Saxophone warm ups: 3 ideas to help you get started

How to keep saxophone warm-ups interesting and effective?

If you’re a saxophone player, then you know how important it is to warm up before practicing or performing. But what kind of saxophone warm-ups should you do, and how can you keep them interesting and effective? In this article, we’ll explore three ideas that are great for saxophone players of all levels.

We’ll talk about:

  1. Long notes
  2. Chromatic scales
  3. Overtones

1. Long tones

Long notes are a fundamental warm-up exercise for saxophone players. They can help you with air support, embouchure strength, and sound production. When you do long notes, make sure you’re actively thinking about the note you’re producing. Focus on keeping the note straight and avoiding any wavering or weird sounds.

One way to make long notes more interesting is to think about the sound of your favorite saxophonists. Can you emulate their sound and incorporate it into your own playing? Another variation is to pick a dynamic and do long notes at that level. Try doing long notes at fortissimo, piano, and other dynamic levels to challenge yourself.

2. Chromatic Scale

Playing the chromatic scales can be another useful saxophone warm-up. It helps with fingering, evenness of sound, and articulation. You can do chromatic scales up and down the range of your instrument, and you can play them all slurred or tongued. Mix it up with different articulations and see how it affects your playing.

If you’re not comfortable with the full range of the chromatic scale, start with a one-octave chromatic scale and then move on to full range.

3. Overtones

Overtone exercises are a more advanced warm-up exercise that can help you develop your sound quickly. They involve playing a note (fundamental) and then producing overtones by changing your embouchure and throat position. This creates a higher-pitched sound that is an octave or more above the original note.

To practice overtones, start by playing a low note, such as low Bb. Then, without changing your fingerings, change your embouchure and throat position to produce the first overtone.

If we take low Bb as our fundamental note these are the overtones that follow:

  • 2nd overtone – Middle Bb
  • 3rd overtone – high F
  • 4th overtone – top Bb
  • 5th overtone – palm D
  • 6th overtone – palm F
  • 7th overtone – altissimo Ab
  • 8th overtone – altissimo Bb

Practice going up and down the range of your instrument, producing overtones on different notes.

Overtones can be challenging at first, but they are a great way to develop your sound and embouchure control. They can also help you with intonation and pitch accuracy.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, these three warm-up exercises are great for saxophone players of all levels. Long notes, chromatic scales, and overtones can help you with air support, embouchure strength, sound production, fingering, intonation, and articulation. Mix it up and try different variations to keep your warm-ups interesting and effective. Happy practicing!

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