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Thread: Video of application of SOTW advice.

  1. #1

    Default Video of application of SOTW advice.

    Here's the video of my attempt at following your advice. It's ironic that when I point out that have have plenty of support on a particular note, that note is flat because of lack of support.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AC9Zm98t1gc

  2. #2

    Default Re: Video of application of SOTW advice.

    Position your head comfortably. Just look forward as if you where driving. Loosen the strap a little and find the most comfortable position
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    Default Re: Video of application of SOTW advice.

    How long have you been playing? I kinda enjoy your videos (this is the second one I've seen) and if you are a relatively new player, I think you are doing fine. So much will improve as you gain experience and comfort with the instrument. I wouldn't worry too much about position and all the little technical details . . . sure they are important, but concern about them is more applicable to someone just putting the horn in their mouth for the first time. For you, it is obvious you know how to get a sound out of it and that you can play musical figures. I'd worry more about making each note sound on pitch and letting the music flow. DAVE
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    Distinguished SOTW Member CooolJazzz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Video of application of SOTW advice.

    I didn't look back to see what kind of advice you had been given before, but based on the advice that you said you were trying to apply, you don't appear to be applying it as intended. When the book says "look forward" for example...in the video you appear to be looking more toward a spot on the wall near the ceiling. To me, it definitely looks like a considerable amount of an upward tilt (of your head), which makes the mouthpiece point toward the roof of your mouth. This angle also puts more of the outer portion of your lip against the reed, basically wedging the outside of your lower lip between your lower teeth and the reed. It's not the part of your lip that needs to be in contact with the reed, and therefore you're not able to use your lip muscles properly to control the embouchure. If you bring your head down so that you're truly looking forward (maybe even a little lower than straight forward) and loosen your neck strap a little to lower the horn, you should be able to get a more appropriate angle which will allow you to use more of the fleshy top part of your lip in contact with the reed (instead of the outside hairy part of your lip). Just from looking at the video, it seems that the reed is getting significantly pinched off.

    It could also be my imagination, or just the way the light in the video reflects through the tip of the reed...but it looks to me like the tip of the reed is extending beyond the tip of the mouthpiece. It should come TO the tip of the mouthpiece, but not beyond...at least not by that much. But again...it might have been my imagination or deceptive lighting.

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    Default Re: Video of application of SOTW advice.

    I don't think it was your imagination CooolJazz. Lutemann, it looks like you are playing the clarinet, you can play a sax that way, but you will have much more control and flexibility if you make your eye line parallel with the mouthpiece and tube that is in your mouth. Loosen the neck strap and drop your head a little.
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    Default Re: Video of application of SOTW advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by PridgNYC View Post
    I don't think it was your imagination CooolJazz. Lutemann, it looks like you are playing the clarinet, you can play a sax that way, but you will have much more control and flexibility if you make your eye line parallel with the mouthpiece and tube that is in your mouth. Loosen the neck strap and drop your head a little.
    I agree with CooolJazzz and PridgNYC.......Your normal head position looked right when you were talking. As soon as you go to play you are tilting your head way up to put the sax mouthpiece in your mouth. For me, the best angle of the sax mouthpiece is to be pointed toward the back of my throat. Yours seems to be tilted up towards the roof of your mouth like a clarinet would be. I do believe this affects the air flow and tone and I prefer to have the sax in a lower position.

  7. #7
    Distinguished SOTW Member CooolJazzz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Video of application of SOTW advice.

    And if you DO want to look at the ceiling like Nefertiti is in his profile picture, you have to bring the bell of the horn up level with your chin like he is.

    Seriously though...I would suggest standing in front a mirror so you can see exactly what you're doing. While there...try to copy Desmond's pose from this photo. This is exactly the right way to hold a saxophone. Notice the almost perpendicular line from the saxophone neck through the mouthpiece to the back of his throat. Neck strap adjustment has a lot to do with the ability to get that perpendicular line.


  8. #8

    Default Re: Video of application of SOTW advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by CooolJazzz View Post
    And if you DO want to look at the ceiling like Nefertiti is in his profile picture, you have to bring the bell of the horn up level with your chin like he is.

