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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I'm just starting playing sax and I started with Soprano. I later learned that Soprano is considered an advanced sax maybe not suitable for beginners, but I have also heard other encouraging things from others. So I want to stick with it. (I am stubborn.)

I have been playing for about six weeks and I really like it. My question now is about embouchure and intonation. I play with a tuner and that helps me to understand how to listen and do the intonation, so that seems to get better. I have up until a couple of days ago played with lip-in embouchure, but then, I have seen that there is this lip-out embouchure which I believe would be better in the long run.

Now, lip-out seems to be more difficult for starters, I have therefore switched to long-tone practice only, not playing any tunes or anything, just focusing on building embouchure. I do it by taking 2nd register G (to me, long tones in the 2nd register requires more and hence feels like better training) and then hold it for as long as I can. I do this for five minutes, then I take a five minute break and then I go for five minutes again. I do this during two hours a day giving me a total one hour a day of embouchure building. I also look at a tuner to train some intonation at the same time. The first long tone I can hold for about 30 seconds, the second I can hold for about 15 seconds, then all the following long tones are not so long at all, just a few seconds.

My question now is, is this a good idea? When I thought this up I also took into account that I do not have any embouchure at all from the start, I am totally new to sax you know. What do you think? Is this a good idea? Could anything be varied? Am I trying too hard... ? Should I do 1st register G instead? I'd be very grateful for any advice you would have. And: yes, I'm going to get a teacher in about six weeks, but I'm so eager to play so I can't wait :p

Best regards
Johnny
 

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I would say work on the lower register. If you find it easier to play in the upper register then that is a clue (not a fact, but a clue) that you might be using too much pressure on your embouchure.

You should strive for an even, firm pressure, much like that of a rubber band stretched *_slightly_* around the piece. That is, the rubber band would be only slightly smaller than the mouthpiece and reed.

Another thing is the location of your bottom lip on the reed. If you hold the mouthpiece, with reed on it, so that you look at the side of the piece, the place where the mouthpiece facing just begins to break away from the back of the reed is where you should have your bottom lip. If you have it farther back than that (toward the tip), you will be squeezing the reed and this will also make the higher register speak more easily.

Get thee to a teacher fast!!!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Steve, many thanks for your reply.

Ahm, No, it's the other way around, I find it _harder_ to play second register, therefore I figured I'd do long tones there (at 2nd reg G) to really get my training to ... ahm ... "really cut it", mainly to develop embouchure. I have very little embouchure at all (but I have felt my muscles developing a bit), but your comment about that the embouchure has to be like a slightly stretched rubber band gets me to think some things: You may definitely have a point with "too much pressure", but I think it could also be "pressure in the wrong way". It is a bit hard to know since I am completely new to sax so I really appreciate you telling me to find a teacher fast. (However, they are all on vacation now!)

Are there risks of forming bad habits here? In that case are there any exercises I can do that are less risky (in terms of risks of forming bad habits)?

Best regards
Johnny
 
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