BREATHING – WHAT ABOUT IT?

Every day we breathe, every night we breathe, through the whole life everybody breathe! So what is it all about when we start to play wind instrument? What’s all about it?
Breathing is the only bodily function that is both voluntary and involuntary. As we age we pick up bad habits like poor posture that cause us to breathe from our chest as opposed to our diaphragm. This result in shorter, shallower breaths which transports lower volumes of oxygen to the brain, bloodstream, and muscles. Taking time to re-train the body to take deeper breaths from diaphragm allows us to intake a greater volume of oxygen which gives us more energy and ultimately translates to better overall health.

Sometimes even me, as a saxophone teacher, we need to invent new and fresh exercises, spots etc using a lot of imagination to get the result necessary to obtain a GOOD FOUNDATION for breathing training. Necessary result is to sound perfectly free on your instrument, no frustration in your body and in your body “prolongation-instrument” – sound –  yet being trained behind all that! The audience should not notice what are we doing in the so called “kitchen side”!

I have found that I come back again and again to one person: KRISTIAN STEENSTRUP…………………

………………. Kristian Steenstrup, who fortunately has published two books about his knowledge of breathing, I will tell later on more precisely!

How the breathing needs to work on wind instrument playing?


You need to start to notice breaths and notice where in your body the breath is creating movement. Perhaps in your chest, belly or shoulders or elsewhere?
The study of wind instruments shows that breathing immediately into the upper chest does not utilize the full potential of the respiratory system (yet, it is enough for speaking) and often results in short, weak breathing for wind instrument playing.
One of the most important techniques in the mastery of wind instruments is diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing or abdominal breathing. This type of breathing generates more powerful airflow, expands the lung capacity throught the movement of ribs and is useful for general relaxation and stress-reduction. Diaphragmatic breathing is performed as follows:
On the inhalation the belly expands, moving forward from the front of the body, and on the exhalation the belly contracts, moving toward the spine. Also is important to keep the throat in a position of letter “A” or “O” – it keeps it really open.

Check out my video here!

Find out also in this 3D video, how all works in our body! Watch video here!

Kristian Steenstrup was the one who MOST INFLUENCED me in his masterclass at Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, back now for 20 years!!!! He himself is a trumpet player (brass) and I am saxophonist (woodwind) and teacher now! Kristian Steenstrup masterclass about wind instrument breathing was simple: consisting of different breathing exercises and being aware of your body in function of making musical phrases through respirations. BRILLIANT and SIMPLE! 

Tricky part is to have done it perfectly ALLTOGETHER without being  “disturbed” in any level of making music (solfege: notes, rythm, dynamic, speed; coordination work: fingers coordination; breathing control in different registers and dynamics; FINALLY creating whole after the process of previous “cushions”: feeling free to perform a piece on demanded style with good artistic skills for the stage.

 Now:
Wind instrumentalists who have developed their lung capacity can play a note over a minute in length on a single breath. What follows is the technique that will get you to exhale much longer than you may have thought yourself capable.  It is called circular breathing, which is really OLD technic forgotten knowadays. But this will be another subject for another article and when you put on google searc “didgeridoo playing” – you will find also a lot of explanations on it!


KRISTIAN STEENSTRUP says in his BOOK: Your abdominal muscles play a key role in the strength of your exhalation
which is particularly important for wind instrument playing. Understanding how your respiratory muscles work can be key to mastering breathing techniques and improve your breathing through awareness of how the muscles work.
For wind instrument musicians the goal of a breathing exercise is to be able to hold a longer exhale.
Fantastic option as it provides resistance on both the inhale and exhale so you are able to strengthen all the respiratory muscles (diaphragm, abdomen, and intercostals).
Make sure you exhale is slow and continue to exhale with a resistance that is challenging but comfortable until you have release all air.

I feel that it is important to share HIS BOOKS what we can buy on AMAZON; the story behind it HOW he achieved all this is very moving.

