A Complete Approach to Sound for the Modern Saxophonist – Ben Britton (2012)

Sound is where it all begins for the listener. No matter how much of a virtuoso a performer is, if their sound is not good then the listener will ignore their best efforts. What use is the ability to play the changes, extend the range, or use advanced techniques if the player does not sound pleasing to the ear? How to develop a personal and pleasing sound is the first and most important thing every musician should learn to do. Recognizing a need for a more modern interpretation of this age old lesson, saxophonist and blogger Ben Britton has created an instructional method which that is creative and builds on the general saxophone tradition.

When I first flipped through this book I began to recognize ideas and concepts that I had read before. if you have read any of the following: Top Tones for the Saxophone by Sigurd Rascher , Developing A Personal Saxophone Sound by David Liebman, or Tone Quality by David Hollingsworth; then you will likely recognize half of the presented material. To me this isn’t a bad thing. The author does a great job of citing ideas which are not his and his bringing together ideas from multiple sources saves the reader a lot of money. Consider going to your local small business and sourcing the reference material. It could cost you up to 10x the cost of this print and you would still have to read and extrapolate the high value lesson within each one.

What separates this book from many others you many others? The first separator is: lessons which are not gathered from outside sources is generally well written and explained. There are very few “what’s” without an accompanying “why”. The second is the available audio recordings. Ben has provided audio recording of the lessons as demonstrated by him on tenor saxophone. These samples give more understanding and context to each lesson. The time spent adding quality samples is what helps this book stand out. No longer does the student have to wonder if they are getting it right. All the student has to do now is listen and emulate Ben’s examples.

>> Link to Audio <<

TAKE AWAY: The exercises in this book will, if used as directed, will lead to better control and a more personal relationship with your sound. Period. This is a great book to give beginners and experienced players alike. Though beginners should have some professional guidance in the early stages of learning the horn.