UMEA 2012 wailing saxes

1,098
-1

Published on

Utah Music Educators Association clinic presented by Jon Gudmundson of Utah State University. The topic concerns getting your big band saxophone section to sound bigger and better.

0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
1,098
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
4
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • UMEA 2012 wailing saxes

    1. 1. Wailing Saxes! Jon Gudmundson Utah State University
    2. 2. Sad BariI mean, wailing in a good way!
    3. 3. taking notesDo not worry overmuch about taking notesThese slides are posted on slideshare
    4. 4. EllingtonDuke Ellington’s big band
    5. 5. basieCount Basie’s big band
    6. 6. Woody HermanWoddy Herman’s big band
    7. 7. Thad and MelThad Jones - Mel Lewis Orchestra
    8. 8. Jeru CJBGerry Mulligan’s Concert Jazz Band
    9. 9. ?
    10. 10. ?What is missing from those pictures?
    11. 11. ?What is missing from those pictures?
    12. 12. Rant warning:Microphones are overused these days!End of rant.
    13. 13. ?How did those saxophone sections hang,unamplified, with all of those much loudertrumpets and trombones?
    14. 14. And it’s even worse now than it was then...
    15. 15. And it’s even worse now than it was then... Brass players have ever bigger equipment, so they can outblast the saxophones more than ever.
    16. 16. And it’s even worse now than it was then... Brass players have ever bigger equipment, so they can outblast the saxophones more than ever. Big bands routinely play Rock and Latin charts that encourage the use of cranked-up electric guitars and legions of overzealous percussionists.
    17. 17. And it’s even worse now than it was then... Brass players have ever bigger equipment, so they can outblast the saxophones more than ever. Big bands routinely play Rock and Latin charts that encourage the use of cranked-up electric guitars and legions of overzealous percussionists. Naturally, some band directors decide to mic the sax section...
    18. 18. And it’s even worse now than it was then... Brass players have ever bigger equipment, so they can outblast the saxophones more than ever. Big bands routinely play Rock and Latin charts that encourage the use of cranked-up electric guitars and legions of overzealous percussionists. Naturally, some band directors decide to mic the sax section... ...but many sound engineers are unable to properly run sound for a big band.
    19. 19. And it’s even worse now than it was then... Brass players have ever bigger equipment, so they can outblast the saxophones more than ever. Big bands routinely play Rock and Latin charts that encourage the use of cranked-up electric guitars and legions of overzealous percussionists. Naturally, some band directors decide to mic the sax section... ...but many sound engineers are unable to properly run sound for a big band. Uh oh-- I feel another rant coming on.
    20. 20. PLEASE consider these points:
    21. 21. PLEASE consider these points:When you put mics on everyone, you handover your band’s balance and blend to someknob-turning dude who probably does notlisten to jazz for enjoyment.
    22. 22. PLEASE consider these points:When you put mics on everyone, you handover your band’s balance and blend to someknob-turning dude who probably does notlisten to jazz for enjoyment....while you are on stage with your band,hearing things through monitors, blissfullyunaware of how things sound in the house.
    23. 23. OR
    24. 24. ORWho should decide how your bandsounds on that Neal Hefti chart?
    25. 25. ORWho should decide how your bandsounds on that Neal Hefti chart?
    26. 26. ORWho should decide how your bandsounds on that Neal Hefti chart?
    27. 27. MP
    28. 28. And now, for something completely different.MP
    29. 29. A short conversation with Bill Wicker:
    30. 30. A short conversation with Bill Wicker: ME: “So, what do you think about those Harrison ligatures?”
    31. 31. A short conversation with Bill Wicker: ME: “So, what do you think about those Harrison ligatures?” Bill: “I like them. But Jon,” he said, pointing at me, “ninety percent of it is on THAT side of the mouthpiece. Let’s concentrate on that.”
    32. 32. A short conversation with Bill Wicker: ME: “So, what do you think about those Harrison ligatures?” Bill: “I like them. But Jon,” he said, pointing at me, “ninety percent of it is on THAT side of the mouthpiece. Let’s concentrate on that.” Me: (inwardly) ‘Ouch! Good point, though.’
