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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hiya, I have been playing alto saxophone for around 2 years now but I have found my saxophone is getting hard and harder to play with each coming practice lately. But at the beginning of this year everything has pretty much gone out the windows and the only thing I feel like I can do at this point well are the fingers. I am currently using a Yamaha 4C mouthpiece, any advices on ways I can improve my playing and embouchure.

Thanks! :)
-Dylan
 

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You can pick a favorite simple tune you like to play that you play well enough to relax with as you play. Play that song as a warm-up. Note how you get better at playing that particular song. Get a solid musical foundation within your playing that is fun and easy. It's good to play things you look forward to playing without stress and over judging yourself. It's usually the fun things that allow us to play without self critiquing every thing we do as we play. When we play with less tension the embouchure feels more relaxed and natural as well as the breathing and fingering.
 

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Hiya, I have been playing alto saxophone for around 2 years now but I have found my saxophone is getting hard and harder to play with each coming practice lately. But at the beginning of this year everything has pretty much gone out the windows and the only thing I feel like I can do at this point well are the fingers. I am currently using a Yamaha 4C mouthpiece, any advices on ways I can improve my playing and embouchure.

Thanks! :)
-Dylan
Welcome to the forum! So, when's the last time you took the horn in for a regulation? The saxophone shouldn't get "harder and harder" to play. Have a tech look at your horn to make sure you don't have some leakage going on.

That said, the way most of us work on our tone is via making long tones and overtone exercises part of our daily routine. There are lots of thread here discussing this, and lots of videos on Youtube demonstrating these exercises. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Could that also go towards me doing better in a school band rather then on my own? Because I am not too comfortable playing on my own and usually find playing with others helps me get into the swing of things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
And in reply to MLucky, My horn was looked at about 7 months ago by a tech at our local music store. I think it just may be the fact that I have to get more comfortable by playing by myself as I can probably guess in the nearing future when become a more rounded saxophone player you've gotta be more comfortable practicing just by yourself
 

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And in reply to MLucky, My horn was looked at about 7 months ago by a tech at our local music store. I think it just may be the fact that I have to get more comfortable by playing by myself as I can probably guess in the nearing future when become a more rounded saxophone player you've gotta be more comfortable practicing just by yourself
This is so.
The process of playing as an end in itself.
Finding songs to play.
Playing by ear.
Prepping to do well with the band.
Getting a tutor and working with them.
Practicing with your sax section as a club.

Something that makes the practice time fun and satisfying.
The thing that makes a saxophone player different from other people
is playing the sax.
 

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How do you practice? Do you have backing tracks to play along with? Can you record your practice and review the next day? Click's advice above is excellent food for thought, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hiya everyone thanks for the replys, I think I may have found what has been going on with my saxophone. On closer inspection it looks like I may have been ripped off by long and mcquade because one of the pads they said they replaced is still the original and I know because the pads they did replace have a certain style of how they applied the shellac. I've got pictures but not entirely sure on how to share them. And my band class consisted of soley of 16 people. Not and extremely large band but only 2 alto players and a bari saxophone. I wouldn't say it's the best band class but it is a great experience. Would you recommend me going in for real saxophone lessons or just experimenting my way up?

Thanks

-Dylan
 

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Hiya everyone thanks for the replys, I think I may have found what has been going on with my saxophone. On closer inspection it looks like I may have been ripped off by long and mcquade because one of the pads they said they replaced is still the original and I know because the pads they did replace have a certain style of how they applied the shellac. I've got pictures but not entirely sure on how to share them. And my band class consisted of soley of 16 people. Not and extremely large band but only 2 alto players and a bari saxophone. I wouldn't say it's the best band class but it is a great experience. Would you recommend me going in for real saxophone lessons or just experimenting my way up?

Thanks

-Dylan
First of all get your horn fixed by a good tech...
 

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Well, look, the palm key pads can easily go south in the course of 7 months. I would not assume that you were "ripped off" if someone did not change a pad 7 months ago and now it needs replacing. It probably didn't leak 7 months ago.

Just take the thing in to the shop and have them replace whatever pads need replacing, and regulate the action (you may have a leak because a piece of cork has compressed or fallen off). Normal stuff.

Saxophones don't get harder to play with time unless they are developing leaks, which they all do.
 

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Well, look, the palm key pads can easily go south in the course of 7 months. I would not assume that you were "ripped off" if someone did not change a pad 7 months ago and now it needs replacing.
Except GetYoursaxOn12 says specifically that was one of the pads they said they replaced...

Saxophones don't get harder to play with time unless they are developing leaks, which they all do.
Yes, exactly
 

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Well, heck, even a brand new pad can go south in 7 months if you're a particularly juicy player.
Yes, we know that of course , what I'm saying is they said they replaced a pad but they didn't, apparently.
 

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OK well there you have it.

Dylan, take the horn to a good tech, have them run through it and put it back in good playing shape. Up to you whether you wanna go back to same shop and point out their 'omission', or try someone new (preferably recommended by another player)

Once that's all taken care of, the horn will not be 'harder to play'.

Then you can move on to the other suggestions, which were aimed more at how you can approach practicing by yourself, alone, as opposed to just playing in a band situation.

First order of business is making sure the sax is in good tack, tho.

(aforementioned private teacher question: if you don't have one, it likely would help if you did).
 

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Yes by all means get any leaks fixed. But after that, long tones are the best place to start. (ignore my signature)
 

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Not mentioned, but have you changed reed brands or strengths lately? Could your current reeds be worn out? It can be pretty difficult to play on dead reeds. Yamaha pieces are pretty solid, but has your piece suffered any trauma recently? Drops? Scratches? Exposure to heat? Do you still have the problems with (or have you tried) other reeds/mouthpieces? I'm not trying to spark an unhealthy gear obsession, but changing things up can help diagnose whether it's the horn or the mouthpiece/reed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm not sure where to find a good tech in my area at this point, there is the big box music store where most averagly people will go to repair there instruments, and not really much more then that. I guess I can try them out again because the pad may have already went bad in that time because as someone had already said a "Juicy" player can really make the pads go which pretty much fits my description of playing. I'm not sure if this is something exclusive to the YAS-23 line of saxophones but the right hand pinky key is the one that has decided to fail on me. I'm a little more familar with Buescher saxophones then the Yamaha's so I am unsure if that would make a difference at all. But I do all the proper matience after playing i'll swab my saxophone out twice to get all the spit out and all the other pads look find since the repair was done except for the right pinky keys *Most specifically the on on the back not the side*

Thanks for all the replies this is a great help for me!
-Dylan
 
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