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Beginner Vibrato/High to low/Softer Playing

BetterJustin

New Member
Messages
3
Location
U.S.
Hello everyone,

I'm a beginner and I have been practicing long tones quite a bit and other beginner things. When I play it seems like the notes are strong and solid basically duck sounds or honking sounds. I often hear other beginners where it seems like the notes(sound of the saxophone) comes at the end of notes as softer, more echoed, and not as harsh. I can't figure out if this is just them having more breathe control and slowly the breath down at the beginning/ending of the notes or if it's some other technique.

Any help or insight would be very much appreciated.
 

John Setchell

Member
Messages
139
Location
Norfolk UK
Hello everyone,

I'm a beginner and I have been practicing long tones quite a bit and other beginner things. When I play it seems like the notes are strong and solid basically duck sounds or honking sounds. I often hear other beginners where it seems like the notes(sound of the saxophone) comes at the end of notes as softer, more echoed, and not as harsh. I can't figure out if this is just them having more breathe control and slowly the breath down at the beginning/ending of the notes or if it's some other technique.

Any help or insight would be very much appreciated.

Hi Justin and welcome!
Like you I’m a mature learner. I’m tenor and you’re sop - Right?
I don’t know how different the sop is to tenor, but I guess quite a bit. I started on alto and frankly didn’t fall in love with it, and my teacher (get a teacher Man!) told me to go hire a tenor. I did and am sticking with it.
Anyway I found the tenor VERY different to alto, so my experience may not be relevant to you, but I’m finding that breath control and sympathetic mouthpiece are pivotal. Enjoy the journey!
 

mizmar

Member
Messages
302
Location
Trondheim, Norway
I'm not sure I understand the problem description.
But, seems to me, playing anywhere from loud to soft while still maintaining a clear tone and being in tune - and not sounding like a deflating balloon or a duck choking on a peanut - is a long term skill. Practice long tones quite a bit is good but practicing them; legato, staccato, loud too soft (static and dynamic), etc. is the next step.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,755
Location
Burnley bb9 9dn
It's all in the embouchure. Oral cavity and breath control play a part too. The amount of lip on the reed and slight, very slight variations in pressure affect resistance and tone.
At first a player is pleased to make a sound. As the embouchure becomes educated more subtlety emerges.
While practicing long tones vary anything you can. Volume, vibrato, pitch, oral cavity(open the throat), breath control.
Blow harder but dampen the reed with the lip to maintain volume. It'll tingle at first.
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
786
Location
Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Listen to saxophone music as much as you can to broaden your ear of what sax sounds are possible. When you practice long tones, experiment as much as you can (as Colin advised) and observe what you are doing to get aspects of what you like.

As regards not honking, try having less mouthpiece in your mouth. But experiment with both more and less and observe what each tends to sound like. Less (pinched sound), more (honking).

Also, play a G long tone and steadily and slowly drop your lower jaw until no sound is possible. Many beginners are pressing too hard with their lower embouchure. As you drop, the sound volume should increase. Observe the sound you like best and how much pressure is associated.

Rinse and repeat! Have fun.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
8,385
Location
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
To achieve the most benefit, long tones should be practiced with clear goals or objectives, and not just played for the sake of playing "long tones".

One example is to play a tone for 30 seconds keeping pitch constant throughout using a tuner.
Another example is to play a tone for 30 seconds keeping the same dynamic level throughout.
A third example is to combine the two which can be challenging for even more experienced players.

One approach I found useful working with student's just starting out was to play on the "tone producer" which is the mouthpiece and neck apart from the saxophone. The target pitch for alto is Ab concert, the pitch for tenor is
E concert.

This is a thread I started a while back that contains some thoughts and ideas I picked up in my 32 years of teaching band that you might find useful.

Teaching Beginners To Play The Saxophone
 

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