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Discussion Starter #1
I've tried curling it inwards but this doesn't help when I need to play Eb, low B and C keys. Any suggestions?
 

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What do u mean...?
Is curling ur left pinky a french-champagne-drinking thing?
 

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I've worked hard to keep my hands in a naturally curved, relaxed position. Just like when I type or play piano. The pinky naturally doesn't want to stick out so it doesn't. A common teaching method to prevent flying pinkys is to (while not using them) keep the right pinky on the Eb and the left pinky on the G#. Not pressing the keys down, but just resting them but making sure there is constant contact. It forces your pinkys not to fly off. Eventually, it becomes natural.
 

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I used to have this problem when my hands were smaller. I learnt to keep it on the top of the Eb key on alto and it slowly moved as I grew to stay on the top roller on the C key. On tenor I keep it on the roller on the Eb key.


Is your thumb on your right hand in a comfortable position?


On the left hand you could try a bit of tape rolled on the G# gey and just play with that position. Roll it so you are sticking to the tape. See how many times iyour finger lifts, you will notice it. Try the same for the other table keys one at a time. Its easier to break the habit on one key and then establish new habits on theother keys.
 

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You guys better not be inferring that saxmusiclover is a Sissy!

I try to keep my pinky just barely touching the G# key.
 

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I agree with Agent27. That works eventually. It did for me.
Practise your scales slowly keeping all your fingers in contact with
the keys as much as possible.

I noticed recently on a Brecker video on Youtube that his pinky was
sticking way out. So in reality it probably does not matter a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Agent27 said:
I've worked hard to keep my hands in a naturally curved, relaxed position. Just like when I type or play piano. The pinky naturally doesn't want to stick out so it doesn't. A common teaching method to prevent flying pinkys is to (while not using them) keep the right pinky on the Eb and the left pinky on the G#. Not pressing the keys down, but just resting them but making sure there is constant contact. It forces your pinkys not to fly off. Eventually, it becomes natural.
kavala said:
I agree with Agent27. That works eventually. It did for me.
Practise your scales slowly keeping all your fingers in contact with
the keys as much as possible.
Cool! Thanks for these. :salute:

kavala said:
I noticed recently on a Brecker video on Youtube that his pinky was
sticking way out. So in reality it probably does not matter a lot.
But it doesn't look very nice.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
bandmommy said:
You guys better not be inferring that saxmusiclover is a Sissy!
:shock: I certainly am not!!! And I believe the right word nowadays is "gay" (Not too long ago I used "sissy" referring to one of my daughter's (she's 17) friends and she didn't know what it meant)


bandmommy said:
I try to keep my pinky just barely touching the G# key.
Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Saxland said:
I used to have this problem when my hands were smaller. I learnt to keep it on the top of the Eb key on alto and it slowly moved as I grew to stay on the top roller on the C key. On tenor I keep it on the roller on the Eb key.


Is your thumb on your right hand in a comfortable position?
The thumb position seems fine. I just noticed that even when I type on the computer keyboard both pinkies tend to stick out. Now I really have to work on keeping them down.
 

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To put this bluntly, hand position needs to be practiced like anything else
 

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Right on, Martin. I've put serious hours into my hand position, and i've recently discovered that i need quite a few more. The benefits of this kind of practice are innumerable. My left pinky generally stays on the C# key. I find it more central to approaching the rest of the table.

While we're on the subject, I've been having issues with my right hand thumb. It's been hurting in the first joint after playing for several hours straight. Mainly, this happens when i'm sitting and playing, not really when i'm standing. I think it's the position I have to hold the horn (tenor) when sitting puts my thumb too low and under too much pressure. i'm not sure though. Any thoughts?
 

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Whenever I see photos of myself playing, I see my right pinky sticking out - I do like a nice cup of Seargent Major's (i.e. a strong cup of tea, term used often by my sax playing grandad and also my mum) and I cringe. Sometimes when playing, I make an effort to keep it resting on my lower pinky keys but it soon flies off, especially when hammering out a solo. Heck, I'm even doing it on this recent video, you can see it when the cameraman zooms in for a brief time: http://youtube.com/watch?v=UBoEVa55OGM.

 

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Practice dry, in other words without blowing, just put your fingers in the position and then slowing finger notes without moving the pinky. you usually only need to do this for a few minutes a day and then just be more aware of it when you do actually play.
I'm a guitar player and this is how we practice that, we can't really afford to have our pinky fly all over the place, we would never make the notes on time!!! Good luck.
 

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trinitron said:
While we're on the subject, I've been having issues with my right hand thumb. It's been hurting in the first joint after playing for several hours straight. Mainly, this happens when i'm sitting and playing, not really when i'm standing. I think it's the position I have to hold the horn (tenor) when sitting puts my thumb too low and under too much pressure. i'm not sure though. Any thoughts?
Take your sling up a tad - let it take more of the weight. There should be no real weight on the thumb, think of the thumb hook as just a convenient place to rest your thumb!
 

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Pete Thomas said:
I used to glue my fingers to the saxophone while practising. This cured me of all extraneous finger sticking out. Don't use superglue.

Very nice, Pete. How much? I've got a problem with a wandering index finger..
 

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RootyTootoot said:
Very nice, Pete. How much? I've got a problem with a wandering index finger..
Is that when you're using it for playing sax or for a different use...? :yikes!:

As for my right pinky, maybe I'm not me at all but an alien, since the only telltale sign of one in the classic Roy Thinnes series The Invaders, was that they all had a stiff, outstretched little finger... :drunken:

How Do You Keep Your Pinkie From Sticking Out?
(to the tune of How Do You Keep The Music Playing?, with apologies to Michel Legrand and Alan & Marilyn Bergman - a fantastic songwriting team!)

How do you keep your pinkie from sticking out?
How do you make it stay?
How do you keep the thing from lifting away?
How do you lose yourself in the music?
And never lose your way?
How do you not run out of new things to play?

:D
 

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Saxmusiclover said:
Now I really have to work on keeping them down.
No. Don't work on it. Relax on it. Be aware of it.

When there are problems - isolate.
- Practice scales, etc silently with your sax. That is, only with the fingering.
- Also, do simple finger coordination exercises with both hands on a desk in front of you. Raise and lower the pinky with various fingering combinations but always be aware of the feeling of your pinkies resting on the table top.
- You can then transfer that to a vertical broomstick, baseball bat, whatever (stay out of this Marty) so that your hands are in a vertical position.

Sensitivity is what it's all about.
 

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I remember reading or hearing an interview with Archie Shepp talking about the first time he met John Coltrane. Apparently Shepp went to Coltrane's house for a lesson of sorts and did some playing. Anyway, the only advice/instruction Coltrane gave him was that, if he wanted to play fast, he'd have to keep his fingers closer to the keys.

I work on keeping my fingers on the keys when I'm doing ii-Vs.

Rory
 
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