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Jazz Sax Lessons: High Notes: Making Them Sound Good

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Okay, so now I wanna talk to you
about making sure that your
high notes sound good.
On my lesson talking about fingerings,
we went through all
the different fingerings and
you had that fingering chart, by the way.
Hopefully you download
that from that lesson.
I did allude to the fact that you
wanna make sure that you're using your
air properly so
that your notes sound good.
You're not just fingering them and
they're barely squeaking out,
they have to sound as good as
every other note on your horn.
And the way to get them to sound as
good as every other note in your horn,
is to play them in the same way,
that you play the rest of the horn.
So, meaning,
as far as your air is concerned,
that you wanna move your air forward.
And, again,
like every other note on the horn, you
wanna make sure your reed is vibrating.
Make sure your reed is vibrating.
So, if it's not vibrating well than those,
all we're doing when we're
playing those high notes is just picking
out the top overtones of the natural sound
of the horn, those over tones are being
created by the vibration of the reed.
So, gotta get that reed to vibrate in
order for those overtones to come out.
so, we want those notes to come
out easily and have them all,
you know, speak.
So, just be aware,
when you're practicing these guys,
I haven't gotten the exercises for you.
I mean they're, I can't say that
I ever actually played scales.
I mean I can play some,
not that I didn't practice those notes,
not that I'm discouraging you
from practicing them obviously.
But play them individually and make sure,
that when you're playing
them that they sound good.
Whether you're gonna incorporate them
in some sort of scale, or arpeggio.
Or, however you want to do it,
make sure that, again, that the ratio
between the pressure of your lip,
your embouchure, and
your air stays the same.
So I like to think that ratio is
like 60% air and 40% embouchure.
That's the pressure we
use when we move forward.
Those are numbers off the top of my head.
But that's how I feel, I feel like the
majority of the support of our playing,
our sound in general,
is more air than lip.
It makes sense, right?
Because air helps to vibrate the reed.
Our embouchure is really kind
of helping to deaden the reed.
Your mouth is actually on the reed, we're
pressing down on it in order to create
a sound, so all that pressure
is bringing the reed down.
It's kind of deadening the vibration.
The air is what's driving
the reed to vibrate.
So as long as you think
of that as your playing,
especially on high notes, then you got
to stand a much better chance of having
those notes sound good and sound in tune.
So air driven,
you need the pressure here, but
you need to make sure
the air is definitely there.
Your throat is incredibly important, okay?
On my throat position lesson I
get way more into this topic.
But basically you wanna make
sure you're opening your throat.
So when you open your throat,
just like all the rest of the horn,
the simple way to think
about opening your throat.
Is just, either speaking in a low voice,
when you speak, in a low voice, or
you sing your lowest note,
you have that feeling when you play.
Just like on the rest of the bottom
of the horn, when I open my throat.
[SOUND] You can hear the change of tone.
It really opens things up.
You're not actually saying anything.
You're not actually singing anything, but
that's the position that
you wanna get into.
So just to randomly say open your throat,
it's hard to know what that is unless
you use some sort of tool to get there.
So same thing with high notes.
Very often if I go for a high G,
and it doesn't come out.
I think, I forgot to open my throat.
The only thing I'm really changing there
is my throat position.
Open my throat, a note comes out.
Close down my throat, it doesn't come out.
So, you're high notes have a lot to do
with the amount of air
that's hitting the reed.
It doesn't have to hit it
necessarily super hard, but it
has to hit it hard enough so the note will
come out and it will come out in tune.
But having your throat nice and open
will help improve, not only the sound of
your high notes, but the sound of
your entire Instrument altogether.
So there are some tips on how to make
your high notes sound super great,
and I'd love to hear how great
your high notes are sounding so
shoot me a video and let me hear you.
All right, have fun with those high notes.