Relaxed Jaw Dropping

Seems my saxophone playing has entered a new phase. I’m sounding brighter, clearer and even the low notes are sounding less raucous. Why? Well the two pronged relax and drop-your-jaw approach is finally paying dividends.

Last mouth my tutor told me to expand the area inside my mouth – in effect create a larger chamber in my mouth – I did this by adjusting my jaw “from the back” and this helped for sure.

Now I am also dropping my chin to avoid clamping the reed – this means the muscles around my lips have more work to do and this means that control is also trickier…

The final piece of the jigsaw is learning how to relax – this is the most abstract and difficult task to get to grips with. If I am not relaxed when I play then all the technique in the world won’t help my music.

It seems relaxation and core strength (your core muscles are your abdominal muscles and diaphragm) are not only essential to saxophone playing but many, many diverse activities – from breathing (low breaths aka diaphragm breathing) to motorcycling (using your abs to support your torso relieves your wrists from carrying the weight of your upper body leaving them free to manage directional control) – being relaxed also means you will tend to suffer fewer injuries.

Alas your relaxation technique will probably be different to mine – infact how you relax may even differ according to the task you will undertake. For many athletes doing muscle stretching before an event or workout is common whereas pianists tend to shake their hands. I’m still experimenting to find what works best for me – you’ll have to do the same!

Happy saxing


Tell me why I just love Mondays

It’s been all go today – at HQ I’ve been preparing the software and the two nettop computers for the start of the next rollout test – it’s difficult to believe the software has the audacity to call itself v3.0 when it has never been good enough for release but v1.0 or one point uh oh has a certain stigma…

Now the software is installed, computers chomping at the bit and tomorrow all hell will be let loose!

Alas no rest for the wicked – dived out of the office and into my last saxophone lesson before the Songkran break! My tutor is a girl of many talents she was playing piano instead of sax today (also plays the guitar) which made an interesting change!

Seems that I play much, much better when I’m relaxed… Not too surprising really – everything is easier when relaxed – from unicycling to typing to meditation – relaxation is the key to it all. I suspect that being relaxed will also lead to a longer life although this will be a tricky theory to prove!

Oh apparently it’s a national holiday today – could have fooled me!