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As a beginner (again) and 6 months in, I'm learning that there is a connection between the player and the sax that is not often mentioned. I'm curious if many of the teachers and pro players on this forum agree.

I've been spending a lot of time trying to learn specific songs but not having the memory of a teenager, I have to write them down. So I spend time transcribing what I hear. Then I spend a lot of time reading sheet music (that I essentially wrote) and it slows me down considerably more than if I just tried to play the song - mistakes and all. It seems like the reading music effort will pay off in the long run, but It seems easier to just play what I hear.

i suspected that intermediate and better players have learned to use the sax like their voice to communicate. Vocal chords and air support plus the shape of the mouth are all part of our voice, but I think there is a similarity to playing the sax. The cognitive ability to simply play a note that is in their head. For example, if you heard a song on the radio or CD, whatever the source, and an hour later it's still an earworm, you can typically sing the tune aloud. You don't have to know anything about scales, keys, chords or what note it is on a score. Your brain knows what to do with your vocal chords, breath, oral cavity shape and placement of your tongue, etc., to get it out of your head, into the horn and out into the air.

In otherwords, it's singing. (My big revelation...) Your body knows what to do when singing and I think it is the same way with playing the sax but not many folks talk about it. I concede up front that one must learn and understand their sax and how to play notes but at some point, they need to learn how to let go of the rigid mechanics of it all and simply learn to use the sax as an extension of our body and mind like singing.

This missing piece of information in my journey toward playing music rather than playing notes was finally pointed out by one of the hellosaxophone videos here. I I also thought his list of 10 Bad habits had some useful nuggets of wisdom. I think his name is Florian but he says it so fast, I can't make it out.

I've also gotten a lot of useful tips from Scott Paddock's videos. Both these guys seem to deliver some down to earth very useful information. I think my progress has increased and tone is coming along, but the realization of learning to sing using the sax as my voice has put a whole new spin on it.

If none of this is true, please correct my thinking so I don't veer too far off the learning curve. Yes, I realize there are plenty of mechanics and nuances to getting music out of the sax but this seemed to help me in the way I think about playing music instead of notes.

Cheers.
 

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It took me a lot longer than 6 months to make this realization...way longer. For years I pushed the right buttons to match the sheets and played “close enough” by ear because I have a good natural one, but until I made the singing/ pre-hearing connection it used to frustrate the crap out of me that I could practice a bunch and never sounded any better. A couple times along the road someone told me my technique was plenty sufficient for what I was trying to play but my intonation was terrible: one day the importance of listening to myself and singing what I was trying to play just clicked and improved all things immensely almost immediately. Good for you figuring it out so soon! Have fun continuing to make the connection!
 

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That's funny and true indeed. My old clarinet teacher used to say: "if you can't sing it, you can't play it."
 

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Sometimes I work on singing a tune along with the backing track to figure out the notes before I even pick up my horn. Then when I am playing the sax it's easier to figure out the melody.

Yes, the sax is an extension of our mind, body, and soul. I try to think of the sax as not being there, so that the music can flow through.
 

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That's funny and true indeed. My old clarinet teacher used to say: "if you can't sing it, you can't play it."
That is true...but if you’re not “singing” it while you play it, it won’t be in tune. That’s exactly what the OP is talking about.
 

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My fingers try to follow my ears but many times they surprise me and not always for the better.
 

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That's funny and true indeed. My old clarinet teacher used to say: "if you can't sing it, you can't play it."
That is true...but if you’re not “singing” it while you play it, it won’t be in tune. That’s exactly what the OP is talking about.
True. The lesson of my old teacher more applied to rhythm figures. But indeed, singing the notes in your head before you play them massively helps with intonation (especially on a Martin or other vintage American sax). In that respect, saxophone is more like singing than playing clarinet, in my opinion, due to the greater intonation and sound flexibility.
 
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