    33. 33. So, 90% is the player,and 10% the equipment. Please don’t tell Bill Wicker, but let’s start with the 10% side. It’ll be quick and dirty, so that we’ll have some time to talk about the 90%. Please stop me if you’d like some clarification about something.
    34. 34. EquipmentReedMouthpieceLigatureHorn
    35. 35. ReedsThe reed is where it all starts.Do not overlook the reed!It must match the mouthpiece.
    36. 36. reedsClassical players lean toward harder reeds.Jazz players lean toward lighter reeds, insearch of more flexibility of pitch, greaterresponsiveness, and the ability to usemouthpieces that are more open.
    37. 37. More reedsMy own favorites for jazz are Vandoren V16 andRico Jazz Select.Both feel very responsive and freeblowing to meV16’s allegedly have more weight at the tip.Rico Jazz Select have more dialed-in strengthsBoth give you more good reeds per box.
    38. 38. Other brands that jazz players use: (in no particular order) Rico (in the good old orange box) Vandoren ZZ Vandoren Java Rico Plasticover Fred Hemke Dave Guardala Anything That Works!
    39. 39. clockWere there enough time, it would befabulous to talk about reeds for the wholeclinic, but then we’d never get to the 90%.I mention reeds here, though, because theyare extremely important, and sometimesband directors do not address them enough.
    40. 40. Just one more quick thing about reeds: The listed strengths are not the same from brand to brand. :(
    41. 41. The mouthpieceTip openingChamber/BaffleFacing lengthMaterial
    42. 42. Tip openingThe bigger the opening, the lighter the reedAnd vice versa.Go larger than the middle point for jazz.
    43. 43. alto mpc chartAlto mpc chart, with tip openings rangingfrom 50 to 120 thousandths of an inch. A C*is ~67. Go with at least 80 (Meyer 7), if poss.
    44. 44. Chamber/BaffleA bigger baffle/smaller chamber leads to abrighter sound.And vice versa
    45. 45. Facing length: short, medium, long (From Maker Theo Wanne)Short: emphasizes highs at the expense of the lowrange. Less resistance, responds quickly. Harder tocontrol, though. [Brilharts, big vintage Selmers)Medium: Easier to control. More reeds will workon a medium facing. (Otto Link, Meyer)Long: allows more of the reed to vibrate morefreely, which is good for low notes and subtones.Easier to bend notes. Warm sound.
    46. 46. The material.Hard rubber (Ebonite)Metal (Brass, Steel, Bronze)Other (Plastic, Wood, dryer lint, etc.)Rubber tends to be warmer, and metalbrighter, but the material is surprisingly notthat important compared with tip opening,chamber/baffle and facing in determininghow a mouthpiece plays and sounds.
    47. 47. The usual suspects: Popular Jazz MouthpiecesAlto: Meyer hard rubber (also Runyon, JodyJazz, many others)Tenor: Otto Link metal (also Berg Larsen,Jody Jazz, Yanagasawa, many others)Bari: ______ (also Otto Link, Jody Jazz DV,Rousseau JDX, Vandoren B, many others)
    48. 48. The ligatureDon’t worry about it.Not that important.By the time it IS important to your students,they’ll be able to pick out their own.The ideal ligature will hold the reed firmly,flat to the table, providing a good seal, yetallow the reed to vibrate as freely aspossible.
    49. 49. ligaturesMany designs have been tried.
    50. 50. HornsSo many. We live in a Golden Age! Selmer (Paris) Yamaha Yanagisawa Keilwerth P. Mauriat Cannonball Many more: Conn, Martin, Buffet, Jupiter, Eastman, L.A. Sax, etc. A LOT are made in Taiwan.
    51. 51. New vs. UsedMy own personal tale of woe.
    52. 52. Question: If you can spend $180,000 on a house, what’s a better deal? One of these? (granite counter tops!)
    53. 53. this old houseOr, maybe this $80,000 fixer-upper needing $100,000 to bringit back to its former glory?
