After many years,the amount of useful information scattered over the Internet continues to amaze me. Yesterday it was the turn of this great web site,BestSaxophoneWebsiteEver,which offers a 24-page booklet in PDF format,filled with tips that all sax players can benefit from. You can find guidance on purchasing a used sax,advice on keeping your horn clean and perfectly working,tips on practicing,and more. My favorite ones are the reccomendations on how to get the best from a microphone when recording at home.
The booklet is actually only an excerpt of what you can find on this website by saxophinist Doron Orenstein,where good tips abound. I have bookmarked the following pages:
6 crucial facts about saxophone reeds
11 tips for improving your altissimo
7 tips to tell how much mouthpiece to take in (partly based on this article by Pete Thomas)
8 tips for an open throat and big sound
Flatter tounguing –The sexy sax secret
I admit it:I love pad savers,because they are pretty,colorful and –supposedly –useful. Only recently I discovered that they can be a bit dangerous,thanks to my friend Domenico Bartolomeo,who repairs saxophones for living and for passion.
The fact is,pad savers should never,ever be left inside the horn,for several reasons. First,they keep humidity and therefore the prevent your pads from getting dry,which in turn make their life shorter. Second,they tend to leave dust inside the saxophone. Third,over time they tend to lose naps (hairs),which might prevent the pads from closing perfectly. I learned this lesson the hard way.
You can use a pad saver to clean the interior of your saxophone,of course. Just don’t leave them inside it. Used in this manner,I find pad savers especially useful with straight sopranos,whereas I prefer cleaning my alto by passing a cleaning cloth through the horn.
BTW,for the same reason I avoid –if possible,of course –to close the case of your sax immediately after practicing. I typically leave the case open for a few hours to let the humidity to go away,if necessary with a cloth over (not inside!) the saxophone to protect it from dust.
You can find many utilities for slowing down playback speed and let you easily transcribe a theme or a solo.
For example,if you own an iPhone,iPod Touch,or iPad you can download Slow Down Music Trainer:this app is free but has a few limitation. Buying the Unlimited Edition (in-app purchase) gives you the ability to change the song key and a few other minor features. For just $2.99 it is a bargain.
Most Windows software for slowing down playback charge more than 3 bucks,thus you will appreciate the following tip,based on a a relatively little known Windows Media Player feature.
To use this hidden feature you should first enable the Now Playing view (use File-View menu command or just press Ctrl+3 key). Next,right-click anywhere on WMM,select the Enhancements submenu and the Play Speed Settings command.
Yes,it’s that simple and –above all –it’s absolutely free!
Even if you write most of your scores with a computer,there are times (lot of times) when you just need to write down a few notes during rehersals. Why should you buy music paper,when you can print your own?
Just visit SaxShed.com and select the paper format you prefer,in PDF or PostScript format. They have over 35 variations,including blank scores for piano solo,duets,ensambles,bands,choir,etc.
If you are in a hurry,use these direct links to the most common PDFs: 8-stave paper,10-stave paper,and 9-stave paper (landscape).