Alto Saxophone – Preparation for Playing by Doing Something Different (Musicians)(Psychology)(Pain)(Strain)(Injuries)(Posture)(Alexander Technique)(Albuquerque)

by ethankind on February 11, 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. (MOVEMENT THERAPY)

What do you usually do if you are about to practice or perform, and you feel that your body is not going to go along for the ride easily, that you simply will not be able perform with a comfortable sense of ease and accuracy? Do you just ignore it and play a quick series of scales and/or arpeggios for a warm up, and hope for the best?

If so, you are essentially saying, “I have to take what I get from my body”. I also believe you are also saying, “I have to get what I get from my mind”, and this may be subconscious. (I believe that everything the body does is from the mind, whether you’re aware of your thoughts running your body at any given moment or not.)

This is a very tough way to treat yourself, and it is totally unnecessary. A few years ago a very wise woman told me that whenever I get into a very bad place emotionally to do something different. What did she mean?

Have you ever noticed that whenever you are down emotionally, in despair or depressed, that you don’t feel like doing anything, and you probably don’t? So, instead of finding a loving way get out of your yukky emotional place, you just collapse into it. I have no problem surrendering to a down mood. Sometimes you just need to for your sanity.

But if we look at this as an alto saxophone player who would like to practice or has a performance, it just doesn’t sound like a loving thing to drag your body screaming and crying to the saxophone. What seems more loving is that you find a way to bring your body back into balance and lightness, so it isn’t at odds with your intention to practice or perform.

There are three ways to bring your body into balance before you play the alto saxophone. THE FIRST IS TO GIVE YOUR BODY LOVING ORDERS OF RELEASE. Ex: My neck is free. My shoulders are floating on my ribcage. My hands are free. My forearms are free. My ribcage is supported without holding.

THE SECOND IS TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Years ago, before I played a guitar concert, I went out and ran a very slow mile, paying attention to running with ease and balance. It was probably the best concert I ever gave.

THE THIRD IS TO DO SOMETHING WITH COMPLETE ABANDON. What if you screamed into a pillow with a wide open throat repeatedly, until you felt finished/complete? This would totally get you out of your head. What do I mean? Screaming into a pillow out of control is as about as far from playing the alto saxophone as you can get. You can also do something else as intense as screaming into a pillow, like hitting a pillow with a tennis racket, if you are concerned about your throat.

Also, the act of screaming into the pillow or hitting a pillow will dramatically change the balance and muscular tone throughout your whole body. It will dramatically interrupt all of the conscious and unconscious ruminating you’ve been doing in your head. In other words, it will interrupt the thoughts you’re thinking that are making you crazy and your body uncoordinated.

DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. What if you swing your arms over your head in a circle continuously, clockwise and then counterclockwise? This is an incredible way to release the holding in your shoulders you’re creating with your fear you won’t play well.

This can be done with as much abandon as you screaming into a pillow. But I would like to also add the first action of a loving order into your body being done simultaneously as you swing your arms. As you swing your arms, order your neck, shoulder blades, and collarbones to be free as you swing your arms. This will dramatically increase the effectiveness of releasing all of the holding in your arms, neck, shoulders, and torso that was going to compromise your saxophone playing.

When all three of these steps are taken before you play the alto saxophone, you are really doing something extraordinarily loving. You are aligning your body with a loving intention to play the saxophone with ease, poise, and balance. Simply, you will not be at the mercy of the illusion that your body always tells you what you can and cannot do on any given practice or performance day.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

© 2011 All Rights Reserved