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I've been playing alto saxophone for about 4 years (beginner-intermediate level), and I'm having a lot of trouble with my embouchure.
My embouchure seems very tight and pinched, and I tend to grip the mouthpiece really tightly. My tone is pretty characteristic of having too tight of an embouchure. Even though I don't have an underbite, my lower lip tends to be farther out than my top lip. I've been playing this way for as long as I can remember, and I'm trying to loosen up, but am having a lot of trouble with this. Does anyone have any tips?
Thanks!
 

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Tansaku,

Play an upper register F# (concert A-440) , then take the mouthpiece off the horn, and play on just the mouthpiece. Try to match the F#'s pitch an octave higher (concert A-880). If you are playing significantly higher than this, you're probably using too much embouchure pressure. The A-880 is about as tight as an embouchure/high a mouthpiece pitch that you will want to use. For jazz playing, something lower/looser, like a concern Eb pitch, may be more appropriate. in any event, more mouthpiece in your mouth and less pressure are directionally where you want to go. Also, make sure the mouthpiece enters your mouth more "perpendicular" to your neck/spine axis, rather than on an acute upward angle, like a clarinet. There are some very good threads on the forum by Phil Barone and others about how much mouthpiece to take in and how to practice using less embouchure pressure. They are worth reading.

Hope this helps!
 

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There's an analogy that it should feel like there's an egg in your mouth. You also need to engage the side muscles of your mouth like when you purse your lips and that should help form an O shape embouchure without biting or tensing up too much.
 

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Push your mouthpiece in! Then play along with some recorded keyboard music - not (just) a rhythm section (like Aebersold or BIAB) but a melody. Make sure you match pitch so that you hear the unison. DO NOT USE A TUNER! You have to learn to match by ear, not eye. Record yourself and listen critically.

What ChuBerry said about the Phil Barone threads is also good. Bottom line, if you are pinching you are playing the saxophone incorrectly and you will have to train yourself to play differently. It will take some time.
 
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