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Time to get your Sax on!

It’s time for Saxophone Day!

saxophone

Willis Music is a Sax fan so this day is awesome for us! We love all types of music so anytime we get to celebrate, we will take advantage of it!

Was it is? Well check out what holiday insights.com says about it:

Date When Celebrated : Always November 6

Saxophone Day is today. The Saxophone is a classical woodwind instrument. It is an essential instrument in jazz bands, symphonic bands, marching bands and more. It’s only fitting that this great instrument has a day of recognition all to its own.

The Saxophone was invented around 1840. It was created by Adolphe Sax, a Belgian musical instrument maker.  The sax is made of brass.

Adophe Sax invented 8 types of saxophones: Sopranino, Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone, Bass, Contrabass, and Subcontrabass. The first Saxophone ever created was the Bass Saxophone. A 9th type of Saxophone, the Soprillo Saxophone, was invented in 2004. It is the smallest Saxophone.

Some famous Saxophone Players (Alphabetical order):

  • John Coltrane
  • Stan Getz
  • Coleman Randolph Hawkins “Hawk”
  • James Moody
  • Charlie “The Bird” Parker
  • Lester Prez Young

Happy Saxophone Day!!!


Origin of Saxophone Day:

Adophe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone, was born on this day in 1814. So, the reason for celebrating on this day is apparent.

We did not find any information on who created Saxophone Day, or when this special day was first celebrated.

There are numerous references to “Saxophone Day” for schools, bands, or special events. They are scattered across many different dates.

Care and Feeding of your Band Instrument: Saxophone

This post is the third installment of the “Care and Feeding of your Band Instrument” series from Willis Music. This series is geared toward informing the young wind player of some basic cleaning, care, and maintenance techniques to keep your instrument in good working order. Today’s lesson: the saxophone.

 

Like all woodwinds, one of the most important things to remember is that woodwinds and water don’t mix! There is a small disk of a soft material covered by a film or leather under each key (called a pad) that seals the key to the hole when it is closed. This mechanism is necessary for the instrument to work. When the pads get wet (water, rain, breath condensation), they disintegrate and fail to seal the keys. Pads will need to be replaced occasionally, but it is best to avoid needing to do it prematurely. Proper care of your instrument will ensure that it will last longer. The other big element to saxophone care is the reeds, which will have its own section below.

Necessary Care Supplies:
Swab
Cork Grease

Optional/Occasional Care Supplies:
Mouthpiece brush
Key brush
Polishing cloth
Reed Guard
Padguard

Cleaning:
After EVERY USE, you should swab (clean the inside of) your saxophone. The swab should consist of a piece of material (and perhaps a piece of foam or bristle) attached to a long string with a weight on the end. Remove your reed, mouthpiece, and neck. Make sure the swab is unfolded completely, and drop the weight through the bell. Turn and gently shake your saxophone until the weight drops out the other end, and pull the fabric through. Gently shake moisture from the neck (if the swab will fit through the neck, swab it as well).

The other option is a pair of items, often called a “Padsaver” and a “Necksaver.” These are flexible, fuzzy rods that are inserted into the instrument and left there to wick moisture from the pads. These are acceptable as well.

Use your mouthpiece brush (cone-shaped) to gently clean your mouthpiece AS NEEDED. You can use a mouthpiece sanitizing/cleaning spray, or a small amount of dish soap and warm water. DO NOT put your mouthpiece in the dishwasher – it is not made to handle the heat and will warp and be ruined.

OCCASIONALLY (once a week or so), you may want to use a dry (untreated) polishing cloth to wipe any dirt and residue from the outside of your saxophone. Pay special attention to the keys – the oils from your fingers can cause the finish to deteriorate if not occasionally wiped off.

Cork:
The first several times you use your instrument, then EVERY FEW USES after that, you should grease your neck cork. The neck cork is a tube of cork on the next where the mouthpiece is attached. It creates a seal so that air cannot escape when the instrument is assembled. Apply a small amount of cork grease to the neck cork to make the mouthpiece easier to attach, and to condition the cork so it will last longer.

Reeds:
Reeds are one of the most important (and can be one of the most frustrating!) elements of caring for your saxophone. They are both the most fragile part of the instrument, and the part essential for creating a good sound (or any sound at all!). Take extra care when handling reeds and assembling your instrument not to let the tip (thin end) touch anything. The tiniest chip or crack will cause problems with your reeds. Proper storage when not playing is also essential to keep the reed from breaking or warping. NEVER leave your reed on your mouthpiece when you put your instrument away, it should always be removed and stored in its own case. Most reeds are sold in individual plastic protector sleeves – these are effective in preventing breaks, but can still allow the reed to warp as it dries. I recommend a reed case (like those made by Rico, LaVoz, or Vandoren), as they will prolong the life of your reeds.