IMPORTANT: MUSCLES NEED REGULAR WORK, like keeping FIT your body!

Most people don’t actively use their diaphragms when they breathe. Remember that this tissue divides your chest cavity from the lower body. Experiment with your diaphragm by feeling it move with each deep breath. It’s technically a muscle, which means that exercising it will improve your lung health. Feel the diaphragm as it lowers during an inhalation. Concentrate on its movements so that you can be more aware of your breathing quality throughout the day.
By strengthening your respiratory muscles you’re able to reduce shortness of breath during aerobic activity. Additionally, you may improve your stamina, as well as your endurance.
Studies have shown that deep breathing can help lower your resting heart rate, and relax the mind.

Mindful breathing has been shown to reduce your levels of stress and anxiety while performing!

Here you can find his two books:

BOOK 1: Teaching brass by Kristian Steenstrup

BOOK 2: Blow your mind by Kristian Steenstrup

I do share one of my breathing VIDEO here, just have a brief look of some exercises and explanations I use in my daily work.

Classe de saxophone

With this video I show my work, just a tiny little peak to what I am doing as a teacher. Or the result of everyday’s work in the classrooms!

It is important in teachers lives when we take some time off and trying to reflect what we have done so far…….. Thinking how to continue, what needs to be rethinking, what else can life offer and what better value you can create through your work?

Taking a step behind, in my mind and searching for those pupils who have continued a musician’s life, it is a pleasure now more than ever to continue to follow what your pupils continue do. And just to have a flashback of kindest thoughts of them.

When they play classical saxophone’s “Golden Repertory” HITS like Glazounov’s “Concerto”, even THEN when their maturity is not there yet, I do like, when they take the challenge to sound MORE MATURE than are their actual age and level of playing. Why it is so importatnt to aplly to sound more mature for your actual level or age? because you develop faster and your focus and selfconfidence is progressing in HUGES STEPS.

This is important perspective path to show, that they must be aware of that. Challenges in your life needs to be taken and used of course in a good way and challenges need to create a better purpose in a life in general. There is a greatness in you and in everyone!

Of course when we gather together in Summer Academies for saxophones and other woodwinds, WATCH VIDEO HERE, then the picture changes, but all the problems in tunings and uniting different levels of players, it is important to play by yourself amongst them to inspire! In this video I am playing Alain Crepin “Nuits blanches”, with grand ensemble of saxophones, this is a great piece in different versions for windorchestras, saxophone ensembles or even with strings and of course version for alto and tenorsaxophone with piano. Importance is to INSPIRE through music pieces and with your playing to show the greatness inside of you that starts to become ALIVE through music!

GO GO GO GO FOR MUSIC and GO GO FOR A GREATNESS INSIDE OF YOU!!!!!

Lessons with me! Apprentus.com/ursula.c

https://www.apprentus.com/ursula.c

Hello! Just filled with my information the site: www.apprentus.com

I start to share more about my lessons and how much joy you can share as a teacher, some basic technics I have posted also in my Youtube channel.

Do not hesitate to contact me on any saxophone questions! Please share your experience with me! i am greatful!

Preparing my little ones at H. Eller College of Music at Tartu, Estonia!

Fantastic Etude Book for daily use on every level – Alan Bullard

Fantastic book to study different styles and the music is just beautiful. This book has changed the pupils attitude to etude playing! They have so different characters, musicality, tuning tonalities to work, different articulations, musical styles and the level of pieces do start for beginners untill advanced level.

This is must have for every teacher!

I will soon download some videos and I would like to share the potential of impsovising the piano in your lessons with these etudes! Believe me, these etudes have a lot of quality in your teaching!

You can buy it easily form amazon. HERE is the link!

The fear-based teaching?

?

