Have You Ever Heard This?
“Sit up straight please.”
I’m sure we’ve all heard that from our parents growing up.
Have you ever hear this?
“Sit up straight saxophones!” If you’ve ever had private lessons or participated in a school band program, I’m sure you’ve heard this as well. But what’s the big deal? Does sitting up straight really make a difference when playing an instrument?
Yes, sitting up straight when playing an instrument does make a difference. And here is the main point that most people consider (but there’s another important point I’m excited to share with you. In fact, I never heard anyone discuss this in all my music education. Keep reading, it’s a good one!)
Point 1- Sitting up straight is at the foundation where all the benefits of breath support are built on. If you don’t sit up straight, you won’t be able to apply proper breath support; thus loosing the benefits that come from breath support.
Do You Notice a Difference?
When I was a beginner saxophone player, I really didn’t notice the difference in my tone, or how my saxophone played, when I sat up straight. The reason? I probably wasn’t applying breath support.
There are many people who don’t apply breath support. Is it worth sitting up as a beginner, especially if you’re not advanced enough to apply breath support? Do you really need to sit up straight? Yes!
His Tone Immediately Improved
I had a student who came to me as a 9th grader in high school. He was above average as far as technique (fingers) and rhythm, but his tone was below average. Here was the problem. He was not sitting up straight, and because of this, his tone was suffering. But it wasn’t that the air was causing a negative effect; it was something completely different!
What You May Not Know (Point 2)
When we don’t sit up straight, the saxophone mouthpiece does not enter the mouth correctly. The points of contact are completely off. This can cause too much contact on the reed with the skin under your lip. This type of contact can muffle your tone, cause poor response, and result in an unstable tone. In addition, if the saxophone neck strap is too low, the mouthpiece will have an unfavorable angle while playing. This will also change the tone (and not for the better).
What’s Really Happening
Basically, when you sit up straight, it allows the mouthpiece to be at the right angle as you play. This changes your points of contact on the mouthpiece and reed. If you sit up straight, you are more likely to get the right contact points with the reed and mouthpiece as you play. That means you’ll get a better tone!
Make Sure You’re Right
I know, this can feel like one more thing you have to think about as you play. It can be overwhelming. But in this case, it’s a simple fix- just take a moment to sit up straight every time you play. In addition, you can make sure you’re doing things right by watching our video on posture. You can watch it here on YouTube, or sign up for the free lessons. You’ll get all you need to start off right!
What Happened with my Student?
He became very successful in his high school experience. In fact, he became the #1 rated high school tenor saxophone player in his entire state. Not too bad. What I taught him is the exact information I share in our free and membership lessons.
Give it a Try!
Go ahead and try this out! I am confident this will improve your tone. Let us know how it goes by sharing in the comment section below. Can’t wait to hear about your results!