I ran a rehearsal last night for one of my saxophone groups, and it struck me (as it has done lots of times before) how powerful playing long notes collectively can be.

Do you practise with friends and/or other saxophonists? If not, you should definitely try it.

As a warm up, try all of you simultaneously playing long notes for a couple of minutes.

The beauty of this is that it

  • warms up your instrument,
  • warms up your embouchure,
  • warms up your ears
  • AND it is impossible for you to play a wrong note! You create different effects..."crunchier" sounds and more obviously harmonious sounds, but none of it is wrong.

You will create some sounds and harmonies that you would not have done in any other situation, and they are often amazing!

In my rehearsal last night there were some truly wonderful sounding harmonies and it prompted me to share the idea with you.

Give it a go and let me know how you get on. Here's some tips to think about when you do it:

  • make sure that you are all in tune
  • start one at a time so that you gradually build up the sound
  • balance your volumes - if one person is playing gentle high notes, don't come in blasting a bottom Bb!
  • listen to yourselves, to each other and, most importantly, the collective sound created
  • this works with 2 instruments, but for best results you need 3+ instruments

I hope that you have fun with this.