    54. 54. Conn 10M Jupiter 889SGRemember the old saying: “Marry in haste,repent at leisure.”A nice old Conn 10M all fixed up might be abetter way to go than a shiny new instant-gratification Jupiter.
    55. 55. The Holy Grail $50-at-a-yard-sale Selmer Mk VI is pretty rare.Here are three reputable sites for used horns: saxalley.com usahorn.com wichitaband.com
    56. 56. In the interests of time, let me just say:
    57. 57. In the interests of time, let me just say: Make sure the horns are in good repair.
    58. 58. In the interests of time, let me just say: Make sure the horns are in good repair. No leaks.
    59. 59. In the interests of time, let me just say: Make sure the horns are in good repair. No leaks. Here’s an easy-to-make leak light made from stuff at Home Depot (or Lowe’s).
    60. 60. In the interests of time, let me just say: Make sure the horns are in good repair. No leaks. Here’s an easy-to-make leak light made from stuff at Home Depot (or Lowe’s). Made from a short section of counter lights.
    61. 61. In the interests of time, let me just say: Make sure the horns are in good repair. No leaks. Here’s an easy-to-make leak light made from stuff at Home Depot (or Lowe’s). Made from a short section of counter lights. If a student sounds bad or is not producing enough sound, it might just be because she or he is fighting a leaky horn.
    62. 62. The 90%HeadHeartHands
    63. 63. Head.Student must know what a goodsound is, and how to get one.
    64. 64. HeartStudent must internalize this knowledge(know it by heart, achieved by repetition),which leads to...
    65. 65. Hands...Student gains the muscle memoryso that the skills become natural.
    66. 66. ConceptionStudents need good models
    67. 67. Conception Students need good modelsThey won’t get much from pop radio, movies or TV.
    68. 68. Conception Students need good modelsThey won’t get much from pop radio, movies or TV.Play recordings of great players in the band room(before/after school? lunchtime?). Engage students.Blindfold test.
    69. 69. Conception Students need good modelsThey won’t get much from pop radio, movies or TV.Play recordings of great players in the band room(before/after school? lunchtime?). Engage students.Blindfold test.Soprano: Branford Marsalis, Dave Liebman, Wayne Shorter,John Coltrane...
    70. 70. Conception Students need good modelsThey won’t get much from pop radio, movies or TV.Play recordings of great players in the band room(before/after school? lunchtime?). Engage students.Blindfold test.Soprano: Branford Marsalis, Dave Liebman, Wayne Shorter,John Coltrane...Alto: Johnny Hodges, Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley,Lee Konitz, Phil Woods, Kenny Garrett...
    71. 71. Conception Students need good modelsThey won’t get much from pop radio, movies or TV.Play recordings of great players in the band room(before/after school? lunchtime?). Engage students.Blindfold test.Soprano: Branford Marsalis, Dave Liebman, Wayne Shorter,John Coltrane...Alto: Johnny Hodges, Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley,Lee Konitz, Phil Woods, Kenny Garrett...Tenor: Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Dexter Gordon,Stan Getz, Hank Mobley, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, KingCurtis, Michael Brecker, Joshua Redman...
    72. 72. Conception Students need good modelsThey won’t get much from pop radio, movies or TV.Play recordings of great players in the band room(before/after school? lunchtime?). Engage students.Blindfold test.Soprano: Branford Marsalis, Dave Liebman, Wayne Shorter,John Coltrane...Alto: Johnny Hodges, Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley,Lee Konitz, Phil Woods, Kenny Garrett...Tenor: Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Dexter Gordon,Stan Getz, Hank Mobley, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, KingCurtis, Michael Brecker, Joshua Redman...Bari: Harry Carney, Gerry Mulligan, Ronnie Cuber, etc.
    73. 73. And good sax sections, with great lead players... Duke Ellington with Johnny Hodges Count Basie with Earle Warren (Old Testament), and Marshall Royal (New Testament) Thad Jones/Mel Lewis with Jerry Dodgion Village Vanguard Orchestra with Dick Oatts Phil Woods (Oliver Nelson, Monk at Town Hall)
    74. 74. While developing a conception of what a good jazz saxophone soundis, students will work on HOW to get one. Some areas to cover include: Air Oral cavity Embouchure Articulation
    75. 75. Air.I usually don’t address this unless there is a problem.Most of your students have been breathing for years,and thinking about it can mess a person up.It may well need addressing, however, if...
