Month: March 2016

ReedJuvinate Review

Here is my review of the ReedJuvinate reed holder

I became aware of the Reedjuvinate via one of my students who came in and emptied Listerine on my studio floor!

What interested me the most about the ReedJuvinate was its claim to keep reeds clean AND in a controlled, humidified state.  I’ve been using the ReedJuvinate for a few weeks now and I am very pleased with the results.  My reeds are playing better and holding a consistency which is allowing me to keep my three favourite D’Addario Select Jazz Reeds playing for longer!

MRI Scan Whilst Playing

One of the joys of Twitter is when you stumble across a fascinating article that REALLY helps with understanding music.   This video shows what happens inside a French Horn players mouth and throat when she is playing, thanks to an MRI Scan.

Whilst the playing technique is of course different between a saxophone and a brass instrument, (we are members of the woodwind family remember,) how you position your throat and tongue has a profound affect on the tone you produce.

When we are practising overtones and tone matching, the position of the lips, tongue and throat have an important role to play in producing the harmonics or overtones.  I strongly urge you to spend some time watching this video and look carefully at how Sarah uses her tongue to produce the overtones, (remember a brass instrument does not have keys like the sax, they have to produce their overtones and move the valves, a difficult technique, but don’t ever let onto a brass player that it is, they moan enough already!)

Sadly they only show a little bit of how her diaphragm is moving – but the watch carefully how Sarah uses her tongue as a baffle or ‘wing’ in order to make the air move faster for the higher notes, the same thing SHOULD happen on your saxophone!

There is also a fascinating video blog here where Sarah Willis and the team go to the Max Planck Institute in Göttingen, Germany to meet scientists who are using the latest MRI and Motion Capture methods to find out exactly what goes on inside a musician’s body while playing an instrument. Sarah talks to kinesiology professor Peter Iltis, head of the MRI department in Göttingen, Prof. Jens Frahm and motion capture specialist Erwin Schoonderwaldt. She then volunteers to play the horn in the MRI chamber …you definitely don’t want to miss this episode of Sarah’s Music!

Enjoy and place your comments below!

Yanagisawa WO10 Tenor Review

I am delighted to present to you my full review of the Yanagisawa WO10 Tenor Saxophone.

I did a short review of the Yanagisawa WO10 at Woodwind and Reed in Cambridge last July, (around a week after the WO101 series first arrived in the UK.)  Sadly I forgot that my lovely new MacBook Pro doesn’t have a Firewire connector!

Finally, on the 1st March I was able to get into my studio with Max, (my film consultant) and record this video high quality video review for you.  We were able to record the sax with three different microphones and two different cameras, which I hope will give you a better feel for the saxophone.

I am a big fan of the Yanagisawa 992 series and I own a straight 992 soprano, 992 curved soprano and 991 Alto.  I first played a WO series Alto, back in March 2014 and I commented to Hidemasa Sato of Yanagisawa that if they could make a Tenor as good as the Alto’s I’d played, perhaps my 5 digit Mark VI might stay home for most of my gigs!

This is a first class saxophone, one of the best I’ve ever played.  The ergonomics are incredible, my fingers just seem to be able to reach and play every note with ease.  It has a rich, centred tone that projects with ease and producing the low notes is easy.  I’d highly recommend the Yanagisawa WO10 series to anyone looking for a high quality, elite level sax.


Yanagisawa Curved Soprano in Ely Cathedral

Yanagisawa Straight 992 Soprano in St. Paul’s Cathedral