Questions?
We hope that this has been informative for our young clarinet players. If you have any other questions, we would be happy to answer them at Willis Music. Next week’s care and feeding lesson: the Trumpet!

Who is this Adolphe Sax guy?

Ever wonder where the word Saxophone came from?  Me either, but here’s your answer.

From Wikipedia.

Antoine-Joseph “Adolphe” Sax (6 November 1814 – c. 7 February 1894) was a Belgian musical instrument designer and musician who played the flute and clarinet, and is well known for having invented the saxophone.

Early life
Adolphe Sax was born in Dinant, Belgium. His father, Charles-Joseph Sax, was an instrument designer himself, who made several changes to the design of the horn. Adolphe began to make his own instruments at an early age, entering two of his flutes and a clarinet into a competition at the age of 15. He subsequently studied those two instruments at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels.

Career
Having left the school, Sax began to experiment with new instrument designs, while his father continued to make conventional instruments to bring money into the household. Adolphe’s first important invention was an improvement of the bass clarinet design, which he patented at the age of 24. Sax relocated permanently to Paris in 1841 and began working on a new set of instruments exhibited there in 1844. These were valved bugles, and although he had not invented the instrument itself, his examples were so much more successful than those of his rivals that they became known as saxhorns. They range in approximately seven different sizes, and paved the path to the creation of the flugelhorn. Saxhorns are widely used today in concert bands and sometimes in orchestras. The saxhorn also laid the groundwork for the modern euphonium.

Sax also developed the saxotromba family, valved brass instruments with narrower bore than the saxhorns, in 1845, though they survived only briefly.[2]

Saxhorn instruments spread rapidly throughout the world. The saxhorn valves were accepted as state of the art and are largely unchanged today. The advances made by Adolphe Sax were soon followed by the British brass band movement which exclusively adopted the saxhorn range. The Jedforest Instrumental Band formed in 1854 and The Hawick Saxhorn Band formed in 1855, within the Scottish Borders, a decade after saxhorn models became available.

The period around 1840 saw Sax inventing the clarinette-bourdon, an early unsuccessful design of contrabass clarinet. He developed around this time the instrument for which he is now best known, the saxophone, patented on June 28, 1846. The saxophone was invented for use in both orchestras and concert bands. Composer Hector Berlioz wrote approvingly of the new instrument in 1842. By 1846 Sax had designed, on paper, a full range of saxophones (from sopranino to subcontrabass). Although they never became standard orchestral instruments, the saxophones made his reputation and secured him a job, teaching at the Paris Conservatoire in 1857.[3]

Sax continued to make instruments later in life and presided over a new saxophone class at the Paris Conservatoire. Rival instrument makers attacked the legitimacy of his patents and mounted a long campaign of litigation against Sax and his company. He was driven into bankruptcy in 1856 and again in 1873.

Sax suffered from lip cancer between 1853 and 1858 but made a full recovery. He died in 1894 in Paris and was interred in section 5 (Avenue de Montebello) at the Cimetière de Montmartre in Paris.

 

So that’s how the saxophone was invented and where the name came from.  Here at Moeller/Willis Music West Chester we have one of the best selections of saxes I’ve ever seen.  Come in and check them out today!

10 Tips to Improve Your Sax Playing

sax

Musicians play music because we love it, but everyone has a beginning point and all of us work to improve our performances. Below are some easy ideas to make your time on a sax better & more fun!

Number 1: Post your fingering chart where you see it on a daily basis

For me, there are always one or two very high notes that I forget if they aren’t in the music pieces I am working on. I have posted my fingering chart by my bed and see it before I fall asleep at night. If you don’t have a fingering chart, buy one! They are small, inexpensive and readily available at most music stores.

Number 2: Wet your reed before you play

The first thing I do when I pull my case out is pop the reed I want to use in my mouth, and keep it there while I assemble my saxophone and sheet music. This helps your reed vibrate more efficiently right when you start playing.

Number 3: Pick a position and stay with it

Depending on who taught you to play the saxophone, you either hold your instrument between your legs or to the right side of your legs. There are merits to both methods, and it is completely personal preference. Try both methods, and then pick the one that you prefer. But either way, stick with it!

Changing your position constantly will hurt your ability to play. This is because you will be concentrating on how to reach that difficult fingering through a different hand position instead of a perfect vibrato or even tone. When you switch positions, the angles change. This changes everything!

Number 4: Posture

Remember when you first started classes or lessons, one of the first things you learned was to sit up straight? We’re back to basics for this tip. By sitting up straight, your diaphragm has more room to expand. This means the ability for longer and more powerful notes, and stronger vibrato and tone.

Number 5: Tighten your Ligature

Have you ever gotten that awful bubbly noise of water under your reed? It will completely destroy any piece you try to play, and sometimes it isn’t possible to stop in the middle of a piece. Turning your ligature joint an extra half turn can make all the difference in the world.