Teachers, students and everybody elses: listen humbly, integrate new or old information into different contexts and You can be sure that you can read in peoples eyes that they/you learn, progress very quickly, and they/you will not fail on putting into practice each information received.
 It is obvious that WE (I mean saxophone teachers, students etc) are all very motivated, passionate and involved by listening, but neverless, even for the most daring and shy person – you need to seek in music the ways where you DO NOT put yourselves forward. It is a beautiful lesson of humbleness and an additional motivation to deliver through music personal ideas, sharpness and subtleness.
But I must admit that lived in this way being a teacher or a student, it’s the music that comes out winner as well as your personality becomes greater.

MENTAL NOISE is the same element what blocks listening and playing. Merge with the beauty of nature, merge with the beauty of listening – then you become UPLIFTED, EXPANDED about knowledge/information you thought you would not have yet. This is called EXPERIENCE. Revelations like when we discover NOW the different music ideas combined together in one composer’s piece, YOU can be sure of one thing, IT WAS THERE BEFORE, but you did not listen it in opened conciousness. These insights were caused by YOUR immersion in the music.

How to tune Yourself to the music?

Is it a technical piece or slow piece, higher or lower grade of music? Or what kind of associations have you created in you mind? When you tune yourself to the different kind of music, your spiritual mind does not worry about the grades!!! Spiritual music (often slow movements) aim is to create and maintain the resonance of vibrations in your body, the aim is to create in a person “higher planes” and thereby cultivate that sense which raises vibrations untill upliftment of the soul! we usually speak about: “Your playing really touched me”, “the way you interpreted the piece overwhelmed me” etc…I hope it sounds familiar to you! People (player or audience) often TRY TO LISTEN in the concerts or competitions, but the trueth is, when You LET YOURSELF LISTENED – you have attained to peoples heart. So no matter, fast or slow movement, spiritually we have the same purpose in final process of learning – Do We Let Yourself Listen? Fearbased listening is trying to play with others while being preoccupied with yourself

Connection with true self

When I was playing in a group, I listened and responded through musical phrases, but I often found that I looked for meaningful/not empty/full of emotions etc phrases. Finally it continued and I was more and more not satisfied, I asked myself, what did I lost? I lost myself and let EGO to have more space. So how to find a solution, where I lost myself? Where I should be looking? I found myself enslaved by “satisfying needs” (those outside), that fear became predominant and I lost oneness. I was flashed by EGO illusion.

So my first step:

I was stucked in MY line of music and I stopped in a moment of solo, I STOPPED LISTENING OTHERS! Next process: I decided to have less and less space in my mind for the judge I called EGO! Judgements, estimations, expectations, reclamations, do people like my playing…etc. Sounds familiar?Judge created estimations and solos had no direction, because there were so much FEAR! Expectations exist therewhere is fear!

To refind and re-establish my true self, I started again from the patient practice process. Creation comes from inside, I trust myself in playing where is now fear and judgement. Practice started to have a new “look” – patience, because I had no burning desire to reach the goal (meaningful phrases, full of emotions)…all that finally stopped the inner improvisation flow – wanted to be liked by outside world! Again I repeated the phrase to myself, the beauty and creation comes from inside. I celebrated the saxophone playing, learning new ways of phrasing, learning new ways of enjoying and I did experience a NEW ENTIRE range of emotions that were not asked by Judge EGO.

Whatever improvisation/information came out, I was greatful, I was not attached to the result. So I discovered I liked my ideas again. Paradoxically, purpose and great result desire actions caused detachment.

But finally after some months: It all started to affect positively playing written music also, fearless expression where one note moves to the other without seeking any “rules/traditions”. The entire process of learning written music became a joyful game. WHY? I focused (on the fast or slow) on movement from note to note, I observed myself without attending result for anybody else. It is an illusion, I let myself listenend by myself, inner self.

In teaching saxophone and contemporary chamber music I started to notice changes the way I expected things should be done!!! I had less expectations from pupils/students, they started to be more free but at the same time more ENGAGED in music than ever before!

