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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Sorry me again with more questions. My Lesson yesterday was equally frustrating and amazing - my Teacher says that I have a lovely tone but he says that I need to work on it being warmer, He has told me to think warm tones, close my eyes, not think about what I am doing but to let my mind deal with the mechanics. He has leant me a DVD called Make it Sing by Snake Davies.

The thing is as soon as I try not to think about what I am doing I find myself thinking about exactly what I am doing. I am also finding it had to visualize a warm tone in my mind - as daft as it sounds I am trying to visualize warm colours! When my Teacher plays a note with and without the warmth I can hear the difference immediately (its a bit like milk chocolate compared to dark chocolate) but I am finding that I want/need something concrete to "do" to get this tone rather than let my mind take over. I have searched the threads and found lots of information on mouthpieces and reeds -and how they affect the tone, but I know thats not what my Teacher means.
So here I am getting more and more frustrated!! lol


Forgot to say am also working on vibrato and bending notes
Clare
 

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Clare, I think you`re thinking too much. My advice.. relax. If you`ve heard the sound you want, don`t think of it but remember it. By that I mean don`t try to think what you need to make the sound but just recall the sound and the feeling you had when you heard it. Then, with that frame of mind, play. Adjust what you hear until the sound matches whats in your head.

Sounds simple I know but thats the process you need. You can help the process by listening to someone elses tone and play along trying to match it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
your right of course, I am thinking too much, I am afraid I am the type of learner that needs something concrete to hold onto whilst learning - give me a scale and I will learn it! This all seems too vague for me to grasp lol!!
 

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Literally blow warmer air. Use your body to heat the air up more before it enters the mouthpiece.
 

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How do I get the warmer air then?
I've never understood warmer air. Most people will talk about the analogy of misting up a pane of glass. I don't get that myself.

I believe your teacher is mostly correct in that visualising the sound, thinking the sound, will help a lot. But he may be missing some vital element, hence you don't get what he is saying. Sound is so subjective I hesitate to give online advice. Different people need to do different things, though one thing I believe may help is to experiment with your mouthpiece position. Usually it helps to take in less mouthpiece into your mouth in this case. But it could be the opposite. Sorry if that sounds less than helpful, but I honestly believe nobody can truly advise on exactly what to do when they aren't there in the same room.

I presume the teacher has tested your saxophone, mouthpiece and reed?
 

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Sorry me again with more questions. My Lesson yesterday was equally frustrating and amazing - my Teacher says that I have a lovely tone but he says that I need to work on it being warmer, He has told me to think warm tones, close my eyes, not think about what I am doing but to let my mind deal with the mechanics. He has leant me a DVD called Make it Sing by Snake Davies.

The thing is as soon as I try not to think about what I am doing I find myself thinking about exactly what I am doing. I am also finding it had to visualize a warm tone in my mind - as daft as it sounds I am trying to visualize warm colours! When my Teacher plays a note with and without the warmth I can hear the difference immediately (its a bit like milk chocolate compared to dark chocolate) but I am finding that I want/need something concrete to "do" to get this tone rather than let my mind take over. I have searched the threads and found lots of information on mouthpieces and reeds -and how they affect the tone, but I know thats not what my Teacher means.
So here I am getting more and more frustrated!! lol

Forgot to say am also working on vibrato and bending notes
Clare
Hey Clare,

I'm about 12 years in on my sax playing, and I'm just starting to be able to get a nice warm tone on my tenor. IMHO, warm tone takes real power to develop, so I'd say first be patient.

How to get it? Well, for me, the key was simply making a commitment to working on tone as a major part of all my practicing. That means devoting easily 1/2 to 3/4ths of my practice time to slow exercises like whole tone interval studies, long tones, and overtones, and just being honest: focusing on tone means listening intently to the tone you are producing and constantly trying to teach your body to move from the tone you happen to be getting to the one you want.

FWIW: "warm air" is a kind of wind player short hand for the good air support you get when you breath in by lowering your diaphram. If you want to see this beautifully demonstrated, just check out some of the video clips on Matt Otto's website. He's one of my major tone gurus!
 

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I've never understood warmer air. Most people will talk about the analogy of misting up a pane of glass. I don't get that myself.
Works for those of us who have difficulty visualizing something auditory. It's all a mind games anyway.
 

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Works for those of us who have difficulty visualizing something auditory.
Yes, I know it can work for many people apparently. When I used to teach I would find that you have to use different methods or words for different people.
 

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Yes, I know it can work for many people apparently. When I used to teach I would find that you have to use different methods or words for different people.
Very true. I imagine that once the student progresses a bit you can be more precise about the details of tone production. I'm all about keeping it as simple as possible. When explaining a new concept to someone, I try to use words and put it in a way that a seven year old can understand.
 

