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Distinguished SOTW Columnist/Official SOTW Guru
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I'm not the first to have this problem and I won't be the last, so I'm hoping to get some good advice here.

With an ever increasing teaching and repair workload, my weekends and evenings are a thing of the past. Early mornings look like my best shot at a regular practice routine now.

I play, Clarinet and Sax, all day, every day, but most of my students are younger kids and it's amazing how rusty you get when the hardest thing you have to play is primary school stuff.

I still work out of the Universal book with the sax kids and Langenus, Klose, Opperman, Rose etc with the Clarinet kids but it's not the same as doig my own work on these.

I find that of the two, Sax and Clarinet, i actually enjoy working on Clarinet more (I'd have laughed at that notion not so long ago).

I find the sax slow and cumbersome after the clarinet. The keys just seem to get in the way. :)

Anyhow, many people say that working on clarinet is good for your sax chops. i don't find that to be so. I'm wondering what methods and materials and routines others here use to keep proficient and keep improving on both instruments.

Can it be done or am I doomed to slowly sinking to a primary school level?
 

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Hit the scales books, Baermann Book 3 for clarinet, and an equivalent for sax. Boring, but it's the best bang for the buck. With rare exception, the other stuff is for building musicality. That's essential, of course, but it's not your problem. I don't understand the concept that playing clarinet somehow enhances sax playing. The only thing the two horns have in common is a single-reed mouthpiece. The embouchure is different, the technique is different. You might as well say oboe or flute playing makes you better on sax.
 

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Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
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I would say devise your own patterns to take through a few keys. Articulation exercises. Overtones and long tones. You can get quite a lot done with that kind of stuff in 20-30 mins. Actually that's exactly what I do when I'm feeling motivated and organised (so I'm following the trusted SOTW formula in this post of "do/play/think what I do, pal!" :mrgreen:). Along the same rather personal lines another old standby is to pop on In A Silent Way or Bitches Brew (or whatever, something you like) and have a good honk. That does have the advantage of being a lot of fun and reminding you why you play sax in the first place.

I agree that playing clarinet a lot will not improve you sax much if at all. In fact, if you're playing lots of clarinet and almost no sax I'm pretty sure the sax will go backwards fairly quickly.
 

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Any focused practice on whatever instruments you play transfers to the other things you play. Does a pitcher simply work on his throwing? No. After a good hour on Flute playing something out of Taffanel & Gaubert, how can that NOT be good for Saxophone playing? Or doing some Rose etudes on Clarinet? It's all fingers, and anything you can do to better coordinate them is good in my book.

Heck, I know of one great saxophone player who pretty much decided to just practice on flute for a year just to work on his fingers, to get them fluid, low on the instrument, and lighten his touch. And this guy was already amazing to start with, and his technique got even better on saxophone not to mention that his already stellar flute chops became more polished.
 

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I feel like this is where gear could make a difference. If there's something on the clarinet that you're consistently having to compensate for and just isn't there on the saxophone, or visa versa, or worse, you have things you're compensating for in opposite directions, going between the two may throw you off. Something that seems like it's in the fingers might actually seem harder because of what's going on with the air. If the setup on both is balanced and flexible, they should be somewhat similar, and the fingers would work themselves out, as long as you're holding them low and close to the keys for the most part.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009
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If you can do part of the spring warm up on clarinet and then some Baerman that will transfer to sax. I can spend 80% of my time on clarinet and then gig on sax if I have to. what I do have to do is make sure that I cover all keys with a met on at least one instrument and do long tones on sax to get back the tone i want. Alto i dont bother with, its my strongest. So, I will do maintinence and tech improvement on clarient, some long tones and then improvisation work on tenor. I used to warm up and work soprano first before I did clarinet. This is what I do, may or may not work for you. K
 
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