Beginner’s Corner VI
Paul R. Coats Family
Good morning, Paul. I have enjoyed reading some
of your articles on the web. I began playing saxophone when I was in the 5th
grade and played all through high school, college and in a few bands after
college. The problem began when my career took off and my "sax time" became
less and less! Now twenty years later I want to get reacquainted with my sax
but I am not sure how to go about it. It has been a long time! Is there
hope? Any suggestions about getting started again. I would love to find
someone to take lesson from in NYC. ( I also need some advice/direction on a
repair shop as I have a Selmer Mark VI which I purchased new in 1972 which
is in need of a tune up.) I welcome your thoughts and suggestions. I look
forward to hearing from you soon.
Best Regards, Phillip W.
Hey, Phillip! Nice
to hear from you.
Well, yours is not
the first such letter I have received… you are in good company, let me
For repair of your
horn and lessons in the NYC area, I will fwd your letter to friends in the
NYC area. I am sure they can advise you on this.
Well, you have played quite a bit, you are not
starting from scratch, so that is good. I have several things to advise.
First, as you plan,
have your sax repadded, and brought up to top playing condition. While that
is being done, start on blowing the mouthpiece as per my Tone Production
article (find this on the main page of sax on the web,
. This will help you produce a centered tone, with just the proper amount
of embouchure tension, minimizing your intonation problems.
Second, look at two
of my Beginner’s Corner articles… 3 and 4. This should be a help to you.
So, in this way you can begin to get the embouchure under control without
You might also want to start back again on a
moderate mouthpiece, not an extremely open jazz/rock piece. Also, not too
hard a reed. Reed strength depends on the mouthpiece facing. You don’t
want a setup that will take an iron jaw, and lead to biting.
I also advise you to
join a community band program. Your playing will improve so much faster if
you are playing with others, your reading will improve. Also, many
community bands also have jazz bands. Find a community band near you by
. If you are able to join a community band, make sure you are using a
suitable mouthpiece and reed setup… in other words, do not walk into the
concert band with your biggest, baddest metal jazz piece…. Nor for jazz
band, a Selmer C*. Use a mouthpiece for each genre that will allow you to
just play the music, not have to excessively work the mouthpiece.
While on the main
page of Sax On The Web, scroll down on the left side, and click the Sax On
The Web Store. There you will find a great book, the Bible of saxophone
players, The Art Of Saxophone Playing, by Larry Teal.
Let me know how you are coming along, and if
you run into any roadblocks, feel free to shoot me another email.
Paul R. Coats