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Yes of course take a break so you can recover the muscles . It's like going to a gym you can over exert yourself and injure your back or neck so chill out

Doug
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes of course take a break so you can recover the muscles . It's like going to a gym you can over exert yourself and injure your back or neck so chill out

Doug
Using the gym analogy, you can work out hard but should take a break for a couple of days per week. I'm ready to take my playing to the next level.
 

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If you are experiencing soreness on the inside of the bottom lip from the teeth, it is a good idea to take a break. Products such as Ezo denture cushions can be used to make a covering for the bottom teeth to help prevent this from happening.

You can't actually "harm" the embouchure muscles by over practice. The real danger of practicing when those muscles are very tired is developing bad habits such as biting to compensate for the lack of muscle support, puffing the cheeks, playing off to the side of the mouth, etc.


Just like any other muscles in the body, good embouchure muscle tone and endurance takes time to develop. Use common sense when practicing and rest when needed and you should be just fine.

A trick to exercise the embouchure while you are away from the sax is to alternately smile and whistle 50 times. Another method is to hold a drinking straw in the center of your lips as long as you can while you sit and watch TV. Something to watch out for as your embouchure gets stronger is to not start playing too high on the pitch of the mouthpiece, which is a common tendency when players practice a lot.
 

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A few days sound like a long time to recover. What about shorter daily practice sessions if you can accomodate them in your schedule?
Lots of good advice from Jbt above but I disagree about Kenny G's (and Prez, Johnny Hodges) position. If this is the way they felt comfortable (Kenny G says so), what's the problem? About the countless puffers, from Getz to Sanborn through Pepper.... who cares? what's the harm? (I am not puffing cheeks but don't find it is a no-no at all in my students.... it's like the arching position of fingers on piano keys -- forced upon by classical teachers -- vs a more parallel one -- used by countless jazz pianists!).


However what's key is that your overall posture doesn't include tensions, and there I'd suggest you get the help of a teacher of the Alexander Technique as it may be very difficult for one to identify the location of such tensions. It could well be that the root of your tired embouchure (lack of relaxation thereof) is elsewhere, in a raised shoulder, a collapsed neck, an unbalanced standing position (left/right or front/back). The earlier you'll have identified the overall ideal posture for you given your complexion and instrument (alto, tenor, sop, bari), the better --- and continue to be vigilant afterwards -- that's why many pros continue Alexander Tech. sessions through their whole career.

Good luck in the preparation to the next level!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
hmm. i wonder if playing should be that much of a strain at all. after all, we're not trumpet players.
check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwHrwIs_O-w
I'll try to keep that video in mind. A teacher is not an option where I live as the nearest one would be a two hour drive round trip, even then, there would not be many teachers to pick from.
 

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I don't think you run any risk of damaging your embouchure muscles by playing too much. I have heard of guys developing throat issues, but those aren't common either. In my opinion, even if you're playing to the point of extreme tiredness or a sore lip and feel like continuing, go for it. I play a lot and have for 40 years now- the only problem I run into is that if I go a few days where I don't play as much as normal, the calluses I've developed on my lower lip from where the reed saddles start to peel, and that can get sore.

Randy
www.randyhunterjazz.com
Online Jazz Lessons and Books
New Lesson:
Making Sense of Jazz Improvisation
Lesson Series:
Introduction to the Blues
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Through the Keys
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Lessons page: www.beginningsax.com/Jazz Improv Lessons.htm
Rhythm Changes Demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrT0Xw_y9d0
Rhythm Changes Lesson:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMOW7QAfpwo
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks, although biting is a problem, not a major one for me, just tiredness of the embouchure if that makes any sense.

A person on the cello forum said that the cello is more difficult because "on the saxophone, you are just pushing buttons" Oh if he only knew! LOL!!!
 
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