Number 6: Make sure your reed is the right level of hardness

Have you ever stopped playing for about a month, and you start to play with your favorite old reed, and you’re like “Wow! I don’t remember having to push this hard last time I played”? And that is because you didn’t! Your embouchure (the way you handle the mouthpiece and reed in your mouth or the muscles controlling those motions) has grown weaker over the month you’ve been away. On the flip side, if you’ve been playing more than usual your embouchure will have grown stronger. Make sure you get the strength of reed that corresponds with your strength for optimum tone!

Number 7: Use a neck strap

Using a neck strap, especially when you’re playing standing up, is crucial. Distributing the weight off of your thumbs enables your fingers to move more swiftly and efficiently.

Number 8: Cite-read a piece before you start learning it

There are special competitions for cite-reading, for both individuals and bands. Being able to look at a piece of music and run through it a few times, and then being able to play it fairly well shows musical prowess. Cite-reading sometimes, even if you don’t want to compete in it, is a great way to stretch your music reading muscles. I tend to cite-read a piece of music that I am going to learn to play, before I start breaking it down measure by measure. I’ve noticed a dramatic increase in my music reading ability since starting this. To top it off, once you get the hang of cite-reading it is really fun!

Number 9: Play in an area with good lighting

There is nothing worse than playing in an area with subpar lighting. You can’t see the notes right. Playing in the sunshine or in a well light area just improves your mood. I play below a window and have a lamp by the window for playing at night.

Number 10: Invest in high quality reeds

Have you ever had a reed splinter in your mouth? It hurts and tastes really awful. Since then, I have always purchased a higher quality reed. Originally it was to avoid another “Fantastical Exploding Reed” but my tone quality has improved so much. And please, none of those fiberglass reeds. Only reeds made of cane or other natural materials for better tone and control!

The post 10 Tips to Improve Your Sax Playing appeared first on Willis Music – Louisville.

Deal Of The Day Feb. 24th!

deal feb 24

Great amp at a very great price!

The post Deal Of The Day Feb. 24th! appeared first on Willis Music – Louisville.

Step Up to Yamaha – Triple Rebate Day

Thats right – Triple Rebates!!

On November 29, 2013, we will be offering triple rebates on Yamaha band instruments. This will be the best time to buy a step up or pro instrument!!  Turn your rebate into $150 or $300! This is a special event just for Willis Music. Call today to schedule your appointment to get the best selection. 859-525-6050

YAMAHA BAND TRIPLE REBATE DAY!!

In case you didn’t know it, Willis Music is now your Yamaha Band Headquarters!

That’s right, just in time for the best time of year… the Step Up to Yamaha event. From now until the end of the year, Yamaha has a mail in rebate for you, but for 1 special day we get to do DOUBLE rebates from Yamaha AND Willis wants to make it TRIPLE! Thats right, a TRIPLE REBATE!! November 29, 2013 is the BEST time to buy your Yamaha Band instrument. Stop in today and throw it in layaway, get it out that day and still receive the TRIPLE rebate!! This is the sale you have been waiting for!

NEW! NEW! NEW! NEW STUFF!

NEW STUFF!

That’s right, we have gotten a shipment of a bunch of NEW stuff never seen before here at Willis Music! Something for everyone – our expanded band selection will help any bandy get back to school jammin, Chauvet lighting – it will light up your world, Red Witch pedals – the Seven Sisters pedals will rock for 300 hours after 1 charge!

There is so much more that we can’t even list it all, but stop by and you wont be disappointed!! See you soon, hurry, come on… you are still reading and  you should be in the car!

Back 2 Band is Easy at Willis Music!

back 2 band ad

Students rarely rave about lots of homework, walking to the bus stop in the rain or the math test they have on Friday. What they do rave about is their band and orchestra classes! Music’s benefits to students of every age are not just nationally recognized; they’re seen every day by the families and friends of that musician.

As Band and orchestra classes begin for this year, Willis Music has once again ramped up our selection of band instruments, accessories, books, cleaning and care products and stands. Great efforts are made my these musicians to succeed, and we’re committed to helping them in every way possible. We’ve even brought in 4 new band instrument teachers for those wanting private lessons!

Everything they need under one roof.

Expert help with no hassles.

Back 2 Band Season has never been easier!

The post Back 2 Band is Easy at Willis Music! appeared first on Willis Music – Louisville.

SALE! BIG SALE! HUGE SALE!

Thats right – EVERYTHING is on sale!!!!

We just realized that we have special sales all the time for individual departments, like the Band sale going on right now, but you may not play a band instrument. SO, for you, whatever you play, whatever you want to start playing, or if you are looking for the perfect gift, its on SALE!!! Hurry because we can only do this until July 31st, so stop in today and talk to Denise, Jim, Joe, or John!!