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Help with Sax sound

Hi everyone! 

New to the alto sax and i have a quick question, when i go to play i have about one or two seconds of just air and then the sound comes out fine - is this caused by my breathing, embouchure or reed? I have no idea? I just want a clean sound to come out the moment I begin. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! :)

Help with lower C#

Hi guys!

My daughter (11) has been really struggling with lower C# on her alto sax - she can play lower C and lower D nice and strong with any dynamics and articulation, but somehow the C# is a hit-or-miss affair for her. Her teacher suggested relaxing the embouchure a bit and putting more mouthpiece in, but it didn't seem to help much. Any suggestions will be much appreciated, but please note I am not a musician and I do not play any instrument myself so as plain English as possible, please. :-)
Also, any exercises you'd recommend? We've been trying interlaced scales (C, C#, D, C#, E, C#, etc.) and simple tunes so far.

Thanks!

Pawel

Help

I have been in my school band for 2 years. I went from elementary to middle school. We started in 6th grade and are now in 7th and I am a tenor sax. I currently gave problems with coming from over the break to some of the lower notes like F, F#, E, D, et cetera. If anyone has suggestions, please post some.

[article] Sax practice routine

One of the main problems every saxophone player faces at some point is: “what and how to practise”. I just wanted to share some experience and knowledge on the topic - I’ve been a practising saxophone player for about 18 years already. This is not a complete guide or an instruction, but a note containing some suggestions. Though I am more into practising improvisation now, I’ve tried to mention some more general practise activities here .
So let’s just go through an example of daily practice schedule:

  1. Breathing.
    Whenever I have time I get back to some breathing exercises (see my article on breathing) - 3-5 minutes or so - as breathing is one of the most important things for producing great sound, and cool sound is what we are constantly aiming for.

  2. Long tones
    - indispensable both for embouchure and for breathing skills. Moreover, different dynamics, cresc, dim, steady tone, etc. - at least 15 minutes. Be aware of your intonation and timbre during this exercise! You may want to use some tuner. Also read the article about embouchure posted in this group, I find it important. One of saxophone myths is that “only beginners should practise long tones”. I like to compare that with sports: every sportsman warms up before actually starting doing sports; long tones - is a warm-up for professional wind player, we need that to be in good shape, that’s of vital importance!

  3. Overtones*
    - practising overtones and matching them to standard fingerings. Try to match the “full” timbre and pitch of overtone when playing tones using “normal” fingerings. There are several books on the topic, a good place to start is the corresponding section of David Liebman’s “Developing a personal saxophone sound”

  4. Techniques you need:
    tonguing exercises for “junior” saxophonists , different articulations - for all sax players (it’s extremely helpful to start with simulating articulation of your favourite saxophonists, especially for jazz-oriented musician) for more advanced players the list might look like this: flutter tonguing, split tones (multiphonics), altissimo, growl, circular breathing, etc.

  5. Scales and arpeggios.
    All kinds of scales and arpeggios you need; a plenty of things for jazz players: all modes of major/minor scale, diminished and augmented scale, melodic minor scale (actually there are tons of scales, see the fundamental work of “Yusef Lateef “Repository of Scales and Melodic Patterns”) , triads and 7th/9th chords (including augmented ones) arpeggios, studying chord/scale theory (check Mark Levine’s “Jazz Theory Book”). David Baker’s “Creative.Approach To Practicing Jazz” is a good source of ideas. “ I am not too familiar with classical stuff, so feel free to post your thoughts and share your experience in comments.

  6. Exercises.
    Both classical (for developing your overall playing technique, like “Daily exercises for saxophone” by H.Klose) and jazz (elements you need for improvisation - enclosure, 3 to b9, licks and patterns:II-V7, all kinds of cadences, cycle of fifths, etc.. Just remember to practice things in all 12 keys whenever it is possible. Here are the authors of literature on the topic: Jerry Coker (co-writer of “Patterns for jazz” and the author of a bunch of other books), David Baker (“How To Play Bebop” in 3 parts, etc.), and, of course, the educational books with playalongs by Jamey Aebersold.

  7. Practising improvisation.
    That is: studying transcribed solos (and the process of solo transcription itself, of course) - remember analysing not only the notes played in different harmonic situations, but also the master’s articulation and time feeling (is he behind, before or on the beat?; learning tunes with chord progressions, applying patterns, licks and everything you’ve learnt in steps 5 and 6 and, finally, several minutes of “just improvising” to track your progress and just for pleasure. There is a really cool book called “Elements Of The Jazz Language For The Developing Improvisor” by Jerry Coker, I highly recommend it. The same author has an article entitled “How to practice improvisation” in his “Complete Method for Improvisation” book (part of this article was included in Jamey Aebersold’s “Jazz Handbook”)

If you have any questions or if you have something to add to this article - please don’t hesitate to do it in comments!

