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 Oboist taking on Tenor Sax
Author: Oboelips 
Date:   2011-06-24 19:22

Earlier, I was able to offer some advice to our single-reeder taking on oboe...now the shoe is on the other foot! I'm an oboist/ehornist/picc & flute person who can also play soprano sax, alto sax and some clarinet. For my next project, I will be taking on Tenor Sax, which is entirely new to me. My husband was an alto sax major in college, so I have a great teacher 'in house' (I don't have a tenor yet, it will be delivered just before rehearsals begin). I was wondering if anyone has advice on playing tenor, especially from an oboist's or flutist's perspective.

For me, clarinet is the most difficult instrument, although it became easier when I bought a plateau-style clarinet (the fingerholes are covered with keys--I am double-jointed, and I kept getting a finger stuck inside of the clarinet, as well as the squeaking because my skinny fingers wouldn't cover the holes). I am no master of the clarinet, so comparing to a clarinet doesn't help.

I am 5'-3, and I "sit shorter". I sit on a pillow to play alto, resting the curve of the alto on the lip of the chair. Will there be height challenges with tenor?

Thanks in advance

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 Re: Oboist taking on Tenor Sax
Author: davyd 
Date:   2011-06-24 20:08

If you're having to rest an alto on something, you'll definitely need a serious neck strap to play a tenor, possibly even the harness style (the only instrument accessory that's gender-specific). Compared to what you're used to, it's a heavy instrument.

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 Re: Oboist taking on Tenor Sax
Author: oboesax 
Date:   2011-06-24 22:53

My 15-year old daughter is an oboe/EH/alto sax/clarinet player. She is also 5'3".

She is now able to play bari sax using a harness, but she owns it after trying out many different models. When she played someone else's bari a year ago, she threw out her shoulder. With tenor sax, I believe she uses a neckstrap. For her on tenor, the initial problem was that the finger positions were awkward. That was using a borrowed Buescher tenor I believe from her school. She struggled through her first musical using that tenor. the next time, I took her around shops trying out different tenors. She found a Chinese model and a Bundy that worked well for her. We have now rented the Bundy tenor sax several times for performances and she finds it very comfortable. Even on alto sax, she found the Selmer models awkward for her fingers, and ended up buying a Yamaha.

My daughter has met several professional female baritone sax players, and they didn't look any taller than my daughter. You have to be fit, but it can be done.

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 Re: Oboist taking on Tenor Sax
Author: Jaysne 
Date:   2011-06-25 17:05

I played alto/clar/flute/picc for many years before I took on tenor. I discovered that while it has all the similarities to the other horns--esp alto--it is its own instrument and has a lot of idiosyncrasies that you just have to figure out by playing and taking your time.

The only advice to give is to take it slow and give yourself time to get accustomed to the larger horn as well as the larger embouchure. There is no secret or special advice about learning tenor to give someone who already is an accomplished musician. Put in some time each day playing simple stuff until it becomes second nature--which it will.

You may also want to look into trying different mouthpieces to find which one gives you the best and most-easily-delivered tone.

Post Edited (2011-06-25 21:39)

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 Re: Oboist taking on Tenor Sax
Author: dtiegs 
Date:   2011-11-08 01:13

I play Alto/Clarinet and I am slightly interested in oboe. Are the fingerings similar to that of a clarinet?


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 Re: Oboist taking on Tenor Sax
Author: oboesax 
Date:   2011-11-08 14:49

Oboe fingerings are more similar to sax fingerings.

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 Re: Oboist taking on Tenor Sax
Author: kimber 
Date:   2011-11-10 19:48

DTiegs...the oboe uses fingerings in both lower octaves similar to the clarinet's clarino c# up to b.

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 Re: Oboist taking on Tenor Sax
Author: Wes 
Date:   2012-03-03 05:39

While the oboe needs high air pressure and low flow of air, the tenor needs high air pressure and much higher air flow. Can you get yourself to practice long tones and slow slurred scales in all keys on the tenor? Air is the main factor in playing the tenor, even when playing soft!! Good luck!

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