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How to start learning to play saxophone

Christiania Class

Studying to play saxophone at first can be a little daunting until you start to get the sound out of the instrument. It’s recommended to start with an alto saxophone that you know for sure is in good condition. Why is it so highly recommended? – Because the soprano is more difficult to start with, it is difficult to find the perfect pitch and it requires more pressure in the mouth and in the case of the tenor, it needs more air. It is also heavier than the alto saxophone.

The most important thing is to never get frustrated. You must be patient with yourself. For some people it’s easier at the beginning, others not, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot learn how to play anyway.

At first, it is normal to get tired easily so you are supposed to study in intervals. Perhaps you should play for 15 minutes and then rest for the next 15 minutes. It’s recommended to use this way of practicing until you develop the muscles of your mouth and the diaphragm.

Here we are some tips for beginners:

Yamaha Saxophone

The breathing

For saxophone, the breath is used between diaphragmatic and intercostals, very similar to the technique used by singers.

One of the exercises that can be done to locate diaphragmatic breathing is to lie on your back by placing a heavy book on our abdomen, that way you will inhale through the nose inflating the belly and exhale deflating, trying to get the air does not go into the chest area.

 

The mouth

We must match the upper jaw with the lower teeth and support the nozzle and holster lower teeth with teeth lip so that we do not touch the cane at all.

You will not exert force from the bottom up but from the sides by putting the mouth as if you are making the letter “U”.

 

The position

The left-hand goes up and right down placing fingers close to the nacre, the height of the saxophone should be enough so you do not feel that is upon you or that you have to look around for it. It should be placed the way so you could comfortably put it into straight into your mouth and take the distance from it easily too.

 

The issue

Try blowing without inflating the cheeks or air through the sides, think that the air is directed between your two front teeth, like a laser beam trying to get an even sound in all registers. Start with the longest long notes, until you stay without fresh air because that’s when the diaphragm is fully exercised.

 

Fingering

Hands should be relaxed, the part of the finger that will support the saxophone is just where your fingerprints are, start only by pressing the index of the left hand finger and going down in the middle finger in order and cancel and then you should add the right-hand finger index, middle and ring but in each of the positions you are blowing up, running out of air and only then you should switch the positions. There will come the time when you are going to use this technique faster and the little fingers too.

Christiania Class

Benefits of learning something in a group

There’s a reason why we hold classes with multiple people, we try to avoid one on one sessions to keep things interesting. But here’s the view of the Jazzclub has on teaching in groups.

 

It is true that the work of teachers is developed, in many cases individually. The teaching itself has traditionally been an isolated endeavor: a teacher in front of his group of students. However, compared to many situations of isolation and professional individualism, many other teachers work more or less normally, with peers team level, cycle or department, even form groups or zone center. The collaborative situations are very different, but they all share an interest or need to act as a team: from the small group of teachers at a level that meets, preparing lessons for a week, to the cloister of a center that makes decisions joint regarding their educational project; from the groups belonging to the same area and level, to those formed by professionals with different initial training and teach in different materials and stages.

 

The benefits of teamwork

Before analyzing the advantages this entails collective activity we have to distinguish real collaborative work of other actions, although performed in a group, there can be a very low degree of interaction among its members. Working in teams, collaborating with colleagues, involves working for common goals, share some resources and adopt complementary roles with other members of the group. These shared goals generate all subsequent work and present most of the benefits that working together brings. The advantages that teamwork provides can be grouped under the following headings.

 

Reduces overwork

Although sometimes it may seem that teamwork increases the work, the reality is not that, because through collaboration loads and pressures that teachers work involves are shared. Often a vicious circle is created: we have no time to work together and therefore we do not benefit from the support that the group could offer to the development of our tasks.

 

It facilitates innovation and change

The coordinated action team of teachers and the existence of a shared and assumed common goal for all are basic elements for the initiation, development, and consolidation of all improvement processes. By bringing them together, through collaboration, people with different skills and interests, curriculum design is facilitated and enriched; further reducing the uncertainty that accompanies the joint work encourages teachers to take risks because they understand that failures will be interpreted as opportunities to learn. Teamwork also encourages creativity necessary in any innovative process and facilitates the integration of developments in the context of the school.

