Phillip is a professor at CRR of Toulouse, France. He is teaching saxophone to children.
You recommend the Yoke brace strap concept for kids of what age?
At the Toulouse Conservatory, kids can start to play sax at 7 years old. It is hard to realize the amount of pressure a saxophone’s weight puts on a kid's sensitive neck with a regular neck strap . (Even today I still play only with a Yoke Brace strap).
What benefits does a yoke brace strap have compared to a regular neck strap ?
A yoke brace strap offers unbeatable comfort and a secure feel. The cervical column in the neck is not under pressure as the weight is spread perfectly across the shoulders .. And the snap hook avoids any risk of the instrument falling.
What benefits does a yoke brace strap have compared to a harness? Without being able to explain it, we found that a large part of our students using a harness have difficulty breathing from the abdomen . You don't face any breathing difficulties with a yoke brace. It is much more comfortable to breath. It leaves your rib cage completely free !
Let’s continue talking with regards to children, this part is now about ligatures. Tell us when you recommend to change the original ligature supplied to an upgraded version ?
We get students playing with a Selmer Prelude mouthpiece and the original ligature supplied. After 2 years of practice they switch to a Selmer " S90- 170 " mouthpiece. The BG STANDARD ligature " L12 ", is easy and free blowing , with a clean and round sound. It is also a ligature that lasts , even with people who are not taking good care of their equipment ! ...
For the next level, from the end of what we call " second cycle " we do advise to upgrade ligatures to either a TRADITION gold lacquered ( L10 ) or a DUO gold plated ( LD1 ).They offer a brighter sound, have a more powerful projection and more sound options to match the various needs according to the student’s chosen repertoire and level !
How do you advise which ligature a student should select?
Each case is unique: For an Alto sax player whose sound is too bright we would advise him to play on a DUO and the opposite for someone with a sound too dark. His sound will be improved with a GOLD TRADITION ..
What criteria do you apply to achieve your sound ?
I'm going to quote my own teacher :-) : When you first play, you need to do everything you can to help improve your chances of success, by using products that allow you a maximum of comfort without sacrificing sound quality. In order to make progress without adding extra difficulties, other than those of the instrument itself, you must train your ears right from beginning to reach a pure sound . Right from the first year until the end of school studies, all of our students at the TOULOUSE Conservatory play SELMER and use pro Straps and Ligatures, like BG .
Any other advice to share ?
Reeds must not be crushed by the pressure of the ligature. One should not tighten the ligature too much. Let the reed freely vibrate, no matter if you’re using a flexible or a metal ligature, the same comment applies !