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Harrisonburg, Virginia, United States
Professor of Saxophone, James Madison University

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Air Goes ZOOM, Part 2

Once you have mastered the techniques from my previous post, it's time to apply the concepts more deeply.    It is probably counterproductive to go on without mastering the basic idea of "powering" a single finger movement with air, so take your time and don't get ahead of yourself.

In sixteenth notes, play a G major pentachord . . . the first five notes of a G major scale, up and down.  As you play the notes, imagine that your air is flowing through your fingers.  Transfer the idea of pneumatic saxophone keys into pneumatic fingers.  Repeat the pattern, and focus your mind on completely relaxing your hands and fingers (and your entire body, for that matter).  The only tension should be in your diaphragm.  Keep your body inflated and concentrate on feeling the flow of the air, and imagining that it extends outward into your hands.  As your fingers move more quickly, draw on the airflow (real and imagined).

There are two primary purposes of this exercise.  Firstly, the concept reinforces a relaxed technique: relaxed fingers.  The second purpose is to mentally strengthen the connection between fingers and air.  In reality, the air is certainly not powering the fingers, but remember that great air fixes many of our problems.  Relaxed fingers, powerful air.

Now get practicing . . . ZOOM!!!!

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