Fear-based teaching

I have a classical piano lessons study backround. When you enter to the school system, you enter into the (pre)programmed world. Fear pushes us to fulfill the programms! For teaching side it is a disaster when we talk about mastering musical and instrumental skills and HOW to achieve it through programmed systems. As a student you suffer: big pressure by programs and demotivation to continue. Very common problems for teachers and students in music field!

You know as a student that something is wrong and teacher may emphasis on the wrong things and be also in the dark! Frustrated teacher do confront one main problem: self-loathing and unfortunately it keeps growing over time. Also quite often teacher may fear students musical gifts and here teacher confronts EGO problems. Talented students find a way out – they change and find another teacher, OTHERS not! What happens in real life that many amongst OTHERS become teachers themselves!!!Their life continues in denial process, they continue to suffer all the same frustrations and they subconciously counseling and transmitting what they could not surpass in their student period.

So here we have two common existing dilemmas: students frustration and that of teachers. We need to help both of them!

First, it would be necessary to understand both sides and how they have arrived into this point? Teachers who need to change are in the same situation as their students. Better is, if it becomes a mutual journey, willingness to figure it out TOGETHER.

MUSIC IS ART OF THE SOUND, I believe, it is also the ART OF LISTENING. In school systems we learn quickly to compare eachothers abilities and programms require that we need to be THE SAME (in understandings, in different skills, etc) or at least at the same level with our surroundings! Sometimes hearing a wonderful and virtuos soloist can inspire us, it can and should reinforce our commitment on a choosed instrument. BUT quite common is a lack of visiting concerts and staying in OUR confort zone (EGO) to avoid awareness of great players, the envy and denial thinking is eating inside.

I like one story about two wolves. They are inside of us, GOOD WOLF and BAD WOLF. Good one says: you are beautiful, you can do it; you are at your best abilities; you have a lot of joy in your life; you live a full and valuable life; you contribute positively everywhere. Bad wolf says inside of you: you are not so beautiful; I told you cannot make it; I told you your abilities are still weak and not yet good; your life is miserable on every level, go today and have more rest, do not practice or go to some concert; tomorrow might be a good day for you but you never know!; the way you play your instrument does not give any pleasure to anyone ….etc, etc. SO HERE IS A QUESTION? WHICH WOLF YOU ARE FEEDING?

Yes, it is a constant work within ourselves, every day, every new piece, every new person you meet, every new challenge has fear inside. I tell myself and my students to take it as normality. Feeding sometimes in a difficult process the bad wolf is ok, BUT as soon as you notice it, change it RIGHT AWAY – that’s the tricky every day process!

When you listen yourself or somebody else, listen it with a feeling of love. Especially yourself, fear-based listening (feeding the bad wolf) or love-based listening (feeding the good wolf inside of you)! You can notice your body, when it is tense and twisted and breathing is in a upper part of lungs – you are experiencing fear-based listening. When you release (let go) the EGO, you do experience the joy in listening (and also in playing). You should listen the same way you play, listen, practice and teach: with love! WHY? You feel absorbed by the music, your playing has changed through a
process of gradual or unconscious assimilation of ideas, it nourishes you without you are even knowing it! So I do recommend do go to concerts even if you do not have a passion for certain styles of music. “Inhale” a lot of concerts and it will “channeling” through you, expand your limits like this image of sunset.

Couche de soleil

To be continued….

Playing saxophone aside- tenor and bariton. How did I prevent back pains?

Quite often we have to play saxophones like tenor and bariton on our right side. I will share my experience and what have I done about it!

