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I had the opportunity to hear an ongoing jam/gig in the afternoon by a bunch of students at Santa Rosa JC. They all played well but I was truely "blown away" by the two guys playing tenor in the band. I grabbed them after the gig and we talked a fair amount and they divuldged their "secrets".
1. Half hour long tones, matching a good player and doing overtone work
2. Half hour to an hour of most used scales in all keys. Major, minor (harmonic), dorian, mixolydian, diminished, whole tone, altered.
3. Learning a tune and then playing it a few keys.

So, really no "magic". no "secret". Just a little talent and alot of work. Now back to my work. K
(and I have to say from my experience, that when I take the time to do the scale work I really get better connected to the horn and my lines are much better. Duhhh? )
 

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Yup. The mystical secret to being a good musician is a lot of preparation, coupled with a sense of style, taste, aesthetics, history, and some kind of personality. May many people discover this secret. (and on a side note, I've discovered that if you want to lose weight, you need to eat less and exercise more. Brilliant!)
 

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Keith Ridenhour said:
1. Half hour long tones, matching a good player and doing overtone work
What does "matching a good player" mean there? Do they have a recording of a good player doing long tones that they use? Or are they matching in some other way.

Seems like you'd have to spend a lot of time jumping around a cd (or cd's) to get good examples of long tones on all the pitches. I guess you could do it once and record and splice together someone doing all the different pitches for easy reference.

Anyway, this is the first time I've heard of matching long tones to a good player. It sounds like a good idea and I'm curious how people do it, short of having a teacher playing next to you.
 

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hsitz said:
What does "matching a good player" mean there? Do they have a recording of a good player doing long tones that they use? Or are they matching in some other way.

Seems like you'd have to spend a lot of time jumping around a cd (or cd's) to get good examples of long tones on all the pitches. I guess you could do it once and record and splice together someone doing all the different pitches for easy reference.

Anyway, this is the first time I've heard of matching long tones to a good player. It sounds like a good idea and I'm curious how people do it, short of having a teacher playing next to you.
I think (correct me if I'm wrong) that Keith is talking about having a strong mental ideal of a tone quality which you wish to emulate; for instance, for many years my "ideal" tone was "Kind Of Blue" era Coltrane, so i did long tones while thinking of Trane's sound in the late 50s, trying to achieve that kind of core to my sound. I think it's all about having a sort of idealized tone that you wish to incorporate into your own playing.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I used to play one lick of Breckers for a few minutes and then do my long tone exercise with that in mind. Same as the Coltrane copy. I also played equinox to death to get Tranes beautiful tone in mind. I don't sound like either but they both added core to my tone. K (Steve Cole also, really like his tone)
 

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I try to practice more than 2 hours a day, but the inside of my lip hurts! :D I've tried a different embouchure, which doesn't put any pressure on the part that hurts, but then it's the other spot on my lip that hurts. I can barely play 2 pages of music. Maybe because I'm used to a tenor embouchure (for 5 years), and now I just got my alto, and the embouchure of an alto is a lot tighter.
 

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So the secret is to have a place where you can play boring stuff without disturbing neighboors. That's definetly not my case. I may have to change this parameter ... :|
 

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Hey Hammertime, talk to your dentist about grinding down any sharp edges on your front lower teeth. I just had this done 3 days ago and it makes a huge difference! Should've had it done years ago. Of course, you have to make sure you aren't biting because that can cause the painful lip problem too.
 

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You also could use dental wax, or like me, a cigarette paper folded over the lower teeth.
 

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learn it and then forget it!
open your mind while playing and dont worry about the technical...
we all praqctice "scales" and "long tones" and whatever we can..

why emulate someone else...its not you...be YOU!
also..take some chances..thats what jazz is all about..

jam with the birds..the sound of the wind...the neightbors kid crying...get your mind out of yourself..

someone said "you have to live it to play it"...yes!

once you have good facility with the horn the sky, no, the gallaxy is the limit..

my 2¢
see 'ya
DA411
 

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When I play long tones I just try and make sure I open my throat, use good side pressure and a firm abdomen with good air support. Then I just listen and enjoy my own tone and try and build on that. I do however listen to great players vibratos and tonguing techniques. About a few weeks ago I was listened to myself and realized that mine was way to fast and shallow. Since then I have really worked hard playing long tones with no vibrato and playing with no vibrato. Then I brought it back thicker and slower and it has made a huge difference.
 

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Hammertime said:
I try to practice more than 2 hours a day, but the inside of my lip hurts! :D I've tried a different embouchure, which doesn't put any pressure on the part that hurts, but then it's the other spot on my lip that hurts. I can barely play 2 pages of music. Maybe because I'm used to a tenor embouchure (for 5 years), and now I just got my alto, and the embouchure of an alto is a lot tighter.
If you play often you should be able to go way more then 2 hours. I'd suggest trying to use more side pressure.
 

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I'm building up the hours now. In the beginning when playing alto, I only got till one hour. Now it's two hours already. I still have to watch my embouchure. If I take my lower lip too deep over my teeth, it hurts. It also doesn't sound so bright then. If I take the minimum in I got a good sound and not as much pain :p
 

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Hammertime said:
If I take my lower lip too deep over my teeth, it hurts.
Simple.
Don't pull your lip over the bottom teeth.
That's an old clarinet technique.

There is a thread here somewhere with photos of the great players
and their embrouchures.

You need to just put the mpc in your mouth and close the lips
around it.
But then you need the long notes to strengthen your lips muscles
in order to ensure you get a good air seal.
 

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hakukani said:
You also could use dental wax, or like me, a cigarette paper folded over the lower teeth.
You put it over your lower teeth? :?






(I guess that wouldn't be necessary in Maine!)
 

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Hammertime said:
I try to practice more than 2 hours a day, but the inside of my lip hurts! :D I've tried a different embouchure, which doesn't put any pressure on the part that hurts, but then it's the other spot on my lip that hurts. I can barely play 2 pages of music. Maybe because I'm used to a tenor embouchure (for 5 years), and now I just got my alto, and the embouchure of an alto is a lot tighter.
You indicated that your alto embouchure is "a lot tighter" than your tenor embouchure. Have you checked what pitch your alto mouthpiece makes when played the way you normally play? Many classical players play at about an A Concert. Jazz players typically play 1 to 3 whole steps lower than this on alto. If your mouthpiece pitch is higher than a G, this may be part of the sore lip problem.

I have used "EZO" brand denture cushions for years when I have to play for long periods of time. My lower teeth are sharp and uneven, and even with a good embouchure they cause soreness to the inside of the bottom lip after a period of time. To use the EZO you just cut a patch the shape and size you need and soak it in hot water for a few seconds and then mold it over the bottom teeth. It is a fabric coated with dental wax and it molds perfectly over the lower teeth just like a dental appliance and a lot less expensive.

John
 

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kavala said:
Simple.
Don't pull your lip over the bottom teeth.
That's an old clarinet technique.

There is a thread here somewhere with photos of the great players
and their embrouchures.

You need to just put the mpc in your mouth and close the lips
around it.
But then you need the long notes to strengthen your lips muscles
in order to ensure you get a good air seal.
But they teached me that way. My teacher (he did college and is a professional) does the same and he has a great sound!
 
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