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2 years and 170.000 views later. I thought it valuable to share this here also :) If you are just
getting started this little video will have some highly valuable insights for you!


Hope you enjoy :)
 

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I watched the first part of the video and in my view it is more about "attitudes, beliefs, and preconceptions" that "bad habits" per se. Perhaps it is a difference in languages.

My list of "bad habits" that hold back beginning saxophone players gained from years of teaching both instrumental music and private lessons contain the following.

1) Taking too much or too little of the mouthpiece into the mouth.
2) Failure to put the top teeth on the mouthpiece.
3) Mouthpiece at wrong angle going into the mouth/neckstrap wrong length.
4) Poor sitting or standing posture while playing.
5) Raising or expanding the chest while inhaling.
6) Failure to "pressurize" the air using the abdominal muscles.
7) Touching too much of the reed with too much of the tongue while tonguing.
8) Moving the tongue too far inside the mouth/moving the jaw or chin while tonguing.
9) Practice habits that are inconsistent and not goal directed.
10) Poor hand and holding position and lifting fingers too far above keys.
 

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I agree with #10, in particular. This is one of the corrections I received during my first private lesson 25+ years ago. I see even experienced players lifting their fingers up to an inch off the keys when they open up the key.

Anohter correction from my first private lesson was to hold the (alto) sax between my knees, rather than to the right side. Many elementary school kids are taught to do this, simply because they are not tall enough to to hold the also in front of their body. Alto players should make this adjustment as soon as they can, although tenor and bari saxes are too large to for just about anyone to play in front while seated. I was in the 10th grade, and had already grown to my current 5' 10" height by the time I made this change. Although it took some time to adjust, I found it easier to play notes quickly with by hands lined up in the vertical plane.

Lastly, beginners need to learn how to take care of their horns. Many band directors and parents neglect this step. Of course, this is true for all instruments. I had a bad habit of putting my lesson book in the case., on top of the horn. Before too long, 2 or 3 of the rods were bent, which required a trip to the shop. Other basic tasks, such as polishing and minor adjustments need to be emphasized as well.

I watched the first part of the video and in my view it is more about "attitudes, beliefs, and preconceptions" that "bad habits" per se. Perhaps it is a difference in languages.

My list of "bad habits" that hold back beginning saxophone players gained from years of teaching both instrumental music and private lessons contain the following.

1) Taking too much or too little of the mouthpiece into the mouth.
2) Failure to put the top teeth on the mouthpiece.
3) Mouthpiece at wrong angle going into the mouth/neckstrap wrong length.
4) Poor sitting or standing posture while playing.
5) Raising or expanding the chest while inhaling.
6) Failure to "pressurize" the air using the abdominal muscles.
7) Touching too much of the reed with too much of the tongue while tonguing.
8) Moving the tongue too far inside the mouth/moving the jaw or chin while tonguing.
9) Practice habits that are inconsistent and not goal directed.
10) Poor hand and holding position and lifting fingers too far above keys.
 

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Should your fingers be above the keys at all. Meaning, I remember hearing that you should keep your fingers resting on the keys. I'm beginner level too.
It's a good habit to practice keeping your fingers on the keys, yes. Get used to pushing the key down and simply stopping the downward pressure to let your finger return to its natural resting position at the top of the key swing. I dedicate some practice time each day to clean finger technique and this is one thing I focus on. However, it's not worth devoting focus to this while working on other challenging things or performing. If, after tens or hundreds of thousands of repetitions in good technique, your fingers come up off the keys a little when you're performing, it's not worth stressing about it IMO. That said, some guys play with big flappy hands, and that's just a bad habit (even when someone gets RIDICULOUSLY good at it).
 

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It's a good habit to practice keeping your fingers on the keys, yes. Get used to pushing the key down and simply stopping the downward pressure to let your finger return to its natural resting position at the top of the key swing. I dedicated some practice time each day to clean finger technique and this is one thing I focus on. However, it's not worth devoting focus to this while working on other challenging things or performing. If, after tens or hundreds of thousands of repetitions in good technique, your fingers come up off the keys a little when you're performing, it's not worth stressing about it IMO. That said, some guys play with big flappy hands, and that's just a bad habit (even when someone gets RIDICULOUSLY good at it).
Thanks. That makes a lot of sense.
 

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Thanks for posting!

With the RH in particular, I find more of my students collapse the upper knuckles leading to an impossibility of decent technique. I've had them practice with a ball or even holding a water bottle while playing (small of course!) to set up the natural curvature/space and correct the collapsing knuckles.

I'm also a huge proponent of switching the sling to the knees for alto players. Playing to the side sets them up for all sorts of problems with breathing, posture, and technique.
 

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Maybe saxoclese can start another thread with his top-10 list, I don't feel right responding to it here. I'm not in a place where I can watch the video that the OP linked, but I imagine I'll check the boxes for nearly all the defects identified in that video just like I do with saxoclese's list. Yay me.
 
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