Great to see you this week again, and some good improvements from all! As mentioned earlier, I do recommend the mouthpiece patch/cushion (Vandoren makes a good one that’s not too expensive) – Sebastian purchased his and we noticed a significant difference this week, as well as it being more comfortable for his teeth/mouth. Highly recommended for both Riana and Dylan! Please don’t be shy and bring any music/material you are working on or want to work on, and look into purchasing my suggested method books as they will help us as we move along. Looking forward to next week, and good luck with the practicing!
Great improvement on the longtones Riana, your sound is coming along!
Continue to work on long tones as a regular part of your practice routine. Choose any note, and it doesn’t always have to be the same one (but one that is in a comfortable register of your instrument). Focus on sustaining the note for a longer period of time, using more air support from the diaphragm. Try to maintain a consistent tone and pitch as you increase and decrease dynamics.
When playing a middle C, remember our common fingering. Avoid using the trill fingering, as it will become potentially very cumbersome when you come across a faster passage of notes/musical phrase. Just in case you forgot, the fingering is all three fingers on both hands with right pinky on the top lower key (thumb key closed and octave key opened). Try not to overshoot the note, and send your air in a steady forward stream (instead of upwards). Don’t tense up your lower lip as you get higher in the register.
Remember to keep your clarinet a bit further in front of you, and not too close to your chest as that will constrict your air stream and send the air in an unsteady stream through the clarinet. Look forward to hearing you next week!
Great to see you again this week, Dylan. I suggest looking into a new strap for yourself, since the one you have is causing you issues and isn’t the easiest to use. There are neck straps that are a lot more comfortable, with cushions that will cause less stress on your neck and spine such as the Neotech Soft Strap.
Practice long tones at the start of every practice routine. Try to maximize your intake of air from the diaphragm and time the quiets-louds-quiets. You don’t have to tongue the first note of the long tone – try to use just air and let the note come from nothing.
Remember not to get loud too quickly. Maintain control of the pitch as you increase in dynamics, and don’t let the air spread out as you get louder. Don’t puff out your cheeks (too much if at all) as you crescendo.
When practicing tonguing, aim for a light tongue. Think of your tongue as a feather thats rising ever so lightly up and down. Try to avoid clicking the very tip of reed with your tongue. Try to be light and sharp, but not heavy as you tongue a string of notes. Continue practicing tonguing quarter-eighths-triplets-sixteenths, going through the sequence. I highly recommend practicing this at a very slow pace, maybe even with a metronome (you can buy one at a local music store or even use a Metronome App on a phone).
Continue practicing the C major scale/thirds. Try tonguing each note as you go up and down the scale, then every other note, and remember to be light with the tongue! See you next week and good luck!
Great to hear you again Sebastian! Thanks for getting the mouthpiece patch – you’ll find it very handy as we go along, especially when playing in the (often) boomier, lower register of the saxophone.
Remember to practice with a good posture. Try not to tilt your head too much as you play, and remember that you want a steady and comfortable (non-constricted) air stream as you blow. Start every practice routine with long tones, and try to really focus on the different tonal qualities of the saxophone. Try the various vowel shapes we tried in lesson, and remember to use warm air as you blow. Thinking of warm air, with your mouth in an “O” vowel shape, while the corners/tip of your mouth shape a V (around the mouthpiece so air doesn’t escape from the sides).
Practice the C major scale from the bottom C (remember the fingering with all keys closed and your right pinky). Try not to jump the octave when you hit the low D/E. Due to the overtone system on the saxophone, it is possible to land on notes in the upper register without pressing the octave key, and this can even be used for cool effects sometimes. Overtones play a huge role in tone development and sound on the saxophone. But for our purposes at this time, try to use the octave key when necessary (all notes after middle C) and try to really make those low notes have a full sound. As we go along and the low notes become easier to control we will start delving into overtones on saxophone and how we can practice them.
Try to associate the appropriate note names to every note you play as you slowly practice scales/read music.
Bring any material you would like to work on or are currently working on, and we will continue practicing our sight reading next week. Good luck and see you then!