Have you ever asked any of the following questions when you’re trying to learn a new skill online? Especially when there are so many professionals out there with conflicting views? You may ask:
- Who should I believe?
- Who is right for me?
- Who can I trust?
- Who can help me succeed and answer all my questions?
I’m sure we have all asked these questions at one time or another, especially when we have a burning desire to learn a specific skill. This leads us to the upside and the downside of the internet:
- Upside: You can learn anything you want with the click of a button
- Downside: You’re not always going to find a qualified teacher- you may learn incorrectly
Even among qualified instructors, there can be different opinions (which can be good) but confusing to the student. Here’s one item that can be really confusing when it comes to the saxophone…
The Bottom Lip
Should the lip be:
- …rolled out of the mouth?
- …rolled in the mouth?
- …somewhere in the middle?
Some may suggest that there’s only one way to do things, but the approach to the lip depends on what works for the student and what style of music they are attempting to play. I want to suggest the best option for a beginner so you can sound great, as soon as possible.
Keep in mind that the bottom lip approach provided here is to help the beginner sound good, as soon as possible. After you have a solid foundation, you can make adjustments.
Yes, that’s our approach- no. 2! Professional musicians use all 3 approaches mentioned above, but I’ve found that the best and fastest approach for the beginner is to play with the lip in. For step by step directions, you can sign up for the free lessons, or check out our embouchure video.
Why No. 2?
- Easier to get a stable sound
- Easier to play in tune
- Easier to get all the notes to play
These are 3 reasons that support this approach, but more importantly you’ll be more successful on the saxophone, sooner. Anytime we can remove some of the frustration, the student will be more likely to succeed
Down The Road
Once you have a solid tone with the lip in, you can experiment with different approaches. However, changing your embouchure or adjusting the lip is not required to play in popular styles. Check out a couple of my recordings that represent 2 different styles of music. The bottom lip is going in, over the bottom teeth, in both recordings. I must note, there are differences between the two embouchures that I am using, but the bottom lip remains the same.
Classical (Excerpts from a live recording)
What style of music do you want to play on the saxophone? Post your answer in the comment section and I’ll provide some tips on lip placement. Have a great day playing!