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Hey, I've been playing the tenor saxophone for about two months now and have come across the problem of not being able to practice much. Not because I don't want to, but because I lose my endurance in my facial and lip muscles after playing for only 30 minutes or so.

I've played the trumpet for six years, and switched to the tenor saxophone because I had embrochure problems on the trumpet that I was un-able to fix (I basically didn't have an embrochure). I don't want to make the same mistake so I need to fix this issue.

I figure the trumpet mentality of squeezing to hit high notes is part of the problem, but I make sure not to squeeze on the sax, and find that when my jaw is looser I get tired faster.

My embrochure has the basics, but I only have one tooth on the top of the mouth piece (Jupiter 4C, with a 3 reed). To put both front teeth on the mouthpiece forces me to place the mouthpiece at an angle very uncomfortable and almost impossible to play at, so I just ignored it.

I'm pretty sure airflow isn't the issue, as I took lessons with a private teacher who taught me to use my air very efficiently. I also am taking private lessons now with a sax teacher who told me to just blow through it if I'm tired. That didn't help.

I still play trumpet in the band, but practice the sax on my own time. Maybe some of the same muscles are used and are still tired from trumpet playing? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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My old teacher told me to split my practice time into halves. Fifteen or twenty minutes for each. Do this for a few days and than add 5 minutes to each half. After a few more days add 5 more minutes. She said it takes time to build up the muscles so they don't get tired so fast.
I think trying to keep playing after you get tired might start habits that you will have a hard time fixing later.
You might try a softer reed too. I used a 2 or 2 1/2 when I started.
 

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Are your two front top teeth uneven? If they are and your mouthpiece is shifting around, your muscles will get tired locking down to hold it in a playable position. The reason is your facial muscles are being used out of balance. One jaw joint will have more pressure than the other as well. A mouthpiece that is positioned level will play alot better for you and encourage proper muscle development for playing.

A dentist may be the solution. Try EZO first, a dental product that you can mould around the teeth for a temporary fix. Or you can cut up a mouthpiece patch on half the mouthpiece and fill in the gap that way as well.
 

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You've only been playing a short while, as mentioned above, advising to drop the reed strength is prudent. Go back to a 2, if that closes up on you easily, then go for 2 1/2.

Don't run before you can walk - you may have already played an instrument which uses your mouth but embouchure for sax is far different than trumpet.
 

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Saxland said:
A dentist may be the solution. Try EZO first, a dental product that you can mould around the teeth for a temporary fix. Or you can cut up a mouthpiece patch on half the mouthpiece and fill in the gap that way as well.
This is good advice. If you don't have i teacher i'd suggest you get one. They should be able do advise on this one to suit your specific situation.. If their advice is "i dunno" or "live with it", get a new teacher. You need to find a way to get an even contact on the top of the m/p.
 
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