Teaching “Alternate” Fingerings

So, there is this guy who goes into local schools. He’s a “sax expert” or whatever. He also seems to be talking up a bunch of smack as well (directed towards your’s truly). Anyhow, he is telling all the kids to play middle D with the side palm D open. Huh? The reason, “The tone is better.” Ok, that is good and all, but shouldn’t they just get the basic fingering down first? Plus, it makes it even more of a technique problem for them. PLUS, it really does not sound good. I recorded a student playing a song where he was sometimes using this supposed “sax expert” fingering, and it sounds bad. It is out of tune, and the tone……is not good.

Keep it simple. Basics. Teaching them all three alternatives (or perhaps all four) for fingering Bb would be higher on my list than to require them to play all their middle D’s with the side D open. BTW, he seems totally against 1 and 1 Bb. And he plays flute too…….strange….

6 thoughts on “Teaching “Alternate” Fingerings”

  1. Well if he said that fingering gives you a DIFFERENT tone for the D and that Trane frequently used it, it would be a different story. But to say you should use it all the time and that it makes the tone “better” ain’t good.

  2. As far as I know, the person has not said that. What he has been saying is that is sounds better, and that they should do it that way. They have to play scales with it.

    These are middle school kids too. I don’t get it.

  3. Well, that’s bullshit.

    I’ve been playing for five years, and in no piece has that fingering EVER been easier, witht he sole exception being if it’s fast and with no notes D# and up.

  4. Well, not so much “bullshit” as really not necessary. Consider whom this person is pushing this fingering on. Middle and High School kids. Are they serious about music? Perhaps, perhaps not. Do they have other issues that need attention. Absolutely, such as learning scales, articulations, etudes, etc. Lots of things that this guy could be doing. But instead, he’s kind of following the same formula.

    Oh, and get this. I wrote out a trio for a student who needed it for Alto, Trumpet and Tenor sax. Like anything like that is published. So, there are these great little trios by Hook. So, I wrote out most of the first one, and did all the articulations and what not. This guy goes on to say that I had done it wrong. That this and that and the other thing, including the kitchen sink, was wrong with it. That I hadn’t had it published professionally. Well, no Einstein, I did it for the girl in like 10 minutes so she had something. I didn’t leave out articulations. I took out a repeat, because I thought it would be too long. I even gave the student a photocopy of the 3 pages that I did, and told her to give it to him and to STFU!

    Anyways, I’ve given up on this guy. I suppose he’s making money coming off as the expert. But really, having people play their scales with that D fingering? WTF?

  5. True. I used that fingering today in a piece (I’m in High School, by the by), and it sounded like I was playing soprano… it was in tune, after I dropped my jaw a good bit (I’m playing atm on a Meyer 6M with Java reeds for concert band. Good? Not necessarily, but it sounds better than a C* and Vandoren Concerts.), but it simply didn’t sound right. Bleh. Plus, I’d tell him to STFU as well. Who is he compared to you? Probably a piece of shit hobo with a sax and no house. Hell, who knows, could be a millionaire, but pardon my French, he’s still a prick. And scales with it? /wrist

    Not cool.

  6. You mean you sounded like you were playing soprano when you did middle D with the side key on? I think it gives a more vocal sound, but it doesn’t really, in my opinion, blend really well with E.

    Well, the Trio thing, I don’t know what the heck is going on there. I simply did something quick for a student. I might have made a mistake or two, but it isn’t for like some huge international performance. It is for them to play in band for a final. Important, yes, but to complain about bar lines and saying articulations are not right? Probably a waste of time. But hey, he’s getting paid for it right?

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