Turning the body to the right side has  a slight inconvenience: the body feels uncomfortable after a while (it means the body turns too much on the right side because of the harness or big saxophone or reason X) and therefore it also affects DIRECTLY on your back problems, especially if you play in long term  these (tenor/bariton) instruments. What are the solutions that I have found for me?
First I tried with Neotech harness, but I felt always uncomfortable when I was sitting. Also I didn’t like  being tightly held against my chest. It teared so tensely to the right side when I was sitting and it turned my body too much to the right, that it was “I realized NOT healthy to my back anyway” – so I needed STILL to go to see physiotherapist. He explained me, that shoulders and hips: they are like a box I need to keep straight and NOT TO TURN.
Every movement that is rotation to your back is bad for discs and makes a lot of tension on the nervs that are between! Which I have felt of course.  Trust me, you won’t gonna like it! All My back pain came from not respecting that simple advice – “keep the shoulders- hips straightforward, do not bend them”!. And I thank him until today, as I am teaching everybody how to prevent back pains while we play saxophone!

Next step I bought: review Freeneck Harness

I will never suggest to play tenor-bariton-bass saxophones to play with neck strap, this will cause long term problems that are invisible many many years!!!! This ends up putting quite a bit of lateral pressure on your neck, all you can do, is to find what changes your life  for a while.
From the front, the Free Neck looks just like a standard neck strap.

I have compared in this video different harnesses I have used, click here!

 freeneck is one of  the most expensive harness I’d seen,  it’s  close to €135 at Thomann Germany e-store.
The harness itself comes in 3 parts.  The main bit is a normal looking neck strap string and hook from which projects a pair of long metal rods which extend down your back.
The end of these then connect into a pocket on a separate belt which clips around your waist (picture on the right).
Pocket is behind.  

The back of the neck has a metal plate , in the middle you have screws you need to adjust (picture on the left).
They come  across the width of your column vertebral/back which runs down the length of your spine.
You wear a belt around your waist, more around your hips I should precise, it has a pocket that is  part of the harness and you put the bottom of the rods tuck into the pocket. The rod length is adjustable, as is the cord that the hook is on.
The HOOK  has a “spacer” on the chord, so rather than the cord coming straight to the hook, it goes through a spacer, which keeps the cords about 10cm apart and carries away also the heaviness of the saxophone, really good invention.
So you can place the sax anywhere you like, as you could with a normal sax neck strap – to the right, out in front, or between your legs.
I used it for a while only for bariton and tenor, well, also on bass saxophone and then I realized that I like to play also on alto and soprano.
The same thing happened to Jazzlab Saxholder, although I do feel more haight on my shoulders with that compare to freeneck! Go and try if you see someone has, ONLY TRYING  ON will tell you what is for you the best. Please you are welcome to share your experiences.
How did I prevent back pains while playing tenor, bariton or bass saxophones?
Two principles:
1. I do play a lot in sitting, BUT tenor I keep saxophone straight forward also in sitting, I just found the position if I push the right leg more aside, It suits for me and therefore I DO NOT CAUSE  any back pains while playing tenor. When I can, I stand up for a while and play, because it is huge gratitude to my back! In case of course baryton and basse I place them aside, but still keeping shoulders-hips as straight as possible.
2. Keep it balanced, sit and stand up regularly. Do some exercises and especially bendings for arms and shoulders and back!
Harnesses packing problems!!!
For tenor sax it was always difficult to take Freeneck separately with my sax case, then notes, stands etc, and therefore I started to use Vandoren Harness, which has exactly the same principles as Freeneck, but Vandoren Harness I can pack together so little, that it goes to the belly of sax easily.

Review Vandoren Harness

Freeneck goes easily to the baryton and bass sax belly. And is really good to play the heavy instruments. Good value for the money. With jazzlab saxholder I can pack well into the case that has not saxophone shape, but when travelling, I take Vandoren Harness with me.
Vandoren Saxophone Harness IS  a great option for those having neck issues from standard straps, and those looking for a better harness.

Every sax harness is designed with the same basic principal; remove weight and stress from the neck by shifting it to the shoulders or hips.I believe that anybody with neck or back issues would benefit from trying out this harness.

