Lesson with Jerry Bergonzi

Hi guys! I found a great series of videos that Rico Reeds has put out on YouTube of Jerry Bergonzi.  He's got some great advice and some really cool techniques to improve your saxophone tone, articulation, & embouchure.  This is a set of 14 videos courtesy of Rico Reeds.  They have even more videos on their YouTube channel, some of which you'll see pop up here. #1. Jerry Bergonzi's intro

#2. Jerry Bergonzi explains how to develop a concept of sound

#3. Jerry's comments on Vibrato. I also have a cool post with an exercise that Branford Marsalis uses.

#4. Neck & mouthpiece test for a full sound. Tenor = Concert E, Alto = Concert Ab

#5. Breathing. Personally, I think this video should go first.  No matter what instrument you play, breathing is THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT.  I agree with his insights about the "yogic breath" (Liebman talks about this in his DVD "The Complete Guide to Saxophone Sound Production").  BUT, in my personal opinion, beware of what muscles you're using to move air from your lungs and through the horn.  Some people tend to push too hard with their abdomen and create tension in their throat and hands.  You're body naturally moves air in and out of your lungs, so just allow it do what it does: BREATHE.  Check out this cool book titled The Science of Breath by Yogi Ramacharaka.  This was recommended to Bobby Shew by Jon Faddis and it's what Shew recommends to any trumpet players trying to improve their range.

#6. Jerry talks about relaxing your throat for a good saxophone tone. He says a little bit about what I wrote for video #5.

#7. Articulation Pt. 1 - After attending Jerry Bergonzi's masterclass at Tenor Madness in Iowa, I can tell you that Jerry actually has a fairly strange concept of articulation.  When he's playing fast lines, he says he 'half tongues'.  Although his technique isn't as common among sax players, he makes some very good points about articulation and freeing up his tongue to do as many different things as possible.  His colleague at New England Conservatory and Saxophone legend George Garzone has an opinion completely opposite Bergonzi.  He did a masterclass at Lamont School of Music and explained that he almost NEVER articulates and teaches his students the same.

#8. Articulation Pt. 2

#9. Breaking in reeds - Another tip that might help people out there is putting a date on your reeds.  As soon as I decide to use a reed in my rotation I put that day's date across the back part of the cane.  This lets me know how/if my reeds are holding up, am I going to have to change soon, are my reeds not lasting very long which could hint at a possible change in size, type, or brand, etc.

#10. Reeds & Embouchure - Explanation of his "non-embouchure embouchure"

#11. Reed Adjustment & the Relationship to Your Equipment

#12. Plug for Rico Reeds and their Reedvitalizer. I actually started using these early to mid 2008 and I hated them.  But, I kept using them just to see how they would affect my reeds in the long run.  I have to say after using them now for a couple of years, they are an invaluable tool.  I just use one 73% humidity pouch in a tupperware container for all of my instruments' reeds.  These really do keep your reeds sounding and playing consistent.

#13. The Joy of Playing

#14. Jerry talking about his concept behind saxophone embouchure. There are Italian subtitles to this that cover some of the video screen, but it's still a great tutorial on saxophone embouchure.