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Jazz Sax Lessons: Basic Embouchure

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Okay let's talk about a basic embouchure.
You know the embouchure is the thing,
again with so many aspects of playing,
it's important that you get it
right from the beginning but
you're always checking it.
I know I am.
There are different things that
we can do to make sure that our
embouchure is not only
just set generically,
correctly like we do from the very first
day we put a mouthpiece in our mouth.
But just making sure pressure wise it's
about positions, about the position
of your upper lip, the position of
your lower lip and the corners.
But it's also about not just
the positions but the pressure, too.
Let's talk about, on a basic level, about
the positions, how to set everything.
The overall key, when we are doing
this and the thing to keep in mind,
is that the reed vibration
is what creates your sound.
The more the reed can vibrate
the bigger your sound is.
>> [MUSIC].
So if you have to much pressure in
your embouchure which is a very
common thing not when we just first start,
but in general.
The more pressure you have on the reed,
obviously the less the reed is
going to be able to vibrate.
So you want to make sure that reed is
able to vibrate as much as possible.
So if you are clamping down too much,
you're going to get this.
>> [MUSIC].
Very common sound to have
when you first start playing.
So, could be a product of a few
different things actually.
Could be a product of
your reed being to soft.
Again you may be using the proper amount
of pressure, but if your reed is to
soft then even the small amount of
pressure is going to close everything up.
So be aware of that.
So, and then also,
an embouchure that is not using
enough pressure if you're
not biting down hard enough.
Hate to use the word biting
down that wasn't good.
Using enough pressure, then your playing
is going to sound out of control.
>> [MUSIC].
Very reminiscent of a few
beginning students I've had and
my playing when I was much,
much, much younger.
So be aware of that.
Oftentimes the amount of pressure that
you want to use on your embouchure can be
corrected just by listening, just by
being aware of what you sound like.
So often we can't see the forest
through the trees, so to speak.
Where you're doing all
these different things and
you're not actually
listening to the end result.
You're not listening to
the sound that you're producing.
So the videos are going to help quite
a bit obviously between the two of us but
be your own gentle critic and
just be aware of how you're sounding.
So, here's our basic thing.
Make sure that your upper teeth
are on the top of your mouthpiece.
We talked about this a little bit
back in the mouthpiece lesson, but
to reiterate quickly.
So like this, you're not doing this.
No double lips.
You're gonna have your teeth touching
the top of the mouth piece like that.
And about that far down.
Maybe a third of an inch or so.
Not to close to the tip of
the mouthpiece and not too far down.
It's pretty,
just by looking at mine check that out.
I played this mouth piece for 25 years so
you can see my little teeth indentation
there at the top of my mouthpiece.
So, about that far down.
Point is that you want to make sure you
got enough mouthpiece in your mouth so
that the tip of the reed,
the part that's vibrating the most
is allowed to vibrate freely.
And then the bottom part bottom lip,
lower part of your embouchure,
your lower lip rolls
over your lower teeth.
So, that your lip is between the reed and
those teeth, and
with regards to the amount of
lip you want to have tucked in.
It should be to the point where your teeth
are splitting the red part of your lip.
So, all right, just like that.
>> [MUSIC].
Like that, see?
>> [MUSIC].
So, do this with me.
Let's just play a B.
Just the number one key.
This one down like that.
And just play a couple of notes.
Here we go.
Play along with me now.
Last time.
Ok so in some other lessons, we're going
to be talking about exercises and
things but this is a good one.
It means we'll refer to
long tones right now.
The way to set everything embouchure wise
is to play some long tones for long tones.
Just play some long notes.
Anybody can get a note to
sound from the beginning.
It's how consistent you're able to keep
that note throughout the whole note.
And so, we'll talk about the other things
that are involved in that process in
other lessons, but with this lesson,
we're talking about our embouchure.
Once you set your upper lip and
your lower lip,
you want to keep them pretty consistent.
As far as the corners are concerned,
that's kind of a moving target
a little bit, with the corners.
I tend to, let's see check this out.
I tend to bring my corners in a little
bit, partly because I don't want air
to be escaping from the sides but
mostly you just want in
my opinion a rounded
support around the entire mouthpiece.
It's more like the curtains on
the side of the window, they're there.
You're not like bringing
them in very tightly.
The pressure really comes from down below,
these are here just to
help stabilize things.
So, that's your basic embouchure.
There is air involved, there's your throat
involved, all kinds of different things.
But for now go through that process,
make sure that,
again, as a beginning player.
Make sure that you're comfortable
with all those things.
If you're not quite getting it or
you have any questions,
send me that video and I'll respond and
give you the high sign or not.
We can make sure that
you're doing it correctly.
All right.
Good luck.
Thank you.