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I picked up the school's soprano a few days ago and have found it impossible to play the palm keys. It's a well-regulated Yamaha YSS-62 so the horn isn't the issue. When I play alto it is impossible for me to play the palm keys without biting and suffering the pain later on. On an alto mouthpiece the highest pitch I can get without biting is around a concert E. I'm aware that's an issue and I've been working on it for around three years now with absolutely no success. Using a Yamaha 4C with Vandoren 3s gets me an A on the soprano mouthpiece, but biting no longer is working as a quick fix for my upper register. I highly doubt my embouchure is an issue. When I play high notes I put my tongue in a "hee" position and think of blowing through the mouthpiece with a supported airstream. Any advice on what else I could do?
 

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I'm a bit surprised you doubt your embouchure is an issue - these kind of problems stem very much from the embouchure.

If you're biting to reach the palm notes on an alto then the soprano is going to be a whole 'nother world of pain - so a 'back to basics' approach is probably in order.
If it were me having such problems I'd drop down a strength in my reeds and work on relaxing the embouchure. A softer reed won't give you as much 'clout' initially, but it'll enable you to spend more time working on the top notes before fatigue sets in.
It'll also give you the chance to get the 'feel' of the top notes - and once you have that you can begin to work on the other factors, such as breath support etc.

Lots of long note practice will help, with the accent on sustaining the note with as relaxed an embouchure as you can manage.

Regards,
 

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Sorry to say, but is an embochure issue. It is also a "voicing" issue. If you can't play up to at least an altissimo A an Alto, there is little chance you can play the upper register of the Soprano (let alone play in tune!).

4C is also very closed, but when I started on soprano (1995), I started on a Runyon 6 and 2 1/2 Rousseau reeds. I now play a Drake Production .055 and a Rovner DeepV metal #6 w/Fibracell #4 reeds, and I can play well into the altissimo range on the soprano!

Biting is never a "quick fix"! It's a bad, painful habit, that for some, is hard to break. You will find out that when your mouth and throat positions are actually correct, that it will feel weird.
 

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I agree that voicing is the issue. Playing soprano palm keys is equivalent to altissimo on the alto. Be sure to adopt an "ee" throat shape as advocated by Joe Allard and raise the back of the tongue towards the roof of mouth. There must be sufficient resistance between mp and reed to produce these notes. Hard reeds promoted biting (don't do it!), soft reeds won't support these notes. Practice 5ths (G-D, G#-D#, etc.) then go to octaves and concentrate on "raising" the ee for the palm notes.
 

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Without knowing your mouthpiece/reed setup, it's not possible to give you concrete advice except to say that you have not developed sufficient strength in your embouchure to acheive the high upper register with your setup, without biting. The only way to get there is practice, concentrating on long tones in the notes you can achieve without biting and slowly progressing up as your embouchure develops. Frankly, you should probably leave the soprano alone until you can play the alto through it's full range. As far as the vocalizations go, that may help or not, but it's all about embouchure muscle development and I would keep an open throat (ahhh) and work those muscles.
 

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I I'm aware that's an issue and I've been working on it for around three years now with absolutely no success.
Working on it with a teacher? If not time to get a teacher. If yes, possibly time to get a new teacher.

I agree with everyone else, the problem is with your embouchure and the fact that you have not yet got your chops together on the alto.
 

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I agree that voicing is the issue. Playing soprano palm keys is equivalent to altissimo on the alto. Be sure to adopt an "ee" throat shape as advocated by Joe Allard and raise the back of the tongue towards the roof of mouth. There must be sufficient resistance between mp and reed to produce these notes. Hard reeds promoted biting (don't do it!), soft reeds won't support these notes. Practice 5ths (G-D, G#-D#, etc.) then go to octaves and concentrate on "raising" the ee for the palm notes.
agree to every reply above, and particularly second to Reedscraper's.
 

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soft reeds won't support these notes.
I think that soft reeds can support those notes providsd you have the breath support and embouchure.


I'm sure you'll agree that using hard(er) reeds to solve the problem is not the way to go.

Of course it's not helpful to have reeds that are too soft. Or too hard.
 

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and suffering the pain later on. l
The audience suffers the pain of the soprano sax immediately.
Try some different reeds (I've never liked Vandoren products) even if they are softer. Get the feel of hitting and playing the notes and then work on the sound.
If you are biting your embouchure is the whole issue.
 
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