Young Composers' Online Orchestra- In need of woodwinds!!

Hey guys! This is a new ensemble I created a few days ago and we have a serious woodwind deficit as of now... we have three total woodwind players, compared to 7 violins and 14 synths.
I've posted this in a few other MuseScore groups in hopes of attracting a bit more attention to it, and it's worked so far! Here's the rest of the original post.

I'm creating an online  orchestra dedicated to performing the works of young composers and  putting the videos on YouTube. In the process, composers will get  feedback from performers, performers will get more experience playing in  different settings, and both will form connections that will be  extremely useful (hopefully) in the music industry long-term! It's also a  great chance for publicity.
Currently, I'm looking for performers, composers, and editors alike willing to help make this happen.

If you want to join, here's a link to a Discord server dedicated to making this happen! 
https://discord.gg/PxQpBgj
In anticipation of a few questions, here's an FAQ.
How will you coordinate this?
Our  current plan is to have one major piece every two months. Pieces will  be member-submitted and member-selected. Parts, an MP3 of the piece  being performed by synth instruments, and a metronome MP3 will be sent  out. Members will have these two months to work up their part(s) and  record themselves playing in time with the metronome that was sent. All  members will submit their parts to an official email for the orchestra,  which will be made at a later date. Editors will then take over and edit  the tracks together.
It will then be posted to an official YCOO YouTube channel with credits to the composer and performers in the description.

What instruments can join?
Currently,  standard orchestra and wind ensemble instruments. Non-standard  instruments may be accepted, but should not expect a part in every major  piece. Right now, we especially need woodwinds, specifically on flute/picc, saxophone, clarinet, and bassoon. We'd also love more low strings, like string bass and cello. But we won't turn you away if you already play an instrument we have lots of. The more, the merrier!

What kind of music will be played?
Orchestral  music, wind ensemble music, chamber music, solos. We currently plan to  only do original music by young composers but may be open to doing  covers once the group has been established.

Chamber music and solos? How will that work?
While  the major projects will happen every other month, members will be  allowed to arrange small ensembles. Chamber ensembles and solos will be  entirely member-run: members will choose a piece, form a small ensemble,  send out parts on their own, come up with their own deadlines, and edit  the audio and video on their own. Only when the product is complete  will it be sent up to us admins to publish it on the YouTube channel.

Is there an audition required?
No.  However, if you submit a track of low quality, it may not be used. (Low  quality can be defined as: badly out of tune, very bad audio quality,  not with the metronome, or played with a bunch of mistakes.)

Video? Will we have to submit videos of ourselves?
No. Submitting videos of yourself playing is entirely optional.

Do you have to play in every major piece?
Nope. We won't kick you out for inactivity.

If  you have any other questions let me know and I'll do my best to answer!  In case you don't want to scroll back up, here's that link again. 
https://discord.gg/PxQpBgj
Here's a link if you're interested but can't join the Discord so we can still get your information.
https://goo.gl/forms/H1QAmhsrpczM1ZGw2

Saxophone scores and groups

 Welcome to the Saxophone group! Here is some Information for you and links to sax scores and other sax-related groups on MuseScore.  

First of all, this particular group (Saxophone) is kind of “basic” saxophone group, containing discussions and articles about saxophone. To read an article - just scroll down after clicking the "discussions" section. You will recognize an article in "discussions" by the [article] prefix in its title.

You are very welcome to make more posts!  

Then, here are some links to other saxophone-related groups including sets of valuable saxophone scores:  

1) Saxophone ensembles group (quartets,quintets,etc.) - 
https://musescore.com/groups/saxophone-ensembles
2) Jazz Standards Lead Sheets
https://musescore.com/groups/jazz-standards-leadsheets
3) Sax arrangements group - saxophone arrangements of rock/pop music or movies’/games’ soundtracks      
https://musescore.com/groups/sax-arrangements
4) Sax solo transcriptions
https://musescore.com/groups/sax-solo-transcriptions
5) Collection of scores: sax solo or with accompanying instrument - https://musescore.com/groups/saxophone/discuss/5015764

Feel free to create discussions and articles, to add your scores and to comment!