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I am curious about the proper technique with fingering. I know which finger goes on which key but what should I pay attention to while practising? Some previous postings suggest the following:
1. Keep fingers on keys without lifting
2. Don't press down too hard

Are there others?
My hands are big and can wrap around the body well to the point where I am not sure how the palm should wrap around side keys. Any suggestions, books, online references...?
 

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Your fingers should be slightly curved. A nice natural relaxed curve, like when you type at your computer. :D

The ultimate goal is to have your fingers as relaxed as possible (just like wiggling them in the air) and to reduce tension and only use as much movement as necessary.

If you're a total beginner, there will be some tension and rigidity in the fingers simply because you're asking them to do unfamiliar things. But monitor your tension level and as you progress, learn to relax the fingers. Sometimes, just paying attention without actually trying to do anything is all that is needed.
 

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After 18 months I seem to have got the right hand to relax, but the left still insists on a vice like grip if I don't concentrate.
 

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Some good advice already in this thread.

A few exercises that seem to work well to help my students relax the hands and fingers.

-Without the sax, let the arms hang limply to the sides of the chair. It is important to also relax the shoulders as you do this.

-When the arms feel limp and relaxed, start to shake them about like a hanging rope flapping in the wind. Keep the relaxed limp feel going as they move.

-When the arms begin to feel really relaxed, start to wiggle the fingers with the arm motion. Make the fingers feel as limp and free as the arms.

-Still without the sax slowly bring the arms and hands up to position to play the "air sax". Keep the relaxed feel. Now finger some scales you know on the imaginary sax.

-When you can move the fingers in a scale pattern without the sax in a very relaxed manner, then try it using the sax without blowing still just fingering the notes.

-When you can finger the scales on the sax silently with no tension or pressure in the hands arms, or fingers then try playing the scales aloud slowly at first.

-At the first sign of "Gorilla Grip" go back a step and regain the lost relaxation before continuing.

Good luck. Hope some of this helps.

John
 

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jbtsax, that had great parallels to a method described in Kenny Werner's "Effortless Mastery" (minus the arm shaking). He teaches you how to get into this meditative state. While in this state, he has you pick up your horn. Often times, this is enough to get the mind racing and jar you out of the trance a little. Put the horn back down and get back into the meditative state. When you can touch the horn without added mental interference, put the horn in your mouth (don' blow). Again, this will probably cause some tension and mental anxiety. Put the horn back down and go back into the trance. When you can put the horn into your mouth, then blow a note. The moment you start to evaluate it (this sounds good, this sounds bad, the note is flat) take the horn out of your mouth and return to the meditative state.

The whole goal is to be able to play in a relaxed mediative state without any mental interference.
 
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