When I first started playing saxophone I had no idea what a classical saxophone should sound like. My saxophone tone exposure was limited to George Coleman, Branford Marsalis, Kenny G, and the various Reggae and Ska saxophone players. I hadn’t really heard the clear, crisp, and distinctly sax tone that classical players were using. It wasn’t until I got to high school that I would first hear a truly classical saxophone tone. This was in the time when the internet was just starting and there wasn’t a YouTube. My private lesson teacher played for our entire saxophone section a recording of Fredrick Hemke or was it Marcel Mule playing the Concertina de Camera? I remember distinctly that my tone was nothing like theirs and I wanted to learn more.
Throughout high school I would spend 2 to 3 hours a day practicing my tone. Seriously, I would practice during my lunch break and then after school before marching band and concert band. at the time I played 80% alto and I loved it. I was very proud of my tone by the time I was a senior. I landed an alto position in the county band and was happy to perform with my peer’s across the county. The one thing that stuck out was the player in the 1st chair. I heard his tone as being sweet and rather dark. I remember asking him about his tone and he said his lesson teacher preferred the Rascher type alto tone. That conversation set me on a course to learn more about Rascher and his remarkable tone.
Now that reference material is so easily located I am excited to share the kind of material I wish was available at the time I was learning tone, overtones, and articulation. Rascher and his daughter deliver these lesson in a clear and easily demonstrated manor. This is a good time to mention Top-Tones for the Saxophone: Four-Octave Range by Sigurd Rasher. This book changed my playing immensely.
Saxophone Basics by Sigurd Rasher (Covers tone, breathing, embouchure, articulation, overtones, posture, vibrato) :