I was given some precious information from Carrie Koffman when I studied with her at Boston University. She knew that me, like all music students, could use a few "hacks" when it comes to overpriced materials.
1. Mouthpiece patches made of medical tape
Instead of buying mouthpiece patches, use rubberized medical tape. The key is buying medical tape with rubber that can handle moisture (not just paper, which will be useless). A spool of this magic lasts me a few years and costs less than $3.
2. Teeth guards
In addition to the malleable thin plastic that is boiled and then molded to the mouth, teeth guards can range from folded band-aids to slips of paper. Ezo denture pads in "lower heavy" are my favorite lower lip guard. These handy little pieces of wax protect your bottom teeth from callusing your bottom lip, which is especially useful for those who have braces. One package cut up into half-inch pieces is worth its weight in gold.
It's no secret that reeds are expensive. Tenor and bari players can attest that larger reeds are more expensive than small reeds, and unfortunately, larger reeds are also more likely to warp.
There are two kinds of warping:
1. The tip of the reed dries out and becomes wavy. This is a pretty simple fix, since soaking the reed will flatten it out again.
2. The heel of the reed (the flat side which has writing on it) bulges outward and the reed cannot seal properly to the mouthpiece.
Warping is caused by humidity and sudden changes in weather, and since playing creates a humid environment, big reeds only last so long before the cane starts to change. However, reeds last longer when they are in environment with controlled humidity.
Two things to help:
1. Alternate reeds. I have one box open at a time and alternate between each one. I'll play each reed for a few minutes the first time I open the box, and once I've "seasoned" them by playing each reed for a little longer each day, I ca...
I receive occasional emails from parents interested in buying their son/daughter a new saxophone. These often come with a link to an alto saxophone that is $250 or less made by brands such as Allora, Etude, Bundy, etc. Do not waste money on such junk.
Buying a saxophone is kind of like buying a car: if you buy something that's inexpensive, you'll end up paying its value three-fold in repairs. Cheaper saxophones are made of very soft brass, which means that their sound quality is poor and they break easily. Soft brass bends quite easily, which requires constant repair that doesn't hold up for very long. Needless to say, if the equipment is terrible, you're going to sound terrible.
Factors to consider: commitment level and budget
Beginners - Most beginners play on a Yamaha YAS-23 or a Selmer AS500, which are decent for young players just learning the ropes.
If the student wants to make a more serious commitment to music and plans to play into hi...