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Wind players, like singers, cannot see the areas of our bodies where sound is born. A cellist can see how the bow he handles rubs the strings and makes them vibrate; a percussionist can also see how the drumstick hits the timpani and makes its drumhead vibrate. Saxophonists cannot see the movement of our diaphragm, the behaviour of our vocal tract, nor the kind of contact our tongue has with the mouthpiece and the reed. This circumstance leaves us no choice but to develop a third eye: body awareness.

During the educational process of wind instrumentalists, as it is obvious, a lot of attention is usually paid to the action of breathing, but what about the vocal tract? The quantity, speed and pressure of air are essential for mastering our instrument, but they need a space in which to develop. This is where the oral and nasal cavities, the pharynx and the larynx, which together form the vocal tract, come into play. Parameters such as the placement, the position of the palate or the articulation we achieve with the tongue are the responsibility of this part of our body, which we decided to pay attention to in this session.

To begin by discovering the limits of our oral cavity, Carles proposed an exercise for which we needed a long balloon with frozen water. The thermal contrast made it possible to feel its contact with the different parts of our mouth, the depth of the back wall of the pharynx or the position of the tongue. For the next exercise we inflated another long balloon with some water, trying to get an oval shape with the right size to put it in the mouth, as you can see in the following picture.

We talked and sang with the balloon in our mouth to become aware of the space of our cavities, something we normally don't pay much attention to when playing. After these exercises we become more aware of the inner space of the outermost part of the vocal tract. Along with these activities, we add visualisation to imagine the sensation of playing our instrument together with these new sensations.

Working without an instrument can be much more effective if our aim is to improve our body's self-perception, as this way we eliminate the multiple stimuli we have when playing and we focus directly on a single objective.


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