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Jazz Sax Lessons: Eric's Secret Warm Up: Long Tones Exercise (Soprano Saxophone)

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Okay, now you have
entered my practice room and
along with this rare glimpse into
the deep dark world of my practice arena.
I wanna give you three of my top
secret warm up practice routines.
[SOUND] To say top secret is
a little bit of an exaggeration.
It's really not secret at all.
Very simple things actually.
But the idea with these exercises,
you're gonna rock them.
The concepts of the exercises are simple.
But, remember what I've
said in other lessons.
If you haven't seen the other lessons, if
this is the first time you're hearing it.
You're hearing it now,
which is how we practice is not as
important as what we practiced.
How we do it?
It's not as important as what we're doing,
got it?
So in the case of top secret
warm up number 1 which
are long tones,
[NOISE] jointed long tones.
There's a lot of different
ways to do this.
There's a lot of wrong ways to do this,
I've seen teachers teach this and
I've cringed I said it's not about
just playing a long note and
then maybe at some future point
playing another long note.
No, it's how you go about doing it and so
this is the best thing to think about.
When you're playing long tones.
One of the important things to think about
is that you're working out your muscles.
It's hard to play one long tone than
it is to play a series of notes.
When you're playing a series of
notes you're changing things.
You're reoxyginating your muscles.
You're blood is flowing and things.
When you're holding one note, not only are
you having to keep completely still, but
you're trying to keep one
steady sound as you're playing.
So what I want you to do as you get ready
to play these long tones is to settle in.
I want you to use a metronome.
Also, I was going to say settle in
because not only are they long tones but
you're going to play them
from beginning to end.
Now, I don't want you to pass out.
That's not the idea.
If you need to take a break,
your mouth is quivering from exhaustion,
absolutely stop.
I'm not going to, I'm going to keep going.
So stop as long as you need to and
then jump back on here if you're playing
along with me which I encourage you to do.
I certainly encourage you to do
this on your own as well but so
as I'm playing, again I want to make
sure you know about the athlete analogy.
It's like when you're running on a track
and you're running and you're running and
know that as you're running, if you
continue through the entire half hour run,
45 minute, hour long run,
it's More beneficial for
you then if you take a break
every five minutes obviously.
Run for five minutes, take your ten minute
break, run for five more minutes take
another ten minute break, then at the end
of the hour say, yeah I ran for an hour.
I mean it's not going to be as good.
Same thing with practicing.
Specially this type of
endurance building routine.
So we're going to play
these long tones now.
Look on those PDFs,
I actually wrote out those PDFs for
you in the way that I prescribe,
the way I do it which is as you can see
I start on the middle of the horn.
I'm gonna start on B no matter
what horn you're playing.
And so side note, if you're playing,
I'm gonna do this on Alto this time.
And so I'm gonna start on B on the alto.
On the B flat chart it starts on E.
And so that way we can both
play at the same time.
So check your charts.
If you're playing baritone or
alto use the E flat chart.
And if you're playing tenor or
soprano use the B flat chart.
And I've got my metronome Right here, and
it's set on 70 beats per minute,
pretty slow.
It's gonna be kind of a challenge.
That's the whole point.
And so I want you to hold your notes for
eight Eight counts, breathe where you
have to and again don't pass out but
as you're playing this make sure you
hold your notes for eight counts and
we're gonna start on B and go all the way
down to the bottom of the horn, okay?
Then take a short break and
we're gonna start on B again and
go up to the top of the regular
range of the horn up to F,
we're not gonna get into
altissimo quite yet.
You're welcome to on your own but
F is definitely sufficient for now.
Okay, so, in order to play these together
on this lesson, there are two versions.
I played an E Flat version
of these long tones, and
a B Flat version of these
long tones on soprano.
So if you're playing baritone, or alto,
you can play along with
the E Flat Baritone or alto version.
And if you're playing tenor or
soprano you can play along with me
on soprano with a B-flat versions.
So here we go with whichever
one you're playing.
So have fun, and we'll see you at the end.
Okay, how do those
chops feel right about now?
Yeah, if you don't feel anything
in your mouth whatsoever,
you're either superhuman or
you're not doing them right.
And it's pretty much There's no way not to
do them right, you're playing one note.
So I'm sure you're feeling a little
bit of burn which is good,
that's the whole point,
we're conditioning our muscles.
Also too, you wanna be thinking
as you're playing these
to keep your sound as steady as possible.
That is really the The ultimate idea
behind playing long tones is that you want
to be able to play one long
note as controlled as possible.
There's a lot of different ways to
approach long tones too, this is one,
this is my way to do it and
I recommend it to you too.
There's a very common flute exercise
where prior to the long tone,
you approach it with a quarter note
pick-up, a half step below it.
So you chromatically go
Duh, duh, and so forth.
Same thing on the way down.
Also you could you could use dynamics.
A little of people will start
from your softest dynamic,
your softest volume level.
And half way through, get to your
peak level, and then come back down.
That's fine, too.
But I think for the purposes of of.
long tones as I'm describing trying
to really solidify one note,
it's good just to, bam, just have it on.
So as you're playing these notes,
I want you to, first of all,
start the note with an attack,
don't just start with a breath.
I want you to start it
with an articulation so
that it begins just
like a light coming on.
It's off, it's on, it's off, it's on.
And shut it down the same way.
Just put the tongue back on the reed and
have that note just stop.
That's important because if,
you know for obvious reasons,
if somebody wants you to start a note
exactly, or you want to start the note
right exactly where Where it lies say
on beat one and somebody counts you in.
You say, one, two, three, four, bam,
you want that note to start right
exactly where you intend it.
So for those reasons, I encourage you
to play these long tones at one volume.
Start them square Play them even and
end them just as squarely.
So this is the backbone
of any practice routine.
And if you can do these well, you are well
on your way to becoming a killer player.
So that is my first of my
top secret warm-up Lessons,
so stay tuned for number two,
top secret warm up.