    76. 76. Possible warning signs that there are air issues needing attention: Weak, unsupported sound Poor intonation (esp. flatness) Taking too many breaths, breaking up phrases (cut your bari player some slack here). Seeing shoulders overly going up upon inhalation. Too many mental errors (missed notes, articulations, road map misreadings, etc.).
    77. 77. A few points about breathing:Breathe through mouth and nose together, ifpossible (allows you to tank up more quickly,and it’s quieter).
    78. 78. Breathe all the way down to the bottom (your belly)Like filling a vessel with water.The water goes down to the bottom, andthen rises from there.
    79. 79. YES NOSo, a deep breath should cause more of abeer belly look than a Mighty Mouse look.
    80. 80. If you wish to delve deeply intobreathing, check out this book.Science of Breath
    81. 81. If not, here’s a simple and effective breathing exercise: Set metronome to 60 Breathe in for four counts Leave air in for four (no glottal stop) exhale for four leave air out for four Repeat
    82. 82. As students get better at this:Increase from four to six countsThen try eightDon’t do too much of this-- someone couldpass out!If a student feels light-headed, s/he shouldstop immediately and sit down.This can be practiced while walking betweenclasses (e.g. four steps in, four steps hold,four steps exhale, four steps leave out)
    83. 83. This simple yogi breathing exercise gets students to exert some control over theirbreathing, gets them accustomed to being able to play longer and longer phrases, and helps with: Support Pitch Phrasing Tone And, even helps to avoid mental errors.
    84. 84. Oral Cavity.Now, HERE’S a variable!And it’s another big reason (along with theinconsistency of reeds) why there is no one-size-fits-all answer for saxophonists in termsof mouthpieces and horns. Everyone’s mouthis different.So, what’s going on in the mouth?
    85. 85. There’s not enough time now to go into depth, but know this: You can’t move your teeth. You can’t move your palate. You can’t move your uvula (I don’t think). You CAN move your jaw and, You CAN move your tongue.
    86. 86. Here’s an exercise that I have many of my students do: Sometimes simple is good. Initially, the goal is to see how many seconds the player can hold the note. When the student is comfortable making 30 s. or more, the focus shifts to TONE, bearing in mind Maximum Resonance (we’ll get there in a minute), and our friend Muscle Memory.
    87. 87. So, the student takes a good breath, and playsthe long note, holding it as steady as possible, and thinking about the tone, thinking: “Am I providing strong foundation of breath support from my bread basket?” “What is IN the tone of this note I’m playing? That is, besides the principal part (the B), what else is in there? Is it all good? What should I make less of, more of?” “What would happen if I brought my tongue up/ down?” “What if I subtly tried different vowels out, like ‘Haw’ or ‘Hee,’ for example?”
    88. 88. Why does a trumpet sound different than a didjeridu? Trumpet Didjeridu This from Dr. Bill Roberts’ work at MTSU (http://frank.mtsu.edu/~wroberts/didj.html)
    89. 89. If you find this stuff fascinating, check out:http://www.phy.mtu.edu/~suits/sax_sounds/ index.html (shot of alto sax Fourier Spectrum) There you’ll find waveforms of the same saxophonist playing the same note on the same equipment, but differently each time. It’s kind of neat to see, visually, how many different tones a player can get via voicing.
    90. 90. When the student decides that s/he is playingthe nicest B ever, with a great tone (thanks to adeveloping conception), and a feeling of maximum resonance: “Hey, this is a really good sounding B!”
    91. 91. When the student decides that s/he is playingthe nicest B ever, with a great tone (thanks to adeveloping conception), and a feeling of maximum resonance: “Hey, this is a really good sounding B!” “Hmmm... so THIS is how it feels (muscle memory reinforcement) to play a B that sounds absolutely fabulous.”
