Hi Dylan and Sebastian,
It was great to hear you both play again following the March Break. Thanks, Dylan, for getting the Technique of the Saxophone method book; that will be a great aid! Sebastian, I hope you’re able to take care of the saxophone or find another one to borrow/loan before next lesson – best of luck!
Good work this week, Dylan! Start your practicing with the long tones, and don’t get ahead of yourself on this exercise. Remember it is equally a lesson in patience/focus as it is in tone quality. Really try to catch the subtleties in the tone as you go from no sound at all, shaping into a note rising in volume and gradually fading back into no sound. Try to aim for a warmer sound. In order to achieve this effect, the air you blow into the saxophone would resemble the air you use to fog up a mirror (warm and low). Think of where you tongue is positioned throughout the long tone, and remember to maintain a consistent pitch throughout the exercise.
Continue practicing all the scales we have done up till now (C, G, Bb, F
Practice exercises #121-124 in the method book. These are the same scales (C, G, Bb, F) in a few varying forms/patterns. Watch your tone and smoothness between notes in the upper register (try to avoid a nasally/pinched sound for the higher notes). Work through these exercises the same way I described for the scales, above (slow and aiming for optimal accuracy). Try to lighten up on the tongue when you play.
Explore other articulations! Don’t always tongue each note, and try to play more legato as well. Follow along with the articulation markings in any musical pieces you come across.
Look forward to hearing you soon, good luck with the practicing!
Great to see you hear you again after the March Break, Sebastian. I understand you didn’t practice too much over the break, so let’s aim to pick it up over the next few weeks we have! Hope you’re finding a resolution to the broken saxophone, as that will impede your ability to play some of the material for both our exercises and potentially any school pieces. Just in case, it is the side keys on the right, where (if I recall) it is the Bb key that is getting trapped on the top of another key, which will block access to several other notes within a certain range of the saxophone. It shouldn’t be too difficult a fix hopefully, best of luck!
We were fortunate enough that we required a good workout on long tones, which didn’t involve the broken key! Please continue to work on long tones if you find another saxophone in the meantime. This exercise will greatly help you in getting back into shape on the saxophone, especially after having not played it for a while. Really focus on the tone quality, and maintain a steady sound as you move through the changing dynamics. Remember you can start from a volume that is a lot quieter than you think. Aim to be sending the sound out of complete silence.
Support the air a lot more from the diaphragm. You have a lot more lung capacity than you sometimes display! Use all that air to support the sound and give it a bottom end, so it doesn’t come out too brittle. Pace yourself throughout each long tone, and don’t give up on the note at the end. Always aim for a symmetrical dynamic increase and decrease. Remember to relax your body and jaw as you are playing, as you want to be using a comfortable/natural posture and embouchure.
Continue practicing the school piece when you get the chance. Watch the timing and sound of the bottom Bb. Try not to tongue the low Bb too hard, as it might pop out a bit too much (since it is already a very low and dynamic note as it is). Watch the rhythms that you have in the melody, and any small rhythmical changes that occur within it. Before playing a passage on the saxophone, practice clapping and singing the line (along to a metronome) to stabilize your sense of time and understanding. Best of luck!