all 30 comments

[–]mscman 11 points12 points  (14 children)

Reed strength is entirely subjective and personal. Same for reed brand/preferences.

Mouthpieces can make a world of difference in response/intonation depending on the horn. Again very personal preference.

The "beginners" embouchure of curling in/biting your lower lip typically taught in most band classes isn't great long term.

Scales are important.

[–]KirbyKoolAid 4 points5 points  (2 children)

I learned that my embouchure was terrible two weeks ago after having played for over ten years and I feel like I play ten times better already...

[–]mscman 2 points3 points  (1 child)

It's amazing what a difference such a minor adjustment can make.

[–]KirbyKoolAid 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The weirdest thing is that I was told off by my old teacher (who I'd had the entire time) if I didn't have my lip in, but the first thing my new dude said (after your posture is terrible, which I already knew - that comes from too much street band) was about the difference of lip placement, and reeled off a list of who played it like what. It was truly incredible to hear the difference.

[–]CaptainKrash 1 point2 points  (4 children)

I didn't know you're supposed to "grow out" of tucking the bottom lip in. Would you mind elaborating?

[–]Mezmorizor 1 point2 points  (1 child)

It's not that you're supposed to grow out of it. The tucked in lower lip is the classical embouchure that darkens your sound significantly. That sound/embouchure isn't ideal for contemporary music/jazz.

[–]SuperTonicV7 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Plenty (read: most of the ones I've encountered, including myself) of jazz musicians use some amount of lower lip in their embouchure. It's not a classical-only embouchure.

There are jazz musicians who don't tuck at all, but not most.

Also, not all classical musicians are looking for the darkest tone possible. Dark tone does not always equal classical. That's a little myth started by band directors who don't play saxophone.

[–]mscman 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Most beginners tuck way too much and stick with that forever. Typically the less of your lower lip that rests on your bottom teeth, the less you'll tend to bite and rely on your teeth/jaw for your embouchure and will rely more on lips and throat to control tone and intonation. It's not strictly required but a lot of teachers tend to recommend it from what I've seen.

[–]Camdmyth 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The way ive heard it taught is you think of the letter f or v and thats all the lower lip you need

[–]DraconiX7 0 points1 point  (0 children)

What is an embouchure that is good? I am learning and I feel like playing with biting my lip feels wrong.

[–]Red-Quill 0 points1 point  (4 children)

What would do other than this “beginner” embouchure?

[–]mscman 0 points1 point  (3 children)

So this is a pretty subjective thing when you start to develop your playing style. But many more advanced players start to roll their lower lip out so it doesn’t roll over their teeth. Basically your embouchure depends on your lip support rather than jaw and teeth. It tends to give you more control at the expense of more effort and muscle conditioning.

[–]Red-Quill 0 points1 point  (2 children)

I had played like that (lip rolled out) for years and my band director told me it was wrong even though I played much better. She’s a great band director, I just think she doesn’t understand saxophones as much as she understands brass

[–]mscman 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Yeah your band director is wrong on this. Although there is no “perfect” embouchure that fits everyone, rolled out is definitely the more agreed upon modern embouchure.

[–]Red-Quill 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I gotcha. Thanks!

[–]Jorlarejazz 7 points8 points  (5 children)

Invest in a quality mouthpiece. A poor yamaha 4c or even a modern meyer can discourage you from really getting deep into playing.

[–]Fudgeumes 5 points6 points  (3 children)

Do long tones- EVERYDAY

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

What exactly is meant by "long tones"? I hear that term a lot. Is it what it sounds like?: a series of tones held out for a long period of time? How long is long? Would you do scales (maj/min, chrom), arpeggios, or does it not matter?

[–]Fudgeumes 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It's almost exactly what it sounds like. Taking a tuner and playing a single note for an extended period of time. Long imo is until you run out of breath. The goal is to hone the sound so it's much fuller and to also learn the tuning tendency of every note on the horn. Ideally you do every single note on the horn as a warm up, but it takes a long time obviously, so starting with a small number at first will help ease into it. But consistency is everything. 10 minutes everyday is better than an hour a week.

[–]Kramalimedov 0 points1 point  (0 children)

For me it's spending time playing tones without moving fingers to work on your tone/sound/embouchure.....

There is so much to do with your sound, if you focus on your fingers during long tones, you're doing it wrong.

[–]RhymeAndReason 5 points6 points  (0 children)

As a professional it’s so much about who you know not exactly how well you play. I know plenty of pros who are really mediocre at best but have had steady work for the last 30+ Years.

Also but not totally unrelated: Show up early Know your stuff Help the guys with gear Tip the staff Dress nice Bring extra copies of the set list Play with ego but act with humility Thank your band members Give extra tip money to the guy who drives the farthest. If you have a tip jar tell people about it. Do more than one thing: Alto and Soprano, or Horn and voice, or horn and piano.

[–]Jcsnyds 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Get a good mouthpiece and learn your scales early

[–]mobius01engage 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Any tips for learning scales? Is there a certain study structure for learning them?

[–]CaptainAndy27 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Actually practice correctly.

[–]_cheefy 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Just picked up tenor. Probably annoying the shit out of everyone in my apartment but I can't put the sax down.

I appreciate this thread and those who have contributed. I will keep these in mind!

[–]JazzManCaz 0 points1 point  (0 children)

That i knew how important it was to just improvise over anything you hear.