April 13, 2016 at 4:28 pm #35879
Hi all. I bought the beginners course, and just a little confused with something. When do you say “TA”? Do you blow a note, then say the word “TA” to stop the note? My brain and my tongue are getting so confused. Maybe I’m just not co-ordinated?
MarkApril 13, 2016 at 4:54 pm #35880
You start the process of getting a note out with TA. TA is the action and sound of the tongue coming off of the reed, this is followed by a lot of air support to maintain that note.April 13, 2016 at 5:02 pm #35882
So..I take a deep breath, say the word “TA” into the mouth piece and press one of the keys? Then how do I stop the note? By saying “TA” again? My brain is confused, sorry.
MarkApril 13, 2016 at 6:32 pm #35885
Yes, the first part is right, but You end the note by simply putting the tip of your tongue back on the tip of the reed. your tongue just meets the reed to stop it from vibrating so there is no TA involved to end it, only to start it.
*Big Tip: Mark, while you’re just starting out I can tell you that a lot of students don’t stop their notes this way and therefor sound clumsy and out of tune when ending a note. If you end it with the tip of your tongue and not just stop your air supply to end the note then you will sound better in doing this as it’s the proper but often overlooked way.April 13, 2016 at 11:20 pm #35892
Thanks Johnny, your the best!
MarkApril 14, 2016 at 12:27 am #35894
Hi Mark – another useful tip related to using TA.
When you start using the metronome and counting 4 beats to the bar like “one two three four” which are known as 1/4 notes. Its quite common to keep the lenght of the Ta to the length of each beat of the metronome.
So instead of counting 1 2 3 4 in your head, you could just say in your head ta ta ta ta which (further down the line) is a much faster way of speed reading music sheets. For starting out counting is the best way to keep in time with a metronome.April 14, 2016 at 5:28 am #35895
hey that’s a good tip Johnny re stopping notes w/tongue; I’d usually just stopped by not blowing anymore; I’ll experiment; thx – that’ll tighten/punch up note endsApril 14, 2016 at 12:51 pm #35905
yes it’ll do that but more importantly your note won’t fade away and go out of tune. experiment in ending your notes your way and then by stoping the reed with your tongue. when you stop it with your tongue it doesn’t have a chance to fall out of tune which it will most definately do because you’re cutting off the air supply and it will end ugly.April 14, 2016 at 3:05 pm #35910
Hey sxpoet thanks for helping me out with counting with a metronome by saying TA. I just ordered a metronome, I should have it sometime next week.
MarkApril 14, 2016 at 4:26 pm #35915
Hi Mark – This year i decided to concentrate more on improving my timing.
I asked my teacher for ways of improving timing.
1) You have to work with a metronome, there’s no way of getting away from that.
2) don’t keep time by tapping your foot. in fact avoid any physical body timing movements – you need to free up the brain to concentrate on playing and not being distracted while keeping track of other bodily movements at the same time while playing.
3) Counting can also be another distraction while playing, for example if you have the metronome speed too fast, you might find your fingers or breath cant keep up with the timing – slow the metronome down.
4) Start out by counting 1 2 3 4 etc.. But also use the ta ta ta ta method for counting of 1/4 notes, for 1/8 notes you can use pairs of ‘te te’ for counting, so for every “ta” note, you can play two “te” notes.
So for fast playing its quicker to sight read going ta te te ta etc than
1 2& 3 – the brains wasting time converting notes into numbers and then signaling the fingers to play the notes by using these simple short cuts, you can play the notes a lot faster – there are loads more tips like that for speed playing of sheet music.
5) when you start playing with backing tracks, don’t use the metronome. try and use something in the backing track to help keep time – could be drum, a louder beat on the first note of each bar etc.April 14, 2016 at 5:25 pm #35917
Hey sxpoet! I was just practicing (I practice every day) and I can honestly say, I think I’m getting this down! I never had a problem with the embouchure (probably spelt that wrong) to me I got that on day one! And just now I was going “TA” at the same time as hitting a key, then to stop the note, you simply put the tip of your tongue on the reed to stop the note! Oh MY! That took me about 2 grueling minutes to get it right! Now the hard part is to make my brain work faster to do the keys faster. This alto saxophone stuff is a lot of hard work and practice, practice, practice.
MarkApril 15, 2016 at 1:18 am #35929
Mark – a few other tips.
The most important tip to learn from day one, if you bump into sax teachers, very very experienced sax players, the first thing they will do is look at what you are doing with your fingers when you play.
Relax, Relax, Relax – Keep the fingers relaxed at all the times, do not have tense fingers, keep the fingers relaxed – dont press down hard on the sax keys. The number of times i’ve been told that by different players is incredible. It holds you back from playing difficult & faster pieces.
Another tip keep the fingers close to the keys at all times, if you look at Pro’s playing, you will hardly see their fingers being lifted up high in the air.
for a good embouchure try to avoid excessive biting, again – relaxed embouchure is less painful than a tense embouchure.
Finaly – if at any stage you get frustrated – stop, slow down, try it again the next day, move onto something else. It has to be fun.
The only other useful tip, if you set aside time to play each day.
spend a couple of minutes warming up the reed and sax. Do any learning at the start of the practice when your brain isnt tired. Always finish with a jam session where you play your favorite stuff you can play.
dont rush, its not a bus you are catching, relax relax relax relax its like sitting down and watching your favourite film.
You relax and enjoy your playing, and that will put people watching and listening to you in a good mood. Its a performance they want to be entertained as well as hear you play….
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