Great improvement this week, and a very productive lesson! Looking forward to seeing you after the break and happy practicing!
Long tones: Continue starting your practice routine with long tones, and aim for your sound to come out of complete nothingness when you start, building into a full round tone. Keep the pitch steady throughout the quiets and loads. Remember that your tongue position will have an effect on the pitch, which can be used to your advantage in keeping the note in tune.
Remember to not place your right hand pinky underneath the key when playing the low E and/or middle B fingering.
Scales: Continue practicing the chromatic scale. We explored a higher range of the clarinet at our last lesson. Keep practicing those fingerings and striving to hit the notes, but don’t strain yourself. Remember to take breaks, drink water, and keep your fingers/hands and posture relaxed – especially when playing in an unusual range and new fingerings!
Keep practicing the band pieces that you are working on. Practice with a metronome to establish a pulse for yourself (especially in the absence of a conductor/band). Go through the songs very slowly, aiming for precision and accuracy as well as musicality. Observe dynamics and accents, and try to maintain a warm tone throughout the pieces (especially on notes that have a more open sound, i.e. middle G, Bb, etc). Good luck!
Long tones: Remember to always start with long tones as they are an effective way to improve your tone quality as well as warm up your sax right after you take it out of your case. Work on warming up the sound – think about fogging up a mirror (warm air). Keep your mouth relaxed, and try to get the smoothest entrance and exit out of the long tone as you can.
Scales: Practice your scales very slowly, and make sure that every note speaks (especially in the low end, i.e. low Bb, B, C). Make sure you don’t jump up the octave accidentally for the low notes. Try using both the side Bb key that I showed you at our last lesson, as well as the one you’re most used to at the moment (“bis” key). Aim for a more consistent tone throughout the various ranges of the saxophone; try matching notes in the lower octave to their corresponding note in the higher octave, and vice versa.
Explore your tongue and air position as you play long tones, scales and any ensemble pieces. Try to find that place on the reed that I showed you, where you can play lightly and effectively without clipping the sound or playing with too heavy a tongue.
Band pieces: Good work on the band pieces. Continue practicing them at a slower tempo, watching for rhythmic accuracy (remember there’s a few spots in the pieces where the notes are the same, but the rhythm is slightly different, so keep an eye out where you are in the music and try to follow along with a metronome). Clapping out the rhythms helped with your accuracy in playing, so I would suggest practicing along to a metronome and clapping out the song/singing it before playing it on the sax. Watch the last few systems of the first page of the band piece we looked at (the melodies and rhythm were improving by the end of the lesson). Make sure to look over them during the break, and keep up the good work!
Happy March Break! Hope you have a great time off of school, and good luck with the music!