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Mastering the Sax: Effective Methods for Playing in Tune

Do you find yourself playing in a band and and there is always someone out of tune? There are times when you play with a group of people and the intonation just isn't there. It sounds okay, but it doesn't sound great. It's not that you are playing the wrong notes, but more that the instrumentation is not in tune. Maybe the guitar sounds off or the singer isn't hitting the high notes, or the back up vocals aren't hitting their harmony. Whatever the case may be, in this blog we will uncover three ways to help you play in tune with others.


Bonus Video

To learn a few more methods to playing in tune, watch the video below and subscribe to the Saxophone Workshop YouTube channel to learn more about the saxophone!


Playing in tune doesn't always mean tuning to A440- though I would say 97% of the time you do. However, there may be a situation that every person in the group is playing sharp, so you tune slightly sharp to play in tune. Weird concept, understandable, but that is how an instrumentalist can "play in tune."


Tip #1 - Take your time to tune ensure it's not you

Sometimes instrumentalist don't sound the best because they haven't taken the time to make sure their instrument is set up 100% correctly. Maybe you showed up to the gig or practice late and rushed to put things together. The important thing to remember is that you are in that rehearsal or concert and it is time to relax, take a few breaths and focus on putting the right reed on your mouthpiece. The right reed is the reed that plays the best to you. Not all reeds play the same, so take the time to make ensure you pick the right reed, and that it is positioned on the mouthpiece well and is wet and ready to play.


Practicing is an important way to improve and work on the skills it takes to become a great saxophone player. To help with this, the Saxophone Workshop has put together a practice routine outline to help you structure a meaningful and productive practice session. Click the button below to download your FREE practice outline


Tip #2 - Be mindful of the environment you are playing in

As a performing musician, you may be asked to play in many different environments.

outdoor venues in the summer heat to outdoor venues in the winter weather. You could play inside at a concert hall, gymnasium or at a business on a small stage. Whatever the case may be, each environment will dictate the time it takes to warm your instrument up and get ready to play. It will also dictate whether or not to tune sharp or flat to stay in tune. To warm the saxophone up quickly, put it together and start blowing hot air through the horn with all of the key's closed.


Bonus Tip: For playing in cold weather, reed instruments typically play flat, so tune slightly sharp to compensate for the weather.


What is your method to playing in tune with others?

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