 

Promotes training and professional development of teachers

One of the most important benefits of teamwork is its ability to promote the professional development of teachers. Collaborate provides opportunities to learn because it increases the chances that teachers have to reflect together around their practice and, therefore, to learn together and develop professionally. The interactions that occur when working together lead to socio-cognitive conflict, which has a great mobilizing force of intellectual abilities by offering the possibility to help within the zone of proximal development, one in which we can learn and discover new aspects of reality with the help of colleagues.

 

Improves self-esteem and personal relationships and social

Teamwork is at the same time a possibility of personal development and a strategy for socialization. Belong to a group supposed to be part of a group that offers security and affection, as well as providing ample opportunities for personal growth through contact with beliefs, emotions and motivations present in the collective. The whole process is at stake with the collaboration also promotes social development of people by increasing their degree of social maturity and socialization resources. The collaboration thus becomes an experience of personal growth and social solidarity.

Group-1m

Parts of the saxophone

The saxophone uses a nozzle with one similar to clarinet rod, but with a hollow interior chamber round or square. The body of the saxophone is conical, making it more similar to the oboe of the clarinet properties. The difference is that the oboe has a single cone tube and most saxophones have a bell curve that distinguishes them. Among the soprano and sopranino saxophones it is more common to find them straight to curved, and although high and straight tenors also exist, are rarer. There is debate among musicians about the effect of the curvature in tone.

With a simple fingering, the modern saxophone is generally considered an easy instrument to learn, especially when it comes from other woodwinds, but despite this considerable amount of practice and work is required to achieve a tone color and correctly tuned up.

The saxophone is not a brass but woodwind instrument. Since it’s mainly made of brass, it’s often very confusing for people who are first starting to learn about the saxophone. The part of the saxophone that creates the sound is actually the reason why this instrument belongs to the woodwind category. Made out of cane, which is similar to bamboo, Reed is one of the most important parts of the saxophone.

 

Reed

Just like clarinets, saxophones use a single reed. However, these are generally wider and shorter than the clarinet. Typically, the tabs are made with a common reed, but from the 20th Century, they have also been made of fiberglass rods. These rods are more durable but are generally considered to have a lower tonal quality. The size of the cane also depends on the type of saxophone (alto, tenor, baritone, bass, bass etc.) to which it is intended. Reeds are commercially distributed depending on a large number of brands, styles, and calluses. Each saxophonist experiments with reeds of hardness and different materials to find the right for their mouthpiece and playing style. Hardness is usually measured using a numerical scale from 1 to 4 (with intermediate degrees), the 4, the hardest and the softest 1 (except the baritone saxophone whose number reaches 5).

mouthpiece-diagram

  • Mouthpiece

The saxophone uses a nozzle with one similar to the clarinet reed too, although it is higher than the saxophone and has a hollow round or square inner chamber. It is also wider than the clarinet. The saxophone mouthpiece also lacks the cover assembly by a cork that clarinet mouthpiece has because the saxophone shank is inserted directly into the mouthpiece while that part of the mouthpiece of the clarinet is inserted above the instrument. The most important difference between a mouthpiece saxophone and clarinet mouthpiece is that the saxophone mouthpiece should enter the mouth at an angle more or less flat than the clarinet.

  • Neck

The neck of the saxophone is the accessory that makes the reed fixed on the nozzle. There are many people who say that the neck does not alter the sound and is an unimportant part, reaching the point of having saxophonists using plastic clips for this purpose, but like changing a nozzle or cane, it can get a totally different sound. There are several types of necks; metal, fabric, and leather.

  • Body

The body is surely one of the most important parts of the saxophone. Through it, the sound amplifies by vibrating inside the body. You can create different note and pitch by changing the length and pressure while holding the keys down.

  • Neck strap

This part stands more like an accessory than its relevance. It’s a strap looped on the back side through the eyelet.

  • Thumb Hook$_35

A shaped piece of plastic or metal, used to balance the weight of the saxophone.

  • Thumb rest

This part is used to balance the saxophone by placing the left thumb on it.