Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I just started lessons with a new teacher, and he's had me playing long tones every day, as well as working on overtones too. At first they seemed very boring, and I hated practicing them. But now, I've realized that they've greatly helped my all-around playing, but especially my jazz playing. I have a huge sound now and sounds great! Just by adding 15-20 minutes of long tones/overtones to my practice routine, I feel as if I just improved exponentially.

I'm sure mostly everyone here already knows the importance of long tones, but I just played a gig last night, after practicing in solitude for the last month (focusing on my sound) and everyone was amazed at how much better I sounded. Sure, I've been working hard on scales, songs, listening, etc etc, but I feel that the long tones have really pushed me forward as a musician.

Just my two cents. I'm just trying to pass on my realization to others, who may not being practicing long tones on a daily basis. Man, I wish I had been practicing them two years ago- I'd be in a completely different place now.

-Jai
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,567 Posts
If only my students would listen to me and trust me on that one.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,814 Posts
Congrats! Don't stop now just because you've *started* to notice a difference! I've always believed (and still do) that pretty much anyone can work up licks and play fast, but the real meat is how someone SOUNDS playing a ballad. Sure, chops are great, but as (I believe) Lester Young once said after someone told him about hearing Charlie Parker and how fast he could play: "But can he sing a song"? ;)

John
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,373 Posts
CountSpatula said:
Play them long.
I guess that says it pretty well, lol. What I find most effective for doing long tones is to hold the note, in tune, with a very consistent air flow, for as long as you can maintain it with good tone and steady sound. Also be very careful to start the note cleanly and release it cleanly. If you do this regularly, it will improve your sound and stamina quite a bit.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2008/Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,295 Posts
Eventually you may wish to look into "top tones" by Sigurd Rascher. It's not just for altissimo (which there is no oressur to get started on), but there are a great many long tone exercises in it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
430 Posts
It's not just the length of the tone, but being able to play it without the note "cracking."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
How I practice long tones

Hi guys,

Someone PM'd me and asked me what I do to practice long tones, so here's my explanation:

I start out on the mid-range F (with octave key), and play it with a full, loud, supported tone for a specific length of time (which you can increase as you progress), then I move down a half step (to E) and play it for the same amount of time, then move down another half step, etc etc all the way to low Bb. Then, I play the mid-range F, but this time start ascending by half steps (to F#, G, etc etc) all the way up to high F# or beyond (into altissimo range). It usually takes me about 10-15 minutes to do this exercise, but the whole time I am focusing on keeping an even, full, loud, supported tone, no matter what note I'm playing on the instrument.

Also, I use a tuner along with this exercise, to make sure that I figure out the proper voicings needed to keep certain notes in tune (for me: D2, C#, etc). Having the tuner really helps a lot.

For overtones, I use the "Top Tones" book for saxophone by Sigurd M. Rascher, and usually spend 5-10 minutes working out of that book.

-Jai
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
jrout said:
Hi everyone,

I just started lessons with a new teacher, and he's had me playing long tones every day, as well as working on overtones too. At first they seemed very boring, and I hated practicing them. But now, I've realized that they've greatly helped my all-around playing, but especially my jazz playing. I have a huge sound now and sounds great! Just by adding 15-20 minutes of long tones/overtones to my practice routine, I feel as if I just improved exponentially.

I'm sure mostly everyone here already knows the importance of long tones, but I just played a gig last night, after practicing in solitude for the last month (focusing on my sound) and everyone was amazed at how much better I sounded. Sure, I've been working hard on scales, songs, listening, etc etc, but I feel that the long tones have really pushed me forward as a musician.

Just my two cents. I'm just trying to pass on my realization to others, who may not being practicing long tones on a daily basis. Man, I wish I had been practicing them two years ago- I'd be in a completely different place now.

-Jai
Great job, jrout. You've got a lot of patience and it obviously paid off for you. After reading this, it makes me want to practice a ton in July before heading to college again. It's an awesome feeling when your hard work pays off. These people who just fool around when they practice aren't going to get any better in the long run. Congrats again man.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top