Alto Saxophone – Awareness as You Perform (Musicians)(Psychology)(Pain)(Strain)(Injuries)(Posture)(Alexander Technique)(Albuquerque)

by ethankind on October 3, 2013

This ebook, An Alexander Technique Approach to Alto Saxophone Technique, is published on this website in a PDF format. It is very detailed and practical, and it will give you the physical tools you need to take the limits off of your ability to create the accurate saxophone technique you want without sacrificing your body.
This ebook is also for sale on all AMAZON websites in a KINDLE format.
Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A.

How do you incorporate the subtle changes and not so subtle changes you’ve made to your alto saxophone technique into a saxophone performance? How do you do in performance what you’ve been doing when you practice?

THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE IS AS MUCH ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE LETTING GO OF IN YOUR OLD TECHNIQUE THAT WAS NOT WORKING, AS IT IS ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE INCORPORATING INTO YOUR PLAYING TO MAKE IT WORK.

So, how do you simultaneously let go of what isn’t working as you perform and do what is new? YOU DO THIS WITH SOMEONE OR A GROUP LISTENING. So, instead of asking someone or a group to listen to you to hear how well you can play the whole piece, you ask someone or a group to listen to you as you play fragments or larger sections, as you focus SOLELY on the changes you’re making or have made to your alto saxophone technique.

You ask the person or persons listening to give you feedback on what they’re seeing, letting hearing be secondary. THIS MEANS THE LISTENER(S) IS FOCUSING ON HOW YOU’RE PLAYING THE ALTO SAXOPHONE, NOT ON WHAT IS COMING OUT. This is the pure Alexander Technique approach of teaching the saxophone player to take care of themselves before taking care of the music – THE MEANS OVER THE ENDS.

When I demonstrate the basic principles of good posture of the Alexander Technique to a group of alto saxophone players, it is amazing how quickly they begin to see as I see, after I work with a couple of performing saxophone players in front of the group. Truth is they could always see the poor posture etc. of their colleagues! When I demonstrate how much more comfortable it is to sit or stand fully upright, and how much better the quality of the sound coming out of the alto saxophone is with Alexander Technique posture, they begin to see the value of whole body good posture on the saxophone.

There is another crucial element to this, and this is at the core of asking other players or non-players to observe you as you’re playing: YOU ARE ASKING THE OBSERVERS TO SEE AND HEAR WHAT THEY SEE AND HEAR WITHOUT JUDGEMENT.

This is very new for most of the observers, especially the alto saxophone players, because performing musicians clearly get the message over time that you only improve if you are critical of your playing. This gets projected onto all other saxophone players, who you usually are consciously or unconsciously in competition with. By definition “to be in competition with” means if the other saxophone player is better than you, YOU LOSE! I find this pretty sad and unnecessary and a detriment to wonderful music making.

IT IS A GREAT GIFT TO YOURSELF TO GATHER A GROUP OF OBSERVERS/LISTENERS TOGETHER TO LOVINGLY HELP YOU BECOME THE AMAZING ALTO SAXOPHONE PLAYER YOU ARE BY LETTING GO OF WHAT DOESN’T WORK.

When you ask someone to observe/listen to you, and you place all of your awareness on the refinements you are making to your playing, and the listener(s)/observer(s) understand this, then you have done an extraordinarily loving thing.

YOU HAVE BROUGHT TOGETHER A GROUP OF MUSIC LOVERS, YOU BEING PART OF THE GROUP, WHOSE ONLY PURPOSE IS TO ASSIST IN CREATING A KIND AND LOVING WAY FOR YOU TO MAKE MUSIC ON THE ALTO SAXOPHONE!

This has be a brand new experience for you the performing alto saxophone player because possibly for the first time you are in control of the intention of the performance. Rather than sitting down or standing up to prove to the listener(s) how well you can play, and hoping (worrying) you do well, you are lovingly asking the listen(s) for HELP.

When you ask an observer/listener to help you test whether the changes you’ve made to your alto saxophone technique are part of you or is not, it is a remarkably kind thing you do for yourself. It is a threefer (three for one).

YOU TRANSFORM THE OBSERVER/LISTENER INTO A SUPPORTER, YOU FIND OUT WHAT IS LEFT OF THE OLD TECHNIQUE THAT WASN’T WORKING THAT STILL NEEDS TO BE RELEASED, AND YOU SEE IF THE NEW TECHNIQUE HAS COMPLETELY REPLACED POOR LIMITING TECHNIQUE.

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