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Meridian Winds


Graser, Dan: CHOPS: 221 Full Range Fundamentals and Technical Exercises for the 21st Century Saxophonist

CHOPS is a complete revision and update to the existing pedagogical materials available for saxophone as pertains to fundamentals and technique. Saxophonists have developed an immensely impressive arsenal of technical abilities as evidenced by the extraordinary demands placed on us by the latest music written for the instrument. There is, however, quite a gap between the demands we see in our repertoire and the demands we see in most of our technical and fundamental methods.

While there have been a number of pedagogical methods that have introduced and detailed various extended techniques, our fundamental books are all written for a saxophone that no longer exists, that being, the saxophone of 2.5 octaves where the altissimo register is treated as if it were yet another extended technique. During my own studies I was frequently encouraged to extend exercises from other methods as well as incorporate similar exercises from other instruments, this book is the result of nearly 20 years doing just that.

A daily warm-up and technical regimen is one of the most necessary parts of serious study of the instrument. By having time each day to address any technical issues while at the same time finding time to extend and develop new skills, the student can free themselves to practice their repertoire without limitations and inhibitions, thus, enabling physical ease and depth of expression. This type of warm-up routine should include some portion of each of the chapters from this book: Long Tones, Mechanism, Voicing Flexibility, Vocalises, Articulation, Scales, Intervals, Arpeggios, and Cool Down Exercises.


  • Several different approaches to long tones included subdivided time, wedge figures, and large leap long tones also featuring vibrato and intonation excerpts.
  • Mechanism exercises in the most challenging parts of saxophone register changes.
  • New voicing flexibility patterns for developing accuracy and range.
  • “Vocalises” as an expressive technical bridge between long tones and technique practice.
  • Single, Double, and Triple tongue instruction through the altissimo register
  • 3+ Octave Diatonic and Chromatic Scales, Scale Patterns, Intervals, and Arpeggio progressions.
  • Cool Down Exercises to finish the practice day.

This is an extensive collection of exercises designed to provide enough new and challenging material to keep the advanced student occupied for many years while introducing new pedagogy never before published for saxophone. By working with this text in manageable amounts, the contemporary saxophonist will continue to push the limits of what is possible on the instrument well into the next century.

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