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Hey all,

I wanted to ask your opinion on what type of mouthpiece a beginner student should be playing on. Ideally, this mouthpiece should be easy to play on, and allow the student to develop an appropriate embouchure.

I've had a few students come in with Selmer C*s, but nearly all of them have issues playing on them. Either they puff their cheeks, tongue too hard, or can't make a sound at all! A few band directors in my area even require beginners to pick up a C*. Starting to play an instrument is already too expensive for most, is a $200 mouthpiece really the right thing to ask of them?

In my experience, a Premiere by J&D Hite work very well for beginning/intermediate students. Yamaha 4Cs also work wonders for beginners, in my opinion.

Please share your experiences!
 

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Man,... you just hit the ones I was gonna say. Hite Premier and the 4C.
 

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Yes, ditch the C* (not literally) and recommend Hite Premiere.
Oh I didn't see the C* thing in his post. Never blown through one, but I understand those things require you bring a small set of skills with you. Aren't they pretty much equivalent to the Vandoren Optimum AL4? Can't imagine a band director requiring an AL4 for an absolute beginner, especially one with some of the challenges the OP was describing.

Yeah I'm sticking with what everyone has said,... 4C and Hite Premiere. The Hite is gonna give off a slightly better and fuller sound, but the 4C will be more forgiving. Both are great for beginners.
 

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The Clarke Fobes Debuts work very well too.
 

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The traditional beginner setup is a close tip mpc and soft reed. When beginners are seen puffing their cheeks they should be notified right away to stop and be told that they are developing a bad habit.
 

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i just bought a hite premier tenor mpc but i also compared it to a yamaha 4C. the tip opening is at least twice as big on the hite. i also found it kind of touchy for hitting low b-flat.
 

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Hey all,

I wanted to ask your opinion on what type of mouthpiece a beginner student should be playing on. Ideally, this mouthpiece should be easy to play on, and allow the student to develop an appropriate embouchure.

I've had a few students come in with Selmer C*s, but nearly all of them have issues playing on them. Either they puff their cheeks, tongue too hard, or can't make a sound at all! A few band directors in my area even require beginners to pick up a C*. Starting to play an instrument is already too expensive for most, is a $200 mouthpiece really the right thing to ask of them?

In my experience, a Premiere by J&D Hite work very well for beginning/intermediate students. Yamaha 4Cs also work wonders for beginners, in my opinion.

Please share your experiences!

What I have highlighted in bold is very common for beginners. There is no reason they CAN'T start out on a C*.
When I was starting out (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth) the C* was pretty much the standard issue mouthpiece. There were no 4Cs' or Hites' to be found in our sax section. Granted there may be differences in the quality of the 'vintage' pieces and those produced today.
Get the kid suitable reed, remind them not to puff their cheeks, and explain 'proper embouchure and articulation'. Usually those problems are solved within a couple of lessons. As long as there aren't any issues with the facing of the piece and the condition of the horn the beginner will manage just fine.
Don't forget that many band directors are not sax players. They believe that if every kid has the same gear they will get a more 'uniform sound' within the section. That's bullcrap, but that's what some think.

Part of our job as an instructor is to show students how to become adaptable. Think of this as a personal challange to become a better teacher. :)
 

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Interesting. The saxophone teacher at the municipal music schools in Noway suggest that everyone starts on C*. Occasionally there are some who do not follow the advice and use the 4C the first year(s) - because almost everyone plays a Yamaha. After I have refacet 8-10 Selmer C*'s I have learned that "a C* is not a C* is not a C*" . Some are actually a C or even a B, one was like a C ** and one was almost a D.
 

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in tx they want c* or??? some other similar. in florida the shop said they wanted hite or 4c in some districts. Soooooo, it seems MOST directors think they should all have the same. i guess badmommy should change "some"to Most"???
 

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IMO the Hite Premier has a too open tip for a beginner. The opening on these is about a C**. I would recommend the Selmer C* with La Voz med soft reeds for a complete beginner.
 

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well it seems the recomendations are in. I understand the band director wanting similar sound from the group but why send home a list of things to have the first day with a brand of mouthpiece rather than some choices. now what about variability of the mouthpieces? if its a new student, getting a mouthpiece thats a bit off could be big disadvantage. even a bit could affect squeaks and squawks right?. So what do you think the answer is to that.

What big ears you have Kelpie!
 

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Hey all,

I wanted to ask your opinion on what type of mouthpiece a beginner student should be playing on. Ideally, this mouthpiece should be easy to play on, and allow the student to develop an appropriate embouchure.

I've had a few students come in with Selmer C*s, but nearly all of them have issues playing on them. Either they puff their cheeks, tongue too hard, or can't make a sound at all! A few band directors in my area even require beginners to pick up a C*. Starting to play an instrument is already too expensive for most, is a $200 mouthpiece really the right thing to ask of them?

In my experience, a Premiere by J&D Hite work very well for beginning/intermediate students. Yamaha 4Cs also work wonders for beginners, in my opinion.

Please share your experiences!
x2. This with a Rico 2 reed works good for me.
 

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Sometimes when I start a beginner saxophonist, I start them on whatever mpc came with the case for the first couple of weeks (provided it's hard rubber....not cheap material with a close tip and/or a medium chamber). Once they get a solid sound, then I give them one of the C* I have stashed away. The C* is definitely the way to go if they can afford it though. Fobes Debuts and Yamaha 4C work pretty good too.
 

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I'd recommend a Runyon 22. Most folks I talk to prefer it to a Yamaha 4C and see it as a significant step up. Also the Fobes Debut is superb and hand finished.
 
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