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Discussion Starter #1
When I played sax the first time around I was in a school band and we always played seated. I found that with the length of my tenor sax combined with my short height and the uniform long skirt there was no way to play seated other than to twist the mouthpiece a bit and play with it against the outside of my leg on the right hand side.

Now that I am coming back to sax and can play however I want (sitting or standing) I'm wondering about posture - what is good, what is bad. I still feel like playing with the sax to my side even when standing as when I put it in front of me and hold it out from my body even a small way, I seem to have to tilt my head back to get my mouth onto the mouthpiece. I have had trouble with my neck from office work (doing 12 hour days in front of the computer) and now my neck is very sensitive to posture and muscle tightness and I can get headaches that last for days if I get things wrong. So I want to try to get my posture right with my sax straight away.

Can anyone advise on this? I'm especially interested in hearing from other people with neck problems and how they cope/compensate.

Thanks
 

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Set the horn so that it's comfortable, and the strap at a height that the mouthpiece goes straight into your mouth. Different horns hang 'naturally' at different angles.

If it hurts, don't do it.;)
 

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Whatever is comfortable.
There is no rule that says it should be to the front. Most sax necks can be rotated with a fair range of freedom without upsetting the octave linkage, and the mouthpiece can be turned to wherever you like.

We possibly see more of the flamboyant performers with the sax in front of their body, but that is probably mainly an image thing, and may even be mainly for phallic symbolism, especially if the player is 'thrusting' the instrument up and down. LOL! (Do you see female players doing that?)
 

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Bad neck

I too have neck problems as a result of the bits between the bones wearing out with age (64) - cervical spondylosis, I think. I have to be careful with prolonged computer use and when playing my sax (alto, for about 9 months) or I can get instant headaches, some of which go quickly, but some last all day/night. I am careful to adjust the strap to get the mouthpiece coming straight out and level. I let the sax hang to the side as I have always played standing up to now. Occasionally the pressure of the strap on my neck is uncomfortable and I adjust it until it is better. My teacher uses a harness for the same reason.

Hope some of this helps.
 

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A harness can be an option, but it's not always a comfortable position with every sax and every harness. I had it for a while, still use it with baritone, but for tenor I now use such a flexible Neotech-strap. It feels more comfortable, and I have less troubles with my neck.

For the rest : play as you're comfortable, as long as the mouthpiece is right in front of you (meaning you can blow straight in it).
 

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Also make sure that your posture does not involve neck twisting - either down/up or left/right - otherwise it may affect throat opening and corrupt blowing.
 

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Jolle said:
A harness can be an option, but it's not always a comfortable position with every sax and every harness. I had it for a while, still use it with baritone, but for tenor I now use such a flexible Neotech-strap. It feels more comfortable, and I have less troubles with my neck.

For the rest : play as you're comfortable, as long as the mouthpiece is right in front of you (meaning you can blow straight in it).
I don't know I used a Harness for marching, becuase marching Tenor for an hour at a time hurt my Neck. Though I have to agree I prefer my Neotech for Jazz or Rock, or the strap that came with my Selmer.
 

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Hi Jumpin',

I have some lower back and neck issues and like you I came back to playing several months ago after many years of no regular practice.

You have received some good info so far. The Picture on "Jolle's" post above is a good example of blowing straight into the mouthpiece. My first six years of playing in school I played with the neck angled downward and was advised to correct that immediatly by my current teacher. It was a painful process and increased the pressure of the neckstrap on my neck as well as the right thumb, wrist and forearm. ha! I tried the harness, used a wrist brace, which helped the wrist but brought on the need for a thumb brace. ha! Again. I couldn't tell you when, two months or so later, I began forgetting to put the braces on (I stopped using the harness early on).

I have a weekly lesson and practice 2-3 Hrs. every day and no longer have any discomfort. Maybe a little bit of a tired neck if I don't take a break every 45-60 min. For me I apparently adapted. I play mostly sitting down and also play a Tenor.

Right now my neck is uncomfortable from looking at this screen too long!

Best of luck! Oh, is that a snake or a baby rattler you're a Jumpin? ;<)

.
 
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