Great to see you this week! Thanks for getting the mouthpiece patches, and keep up the good work. Look forward to seeing you all next week!
Continue practicing long tones. Remember to focus on the differences you can produce in tonal quality depending on where your tongue is positioned and where you direct your air stream. Practice good posture during long tones, and dedicate a lot of slow, focused work on the long tones (don’t be too hasty – and try not to let the note cut off too abruptly at the end). Aim to have as gradual a start and finish to the long tone as possible.
When practicing the band piece, remember to go very slow at first. Try to really fall into the tempo of the piece even before you start playing. Be thinking of the tempo before and as you’re taking a breath.
When you have long notes, it will help to subdivide the time (if you are in 4/4 time, think of subdividing quarters at first: 1, 2, 3, 4 – but also try and imagine the smaller pulses such as eighths: 1+, 2+, 3+, 4+, triplets, etc). This will help solidify the time and establish better rhythmic clarity. Try to practice every line individually and at a very slow pace, before speeding it up. Playing along to a metronome will aid in providing a rhythmical pulse (foundation by which you can check that you are playing with rhythmic accuracy).
Always think about the most musical possible way that you can play the line. So, be aware of dynamics as they happen and any accents that might appear. Playing expressively and following these first guidelines will help guide the musical flow of the line.
We’ll work on more long tones, scales, and reading the band piece through next week (with a focus on the song, as you have the performance the following week). Good luck!
Continue practicing long tones, but try to always be aware of how you can be improving the tone and starts/finishes of the long tone. Long tones are a very focus-oriented exercise, and you have to always be keenly aware what small changes in your embouchure, air stream, and tongue position can do and how they can effect/alter the tone and timbre of a note.
Continue practicing through the arpeggios and scales, and remember to start by going very slowly. Think about connecting the notes smoothly when going in between notes (especially in the upper register of the sax). Practice the high E fingering. The tone of the sax in the upper register can have the ability to get shriller, brighter, or even spread out (due to the open nature of the C, D, E, etc). Keep your mouth and embouchure relaxed (don’t tense up and don’t over-blow). Your tongue position and air stream will have a large effect on how warm and in tune these higher notes sound. Try matching the tuning and timbre of the note in the higher register to the same note down an octave (high D, and middle D).
Practice the band piece with a metronome to solidify your sense of time. It’s alright to go very slow, focusing on tuning and tone (as well as rhythmic and general accuracy). Good luck on your upcoming performance, hope it goes well! Happy practicing!
Try to find some time in your schedule to pick up and practice the sax (even if it’s for 5-10 minutes at a time). Any practice will help develop and improve your sound and general musicality on the saxophone. Remember to give the sax a little warm up, and double check that all the keys are in order (none of the keys are sticking, etc). Start your practice with long tones, aiming to get the most control possible out of both the quietest and loudest dynamics. Keep you jaw relaxed and try not to tense up in the mouth/embouchure or posture.
Try to print out the photo you took of the exercise (or purchase the book if you can, as it will help in our later lessons as well). Practice the scale/arpeggios, and try to control the bottom end of the sax. Start looking into practicing the over tones on the sax that we looked at, particularly the note that sounds just an octave above (middle B or Bb, depending on which lowest note you’re fingering).
Try to go very slowly when playing through the exercise or any musical passage, and associate the fingerings with its respective note name and position on the treble clef. Keep a fingering chart nearby to help with that kind of association as you practice through scales and exercises that are more common to you. We will look into practicing some sight reading to help keep you from always using your ears to guide you (although your ears are highly highly important and yours are great, reading is equally important and will help down the line)! Good luck with your practicing and I hope you can find some more time this week!
See you all next week! Good luck everyone!