasions when that alone will be useful except for developing breath support.
Use long tones as an opportunity to develop control over the basic parameters of the saxophone - amplitude, pitch and timbre.
Practise dynamics and different attacks and decays, get your intonation together, explore different rates and depths of vibrato, practice overtones and pitch bends, explore the different sounds you can get by varying the shape of your oral cavity and tongue.. Growls, slurs, multiphonics, altissimo etc can all be done while playing long tones....
This makes long tones interesting and useful in a whole variety of different ways. Some of these techniques may not be relevant to the kind of music you want to play, so work on what will be of use to you
 

pknight11

New Member
Messages
21
#49
I was recently chatting to a 'mature' pro Saxophonist I know at a big band gig.
He said he didn't have a reed ready for his alto, but he'd show me what an old clarinet player had shown him.
He took his trusty 'Stanley' blade and cut a sizeable chunk out of the heart of the reed.
This seems to go against everything written on the subject, but it does the job.

As he said, 'it shortens the life of the reed, but it's ready now!'
He sounded great, as usual.

This kind of lore never finds its way into books.
Years ago I ran across similar advice to drill a hole (aprox 3/8 in diameter) halfway through the reed (not exactly at the heart of the reed, but further back on the vamp). I tried this by using my Dremel drill press setup. I seem to remember that I thought it was helpful in making the reeds more immediately playable. I no longer do this, in part because I am playing mostly Legere reeds nowadays.
 
Last edited:

altissimo

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,101
Location
leicester
#50
Years ago I ran across similar advice to drill a hole (aprox 3/8 in diameter) halfway through the reed (not exactly at the heart of the reed, but further back on the vamp). I tried this by using my Dremel drill press setup. I seem to remember that I thought it was helpful in making the reeds more immediately playable. I no longer do this, in part because I am playing mostly Legere reeds nowadays.
if you google 'Bootman's Reed Drilling process' you'll find a very old geocities site with pictures of his method of reed drilling
http://www.webring.org/l/rd?ring=saxophone;id=11;url=http://www.geocities.ws/reed_drilling/
and a thread on the other sax forum -
Reed drilling

 
Messages
260
Location
Long Island
#52
Practice with a metronome.
Start slow- slow enough to sight read it (almost sight read is good enough)- and once you get that perfect, bump the speed up 10%. If you mess up, even just a little, decrease the speed 5%. Continue until at desired speed. This will make you most consistent when you get it up to speed. Although it may seem like slow going at first, you will most likely end up learning the peice faster.
If you decide to try praticing this way, you will need to learn the peice in chunks and peice them together once you've got them.
Sometimes you will find yourself easily increasing the speed; other times, you will find yourself unable to play well and you'll just be dropping speed- maybe practice something else for a while when that happens.
You won't be able to pick up the sax and play right at the speed you left of at yesterday, but you should be able to start faster than 2 or 3 days ago. Evenutally, you will be abke to go full speed at the start.
 

jbtsax

old and opinionated
Subscriber
Messages
6,440
Location
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
#53
Don't play the notes---play the music. If you don't understand, someday you will.

Playing an instrument well is mostly mental. Do a lot of singing/saying your part and fingering.

My teacher used to say, "If you can say it, you can play it."
 

David Dorning

Senior Member
Subscriber
Messages
592
Location
Chichester, UK
#54
If you have a tricky piece to play, learn the last bar first. Then learn the last but one bar and add it to the bit you can play. Gradually work back to the beginning. You spend more time learning and less time repeating the bit you already know.
 
Messages
264
Location
Macon,GA
#55
Use a leak light at least once a month or sooner to make sure the pads are closing. Check the walls of the large tone holes to make sure that there is no buildup of deposits from moisture that drips down the body. Check the neck and body octave holes for sediment buildup. On the matter of rotating reeds I find that it is an excellent thing to do so that I have at least a dozen good responsive reeds ready to play at all times.
 
Messages
29
Location
Canada
#56
In case it hasn't already been said: Don't bite! Keep your jaw and teeth relaxed, your tongue out of the way of the reed (except when tonguing), and your lips sealed firmly around the mouthpiece.
 
Top Bottom