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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings.


Almost every time I'm playing the sax (usually in a group and not in classical music) and am really, really enjoying it, I mean really like feeling the awesomeness of it, I get this ANNOYING throat pain. It's something psychological, I feel the amazingness and just do something with my throat that makes it hurt. It's like a deep pain, like you're stressing it.

This really bugs me and disables me from playing normally, my sound gets f*cked in the way and I'm distracted.

Has anyone else had this problem, and if so, how would I fix it? By playing more often in public, or what?


Cheers
 

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I've never had problems like this, however I used to play with a lot of tension in my body. I somewhat cured this by doing sort of a meditative practice. I just started with 5 minutes of long tones starting on low Bb and telling myself to relax everything in my body. I'd even go so far as to try and relax the hairs on my head, then descend downwards. my tension was in my shoulders and in my arms, when I told myself to focus on relaxing those areas they would ache because I was telling them not to do what they were doing by habit. After you feel like you are relaxing, continue doing long tones up the rest of the horn. I don't do this often anymore (due to lack of time) but when I used to do this I would do the whole exercise on every note of the horn. I would started off only doing 5 minutes every time I practiced and by the end I was doing up to half an hour. After this people stopped saying I looked like I was going to crush my horn every time I played.

Edit : Oh and my tone got a lot better!
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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If (as you say) it's psychological, I would get expert advice.
Sounds like it's not just normal performance nerves but something deeper, so I would suggest you still check out those pages, but ideally get professional advice. Not just people on a forum who don't know you
 

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Its funny, I play with a lot of different setups such as a Guardala King and a RPC 115B on a MK VI or Yamaha 62, as well as occasionally on a Barone Hollywood. They all sound and feel great. The only mouthpiece that sounds good (for me) on my Conn 10M is a Drake ceramic because, I suppose, of the open chamber. The problem is I get terrible throat pain with this set up which I don't get on any other setup Interestingly, when I play the Drake on either the VI or the YAS62 I have no problem either. None of my other mouthpieces work with the Conn because of the higher baffle causing intonation problems. I still practice and play on the Drake/10M combo setup because I feel like I'm working on "the heavy bag"! Makes everything else feel easy. Good luck with your problem. Try some different setups and see what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If (as you say) it's psychological, I would get expert advice.
Sounds like it's not just normal performance nerves but something deeper, so I would suggest you still check out those pages, but ideally get professional advice. Not just people on a forum who don't know you

You mean professional saxophonists, like, let's say, my teachers?
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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You mean professional saxophonists, like, let's say, my teachers?
No, I don't know your teachers or how qualified they might be in such matters. I mean professional medical experts.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hmmm, I think It may have to do with the way I open my throat when moving on to play jazz/rock, whether it's playing along Sanborn with my headphones or in a concert. Damn, I don't know... I may be over-stressing the throat, but... this is the only way I get this sound I want to get...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Are you possibly biting down when playing? How long have you played sax? Is your reed too hard?
I don't believe I apply that much force with my teeth, but it is possible...
I've been playing for 7 years now, and I'm 14 at the moment.
I'm playing with a Meyer 6M (for it's versatility and such) and using Rico Jazz Select 3M reeds. An hour ago or such I was playing and I got the throat pain, the current reed wasn't hard at all, had been using it for quite a while.
 

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Could it be due to a dry throat? Try sippling water regularly when playing.
 

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One possibility is that you have acid reflux. As you blow harder in your jazz setup it becomes more apparent. i had a similar issue and solved it with OTC meds. Hasnt come back in 2 years.

You might want to see an ENT.
 

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If you say its something psychological its probably because you get the "stage fright" or something of that sort that activates your sympathetic system which dries up your digestive system secretion thus might possibly be related to the throat pain that you feel every time you perform. It is a natural response of the body when you feel adrenaline rush that is why I recommend that you do deep breathing and relaxation exercises before you perform and also don't forget to drink sips of water as previously advised, it might help..
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It's not just when I'm on stage. It's also when I'm at home playing along with Sanborn records, for example. I get such a thrill that my throat hurts...
 

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I'm with Pete. I think you should consult with a physician. It's probably nothing serious, but the peace of mind would be well worth the visit to the Doc.

Randy
www.randyhunterjazz.com
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That's a good possibility. A bad thing about me - I drink almost no water. This is a call for attention.
Don't look any further. When I practice all day long, I drink a gallon of water. That's more than twice the daily recommendation. Playing saxophone is a very physical activity. You're using lots of muscle power to generate a tone, hold the saxophone, move your fingers. Don't forget how much fuel your brain burns when you're playing sax. Every inch of your body needs water to function properly.

If I didn't drink water throughout the day and practice, I'd just collapse. After 30 minutes of focused practice, my body needs 1. a break 2. WATER. I used to drink Coke instead of water and the switch made a VERY noticeable difference. I can practice for longer periods of time, I have more focus and I don't feel as drained as before. I also wake up more refreshed.

I'm saying all of this to stress out the importance of drinking water. It took me a while to finally switch but it seems my body has become gradually addicted to it. If you force yourself to drink a glass of water every 30 minutes or at least every hour, you'll soon be drinking water regularly without having to make a conscious effort. Another approach would be to have a bottle of water at disposal and take sips as soon as you stop playing.
 

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It's not just when I'm on stage. It's also when I'm at home playing along with Sanborn records, for example. I get such a thrill that my throat hurts...
Definitely get some professional advice, if you are putting too much pressure on your throat you can easily do damage to your Larynx. It is more common with trumpet players but can also happen with woodwind players as well (see Michael Brecker)
 

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I typically play on fairly open mouthpieces. I was having lots of throat pain and what I think of as back pressure when I was playing on my V16 mouthpiece. There was too much resistance, and the back pressure caused my throat to hurt. I switched to a different mouthpiece that is more free blowing, and the pain went away.
 
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