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  • Writer's pictureMatthewSaxStudies

1 Simple But Highly Effective Practice Tip

Updated: Mar 18, 2022

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I've just had a great practice session, working at mouthpiece, tuning and timing.

After mouthpiece and tuning, I was practising various chromatic exercises with my metronome...but my embouchure was tired and about to give out.

So, to extend my practice time I did this:

Every exercise I played, I first practised it without blowing - a lot (so, I only played the finger positions).

I practised it until I couldn't get it wrong, so that my fingers were dancing on the keys. In this process I was thinking about the saxophone as a percussion instrument.

I found that removing the process of blowing and controlling the air flow allowed me to focus more intently on the metronome and what my fingers were doing.

For each exercise, when I got my percussion instrument really grooving with the metronome, I then actually played it - once.

And every time I actually played an exercise I absolutely nailed it! It was in control and it grooved.

I extended my practice session by about 40 minutes and I had some intensely focussed and productive practice.

Honestly, if my embouchure hadn't been tired then I probably wouldn't have done this.

I'm glad it was tired though because I've re-learnt a valuable lesson and I wanted to share it with you.

I say "re-learnt" because I did know this all before and have practised like this in the past. But, it's way too easy to lose good habits!

Give It A Try - This method doesn't just work with chromatic exercises, you can apply the principal to pieces, scales etc.

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