    92. 92. When the student decides that s/he is playingthe nicest B ever, with a great tone (thanks to adeveloping conception), and a feeling of maximum resonance: “Hey, this is a really good sounding B!” “Hmmm... so THIS is how it feels (muscle memory reinforcement) to play a B that sounds absolutely fabulous.” “I ought to record myself and/or ask for a second opinion about how good this B really sounds.”
    93. 93. EmbouchureRemember the mouthpiece diagram? Thatreed needs to be free to vibrate.
    94. 94. EmbouchureTeeth rest on top of mouthpiece.Lower lip is folded over bottom teeth.There is a spectrum (Allard) from barelytaking any mpc in, to taking in a whole lot,wich gives us a range from a small, wimpysound to a big, honking out-of-control sound.
    95. 95. LiebmanIf you take too little mpc in, you aren’t allowingenough reed to vibrate, and that’s where thesound comes from.If you take in too much, you lose control, yourtone becomes harsh, and it’s harder to get lownotes without honking.Dave Liebman has a really nice embouchure here.
    96. 96. Groundhog Day
    97. 97. Groundhog DayStudents come in all kinds, but it seems that mostdon’t take enough mpc in. So what happens?
    98. 98. Groundhog DayStudents come in all kinds, but it seems that mostdon’t take enough mpc in. So what happens?You tell a kid to take in more mpc, the toneimproves, the sound gets bigger, and everything’swonderful. THEN...
    99. 99. Groundhog DayStudents come in all kinds, but it seems that mostdon’t take enough mpc in. So what happens?You tell a kid to take in more mpc, the toneimproves, the sound gets bigger, and everything’swonderful. THEN...The next day everything’s right back to the way itwas before!
    100. 100. There are reasons for this:Muscle memory. The new position feels weird tothe player, so s/he naturally gravitates back tothe old position.
    101. 101. There are reasons for this:Muscle memory. The new position feels weird tothe player, so s/he naturally gravitates back tothe old position.The student does not like the feeling of lesscontrol from taking more mpc in, sounconsciously moves back to the old position.
    102. 102. There are reasons for this:Muscle memory. The new position feels weird tothe player, so s/he naturally gravitates back tothe old position.The student does not like the feeling of lesscontrol from taking more mpc in, sounconsciously moves back to the old position.If it’s an older mpc, there may be bite marks inthe top, and the player’s teeth naturally settlein at the indentations.
    103. 103. There are reasons for this:Muscle memory. The new position feels weird tothe player, so s/he naturally gravitates back tothe old position.The student does not like the feeling of lesscontrol from taking more mpc in, sounconsciously moves back to the old position.If it’s an older mpc, there may be bite marks inthe top, and the player’s teeth naturally settlein at the indentations.The student is trying to make you insane.
    104. 104. There’s a fix for this.Once the ideal spot is found, mark the spotwhere the front teeth should rest on thempc with a small piece of masking tape.The student just slides up to the pointwhere the front teeth rest against the edgeof the tape.It will feel weird for a while, but after aweek or two the new position will start tofeel normal.
    105. 105. Centered Sound vs. Spread Sound A centered sound comes through nice and clear to a person at the back of the performance hall. A spread sound is loud up close, but dissipates before hitting the back of the hall.
    106. 106. Okay, but how can a player know whether his or her sound is centered? When somebody at the back of the hall tells them it is (“Gee thanks, Person at The Back of The Hall!”)
    107. 107. Okay, but how can a player know whether his or her sound is centered? When somebody at the back of the hall tells them it is (“Gee thanks, Person at The Back of The Hall!”) When the horn achieves maximum resonance (this would be a good time to remind your students of muscle memory).
    108. 108. ArticulationA saxophone section will sound Vastly Betterif they articulate together.We are low on time, so let me just directyou to jongudmundson.comIf you click the Education link there, you willfind an article that Yours Truly wrote aboutthis topic that was published in TeachingMusic back in December of 2006.
    109. 109. JzArtics Figs 1-3Briefly...
    110. 110. And furthermore... Jz Artics Figs 4-7
    111. 111. Jon GudmundsonAny questions?If we run out of time and you still have questions,please come up and ask when you spot me at theConference. I’m here all weekend. Try the veal.

    ×