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Discussion Starter #1
Alright, so I'm having a lot of trouble with my embouchure. When I try to play, I can't get any notes out at all when I press the keys. I don't understand what the deal is. Occasionally, I get it right and I can get a response from the sax, but I can never get it right again, until I get lucky.

I'll put up a video of it later, so you guys can see what I mean.

I think it might have something to do with how far the mpc is in my mouth.
Could it also have something to do with the angle at which it's in my mouth?
 

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If air isn't escaping from the sides of your mouth then the only things I can think of where you can't get any sound at all:

1)Your reed is too hard and you don't have the air support to make it vibrate
2)Your horn is terribly out of alignment and need repair badly
3)You left the fuzzy swab in the body of the horn

Do put up the vid though.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, I do get sound, just when I press any keys out it [usually] stops.
The horn is fine, I've had it checked out by my friend's father (head band director here.)

I'm almost positive that the problem is with my embouchure. I don't leak any air though.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It's the... stock mouthpiece. I know, I know. I've been told to get a new one!

I've been playing for about a week. I've been taking the mouthpiece with me in my car when I'm at work (I deliver pizza for Domino's) and practicing with that using a tuner.
 

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So you can get a sound out of the mouthpiece but not the horn? What about the mouthpiece on the neck without the rest of the horn?
 

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Sound production takes place at the reed and the mouthpiece. The rest of the horn is just for getting out specific pitch. If you can get a sound on the mouthpiece then your embouchure (even if it isn't perfect) is good enough to get a sound out of the horn. Common problems with embouchure like biting and too much/little pressure can affect intonation, playing in the intended register, and tone quality but sound should still be produced.

If you can get a sound on the mouthpiece (with or w/o neck), then the embouchure isn't the issue. It has to be the horn. Either a key is vented that shouldn't be, or a key is stuck that shouldn't be, or there's some kind of obstruction that isn't allowing air to flow through the horn.

Also, adding the horn to the MPC can add resistance. Make sure your reed isn't to hard (or it's just a bad reed). It it's you hard then you can't blow hard enough to make the reed vibrate. If it's too soft then the reed will stick to the facing of the mouthpiece and won't vibrate. Still, it sounds like a horn problem to me.

If you can, have a few people play the horn. Try your mouthpiece/reed setup on somebody elses horn and see if the same problem occurs.

And still upload that vid when you get a chance.
 

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Let me add that when I first started I couldn't get a sound out because my reed was too hard and I hadn't developed the lung capacity. My mother could make a sound before I could.

When I taught 7th and 8th graders they often had anemic tones because they hadn't developed enough breath support for the reed strength they were playing on. The first step was to move them down a 1/2 size on reeds and then develop good breathing habits and strengthening their support muscles before moving them back up to harder reeds.

When I switched to tenor I had a similar problem and it took me around 2 weeks to adjust having to put more air in the horn.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ahh, you're probably right.

For example:

I'll play B, A and then a G. Usually, I can get the B and the A, but when I try to get the G, the A just goes a little flat.

Sometimes, if I adjust my embouchure a little, I can get the notes to play correctly, and I can keep doing it as long as I don't take the mpc out of my mouth. But once I take it out of my mouth, it takes some work to get it back to where I can get it the right way again.

Thanks for the advice :)
 

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Get a lesson now, as you are screwing something up, and probably learning many bad habits which are much harder to unlearn than avoid in the first place.


Get A teacher NOW
 

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I would agree with Carl here, even if it's a grad student that needs a few bucks on the side, get the basics down. It took me 4 years to fix my articulation when I had been "left to figure it out" when I started and was doing it wrong. Get someone to sit with a ruler and smack your hand for a little while until you can get into a studio with a professional. =)

- Pat
 

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2.5's should be OK. A lot of directors start students out on 3.5's which are too hard for beginners or 3's which may or not be too hard.

Although, I have taught kids who were struggling with 2.5's.

If you can play A and B but start having trouble at G, there might be a leak in that key. That would affect every note that is played with that key down. Experienced players might be able to adjust and overblow to compensate for a minor leak that a beginner wouldn't be able to. Maybe this is why your friends dad could do it.

About 6 years ago I had my tenor stolen and I played on a friend's until I could get a new one. His horn had a terrible leak in the E and F key that make it horribly difficult to play any notes that involved the right hand. I could still manage to get sounds out but damn they hard as hell to play.
 

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So, are you not at UNT now? That place should have hot and cold running saxophone players to get advice from.
 
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