The Vandoren Harness  takes away the pressure of the chest area and centers  partial  weight to the hips and along the waste and on shoulder pads. Behind the back you have two telescopic support to adjust the length (lengthen or shorten as you like) you need for you and combines with the hooks on your shoulder pads. The chest is totally free from that bound feeling. The waist is familiar pants and belts in normal clothing, and there is no feeling of stress from the harness strap at the waste at all. I love the adjustment space around the waste. when you stop playing you can simlpy detache remaining elastic ribbon to the hook and you feel comfortable while not playing. The harness looks beautiful on you. Look up the video here!

Larger saxophones will never feel weightless because they are just big and heavy. But, to take  the weight shift away from the neck is always a great choice, and the shoulders are a much stronger area of the human body with less concern for damage than a neck might be, with the central nervous system/column vertebral running though it. Getting the harness into proper adjustment is important, and each player will find a combination that will work best for his or her shape. Setting it up for alto or tenor or bariton is easy, it takes a little more experimentation with the bariton because it is so much heavier.

I like the fact that it can be worn under a coat, and it looks jut like a standard sax strap at that point. Some clothes cover the harness to be completely invisible!

The vandoren harness works well, sitting or standing, it keeps straight even shoulders-hips position, because the V-shape strap shortens from one side and lengthen from the other side!!!!

vandoren harness is my favorite

while playing aside!

With a long  strap and flexible hook in front of you, you can comfortably use a playing position in front of the body, or off to the side. The backside braces are hard but flexible plastic and sitting with the harness on really comfortable than I first though it might be. This harness will encourage to have a  better posture, since the center of gravity seems to rest on the shoulder pads, holding them forward and fighting the traditional slouch so many sax players have.

Purchase Vandoren Harness here on Amazon

Purchase Neotech Harness here on Amazon

Purchase Neotech Super Harness here on Amazon

Purchase BG Harness for KIDS here on Amazon

Purchase Jazzlab saxholder here on Amazon

Please, you are welcome to share your eperiences! Thank you!

review jazzlab saxholder, best harness available, best harness for saxophone tenor, best harness for saxophone alto

Jazzlab Saxholder – my absolute favorite since the beginning of 2017!

Why I choosed jazzlab saxholder?

First – the curiosity, because when you are teacher for some time (me 17 years), you need to have to be aware of ALL the neckstrap or harness materials available on the market.

I have faced myself neck problem, I’ve been playing with normal neck strap, that comes with a new saxophone. And it is so wrong to play with it , column vertebral is suffering so much and unfortunately it takes years to understand that the damage is done invisible way. Can you fix it? NO, no and no. Bones, nerves, discs of column vertebral are damaged forever. You can recover, but it is gonna cost you! And yet it is so easy to AVOID THAT PROBLEM in the future!

neck strapThe saxophonist Chris Condon just shared on Facebook his “bad surprise”, that he has been playing 20+ years with the neck strap and wakes up one day (now we are july 2018, so he posted on june 2018!!!) and he could not feel the fingers of one hand, neither hold up things! We should not damage the health because of saxophone! We can prevent it!

Read More

Why should I go to Summer Academy?

I have been thinking, why we are at first place against to go to Summer Camps or in music world in Summer Academies. Maybe the word camping or something else is somehow misused?
But the world goes more and more looking the screens and still the ACTUAL WORLD REMAINS OUTSIDE OF THE SCREENS. In Summer Academies we are all communicating through music and our souls are singing and those who are sitting in audience are sharing with us these intimate moments, like Paul McCartney song “Yesterday” in orchestral version and saxophone solo starts 2:15, for those who are interested to listen to!
Playing in wind orchestra or string orchestra is completely different experience, all those colours your ear is able to discover and distinguish, this is FEELING, nobody can explain intellectually what you feel, because it is the chemistry and it is wonderful to experience. So go for it!

 

The pieces you can play? For example Mozart, and his 25th symphony 1st part is like rockmusic frm 18th century!!! Listen and watch here!