    Seriously though...I would suggest standing in front a mirror so you can see exactly what you're doing. While there...try to copy Desmond's pose from this photo. This is exactly the right way to hold a saxophone. Notice the almost perpendicular line from the saxophone neck through the mouthpiece to the back of his throat. Neck strap adjustment has a lot to do with the ability to get that perpendicular line.

    In this photo, he's looking down a bit. I'll give it a shot and get back to you with another video. I do put the reed just a hair over the mouthpiece, but I have been experimenting with that.

  9. #9
    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Video of application of SOTW advice.

    Yes. The angle of the horn is totally wrong. Even when you say it is perpendicular, it is exactly the same, you just tilt your head back so the horn is parallel to the floor but still at a downward angle to your face. As others have pointed out this is more like a clarinet embouchure. To change this you probably have to adjust the strap hook position down a bit.

    You mention yoga breathing, that is good, but in the video it is hard to see what is happening, the breath appears to be rather fast and shallow though.

    The sound is basically good, but something is slightly lacking:

    1) It sounds as if your throat is slightly constricted
    2) The note is a bit wavery: a symptom of not enough breath support.

    By "wavery", I don't mean vibrato, which when controlled is a good technique to be able to use. What I mean is you don't seem to hold a steady note: imagine a very straight line. Again this is possibly due to the throat and breath issues. Solved by long notes and tone exercises.

    One observation is that your neck strap pad appears very much to be constricting your neck. I wonder if that has something to do with it, however IMO the biggest and first thing to get right is the position of the horn. Perpendicular to your face.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Video of application of SOTW advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Thomas View Post
    Yes. The angle of the horn is totally wrong.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Video of application of SOTW advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alley Cat View Post
    Yes, that looks better, see how it comes out of his mouth at more or less a right angle. So even doing the wacky holding the horn out sideways thing, he still keeps the angle of the mouthpiece perpendicular.

    Also, looking at the Paul Desmond image, that is even tilted slightly upwards if anything.

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    Default Re: Video of application of SOTW advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by lutemann View Post
    In this photo, he's looking down a bit.
    Yes...it's sort of a compromise that allows him to hold the saxophone in a comfortable position for a more natural arm/wrist/hand position. If the saxophone was held higher on the neck strap, it would also have to be held farther away from the body (at the bottom) to keep a proper angle on the mouthpiece, which is why I mentioned the possibility of a little lower than straight forward.

    Quote Originally Posted by CooolJazzz View Post
    ...bring your head down so that you're truly looking forward (maybe even a little lower than straight forward)
    The angle of the mouthpiece is important for sound production, but a comfortable and natural arm/wrist/hand position is equally important for the most fluid and efficient fingering technique. In most cases, the compromise of a slightly lower head position is probably better than an upward tilt unless you're a player who likes holding the saxophone father away from your body. A lot of this is also relative to the size of your body, length of your arms, etc..

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    Forum Contributor 2012 dubrosa22's Avatar
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    Default Re: Video of application of SOTW advice.



    this guy's got it all wrong

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    Distinguished SOTW Member CooolJazzz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Video of application of SOTW advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by dubrosa22 View Post


    this guy's got it all wrong

    Which one? The ugly one, or the one with the saxophone?

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    Default Re: Video of application of SOTW advice.

    There is a lot of good advice here, but I may take a leap in the dark and say the following:
    Do you feel hampered by details? Does the time you critcize your own playing outweigh the time that you actually enjoy it?
    I feel, and it might have to do with you obviously being an accomplished mathematician, that you get hung up a lot on small things that certainly are important for playing, but will be sorted out anyway if you just keep on playing, listening to yourself and adjusting. You should feel comfortable and enjoy playing, and a lot of that comes from yourself and not from others' advice. I like turning off the lights sometimes when I practice, it makes me listen in a whole different way. Experimenting with technique is important and I also replied with concrete advice to your former thread, but never forget that having a good time with your instrument is very important at any stage. I mean - I have seen countless sax players that are technically way beyond me, playing correctly and on a high level - but some of them still seemed tense and unnatural and thus I didn't like what was coming out of their horns.
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