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Very true. I imagine that once the student progresses a bit you can be more precise about the details of tone production. I'm all about keeping it as simple as possible. When explaining a new concept to someone, I try to use words and put it in a way that a seven year old can understand.
Good strategy, but what I find is that I say something then see either a lightbulb or the eyes glazing over. If it's the eyes glazing over I take a different approach.
 

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Good strategy, but what I find is that I say something then see either a lightbulb or the eyes glazing over. If it's the eyes glazing over I take a different approach.
Good call. I very seldom give lessons (I actually don't like teaching one on one very much) and if I do it's for free for friends or jammers I meet or whatever and only for noobs. My first lesson plan essentially goes like this:

"Put the thing in your mouth and make a honking racket!" We start on G and go down chromatically. :D
 

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I'm with Pete. It's almost impossible to answer this over the net. I also agree that a little experimentation with how much mouthpiece you take in could help.
I never understood the warm or cold air thing either. SOTW was the first place I heard about it. However, if you blow against your hand, you can feel the temperature change when you change the air speed.
 

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A concept I have used successfully in my teaching is to have the student "vocalize" the sound by singing a vowel with the tonal "color" desired. For example if a bright sound is wanted I have them sing the pitch of the note with a bright loud "EE". Then I have them blow the same pitch on the airstream keeping the mouth and throat in the same shape, and then play that note on the saxophone.

To get a really dark tone, I would have the student sing the pitch on an "OO" (like too) with warm air. Then I have them blow the same pitch on the airstream alone, and then play that note on the saxophone with the same airstream and shape inside the mouth and throat.

This is essentially what one does while voicing notes on the saxophone, and is simply an application of the concept that the saxophone is an extension of one's body and voice. The picture below used by Fred Hemke and Larry Teal illustrates the idea perfectly.

THE SAXOPHONE



The "blow warm air" idea is simple. It opens the throat as does the first part of a yawn, or singing "AH" on a low note. Try blowing fast cold air and then warm air and see the difference you make automatically in the oral cavity.
 

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The "blow warm air" idea is simple. It opens the throat as does the first part of a yawn, or singing "AH" on a low note. Try blowing fast cold air and then warm air and see the difference you make automatically in the oral cavity.
Ah thanks. I knew this, just didn't realize it. In my language we don't use the warm/cold terminology.
 

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The warm air thing does make sense in that it's a good habit to produce an airflow like that....but quite honestly...I don't think that this warms the tone.

(I can't help myself, here...sorry to say this, and bear with the momentary digression...but....Clare...it was this teacher who was dogging you about your old Conn alto, yes ? And is now much more relieved you have a new, contemporary horn, yes ? Because, well...old Conns are really naturally warm-sounding horns.....)

IMHO, given the amount of time you have been playing.....I think your teacher is premature at introducing this element to your sax education. I think, based upon my understanding of what you have posted here in the past....focusing on warming your tone at this stage in the game is premature and may only cause you frustration or in the least, unnecessary focus away from other things.

Quickie-shortcut answer: take your horn and go test some mouthpieces and see if they give you a warmer tone. Hite Premiers are excellent and very inexpensive, and they do darken the tone, smooth out the highs, and make it quite lush and warm.....all by itself.
You may need to drop one reed strength down in order to control it as well as your current m'piece, though.
 

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He has told me to think warm tones, close my eyes, not think about what I am doing but to let my mind deal with the mechanics.
Clare,

- Firstly warm is very subjective
- For you to realize a 'warm tone', you will need to listen to as much music as possible and find out what YOU consider to be warm
- Beyond that, what your teacher says is correct - you let your mind absorb that kind of music/tone over and over again. Understand everything about it and fully internalize it
- Over time, once that tonal concept has been 'burnt in' to the mind, the dynamics of your body, throat, tongue, lips, embouchure etc will automatically fall into place
- Of course, just like everything in the world of music, this is also a journey. And along the way, you should practice long tones and give your mind the feedback on the kind of tone you currently produce VS what you desire to sound like. But for that, you must know the tone you desire
- Once you have reached this point, you can then experiment by going with harder reeds, loose embouchure etc. But only after you know what you want to sound like

For example, here is what I consider to be warm (& fluffy):

Girl from Ipanema -
- From 2:35 on

The look of love -
- From 2:19 on

Stan Getz stands out in my book as someone with a warm, airy & magical tone. You might want to look into his music to seek inspiration if this fits your bill.

Hope this helps
Cheers

Just to clarify, can someone post links to examples of a "warm" tone?
See above
 
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