With the NYSSMA Solo Festival quickly approaching, I thought it would be prudent to create some short reference recordings/videos of a few level I-II NYSSMA solos. These will be for the alto saxophone, but I have ideas for soprano, tenor, and baritone, as well. The first three will consist of Sigurd Rascher’s transcriptions of Praetorius’ “From Heaven High”, Fox’s Minuet, and one of J.S. Bach’s Minuets from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena. It is my sincere hope that they can be of use to students and teachers alike to provide high-quality, musical renditions of some basic pedagogical pieces. The first one, Minuet by J. Fox, will be uploaded later this week. I will post the link as soon as it’s live.
Month: February 2023
Grappling with Choices
Before I get started with this post, let me just say for the record that I’ve been down the mouthpiece rabbit hole before. With each mouthpiece that I played, there was no real change in my tonal concept; however, each one I tried produced slightly different results–some with more effort, others with less. Then I found one that I truly loved, and for many years I played on this particular mouthpiece.
Since that time, the way that I play my saxophone has evolved and changed. The musical situations in which I find myself necessitate deviations from the manner in which I had played for so long. I was finding it difficult to play even simple things without making major changes to my embouchure, reeds, and even my ligature. I had played one way for so long that I believed it to be the only way in which I was supposed to play my instrument. In a way, a felt a sense of disloyalty to the tradition of playing that I follow if I were to change my mouthpiece.
Fast forward to today, and I have been playing on this new mouthpiece for the past several months. I’m very glad that I switched. It’s now possible for me to play with less effort and worry over small details and focus on making music. Isn’t that the goal? To play music with minimal effort? I think so.