Amazing Grace by Saxophone Ensemble, watch here!

Live and Let Die of L. and P. mcCartney, watch here!

And all kinds of little ensembles, like quartet, sextet “Amazing Grace“…..it s all about hierarchie in the music, solo versus chorus, tuning and the balance in the chords – in those tiny details are hidden necessary things to be able to perform big saxophone choir for exemple Alain Crepin “Nuits blanches/ White nights“. I do promote this wonderful piece, that exist also alto/tenorsax and piano version.

And hey…. video: Let’s twist again like we did last summer! See you beside the sea, like we performed on that video!

Traveling with saxophone(s)!

When we travel by car, we can take as much things as we want to with us, just make sure, that instrument case does not lie on the BOTTOM of the things and it does not MOVE too much, especially on the case of saxophone. Place it well amongst the things!

Traveling by plane is a challenge, but I can share what have I done. And what I have bought, see below the article.

Traveling with tenorsaxophone, I take the so called flightcase (Selmer, BAM, SKB has a good one, it is  soft material and also the hard flightcases), it has the shape of the saxophone and usually there has not been problems. But it is crucial to understand, that there are little planes versus big planes and that’s why YOU NEED TO KNOW before, which plane will be! Once, when I checked in at Paris airport, they start to interrogate, that mesures do not fit… etc and I was with soprano!!! So I told, I ve been traveling 15 years and I never had problems and as I have looked, that the airplane is big, so even for guitarplayer it should be ok…..it worked and actually it is true. Usually you have no problem with soprano, at least the case of straight soprano looks similar to violin case.

But the conciousness about musical instruments has not approved with the time!

When I was traveling tenorsaxophone with normal case, I mean not in a saxophone shape, airbaltic company charged me for special price 60 euros and I could carry it on the plane. So if you don’t have a saxophone shape flightcase, then you should count on for extra money (continue to read!).

Traveling with two saxophone,

I have wrapped alto in a hard cover suitcase between the clothes, nothing happened and theN tenor I took on the plane with  (F)lightcase – ON THE SHAPE OF SAXOPHONE!

Of course I did put all documents inside the saxophone, no other bag is taken to the plane!

ALWAYS take out for travel the screwdrivers and all stuff you need for reparation your saxophone, because in the security of the airport, they look at it as a suspicious stuff, so they just take it away!!!!!
ALWAYS close all open pads with cork material, do it just like you received a new saxophone, if you still remember, all open pads and even C# and G# were closed with cork material. Then you have no worries about pads regulation problems, if that had accured during the traveling!
ALWAYS control before leaving an airport, if you had to give away your saxophone down with other suitcases, so when you arrive to the destination airpot (and I presume you have done insurance also!) then YOU OPEN AND CONTOL IMMEDIATELY there the condition of your saxophone. If something has happened during the travel, you can complain and ask for to repair it. Do you imagine yourself looking for a saxophone reparation in a country you barely know? Maybe you will not have even time for that?

Traveling with bariton I had such experiences:

Either you ask a bariton from the destination you are traveling, somebody has to have a bariton? It has worked.
You can buy a ticket for your bari saxophone separately and on the plane you sit next to it!

Third option is to close all open pads with cork and sticker them with the tape if needed. Then buy a LOT OF “FRAGILE” stickers and put ALLOVER on your saxophone, Otherwise you know…..they will damage.

We musicians are aware of the different suitcases for instruments, but airport craft NEVER.
Just think forward everything. All them worked well with me!

Hope my experiences had served you, and please comment and share yours also! Thank You!

LOOK HERE for saxophone tenor flight case BAM

LOOK HERE for saxophone baritone flight case SKB

NB! BAM has also baritone hightech flight case, but the price is salty!!!

LOOK HERE for saxophone alto flight case BAM

COMBINING DIFFERENT TYPES of saxophones in one GARD case and it has wheels also. I use for curved soprano and for alto! Really practical.