Where do I start with learning the saxophone?
Learning to play the saxophone is more than just simply knowing how to get the sound right. Saxophonists have a certain responsibility to their instrument, the audience don’t just hear the saxophone but also your soul. And if you’re a male learning the sax, chances are you will have realised that ladies just love the saxophone!
Whilst a teacher will be able to assist you with your foundational skills, you should also access online learning sites which will really help you to hone your technique. We’ve gone to the trouble of reviewing some of the bigger websites that help you learn the Saxophone, check out our review of Taming The Saxophone or Randy Hunter Jazz, both are a very good place to start. Some of these sites have free tutorials specifically aimed at beginners and are well worth a look. If learning online is not for you, take some time to watch videos of professional saxophonists as this will really give you some tips on how to make your sax soulful.
You may be aspiring to play iconic songs featuring the sax, for example Baker Street or Smooth Operator, but you need to get the basics right first. You will need to literally get to grips with your instrument and start holding it correctly. Lots of online resources show you how to master this perfectly and this can be done before you even visit a tutor. It is also important to get your embouchure just right, as without this you may not be able to make any sound from your saxophone at all. Strengthening the muscles in the lips will help you to get this just right.
There are lots of tips and tricks to help you to learn to play the saxophone, but perhaps the most helpful tips will help you perfect your embouchure:
- Roll the fat part of your bottom lip just over the top of your bottom teeth. Keep your chin flat.
- Rest the reed on top of the bottom lip. The fat part of your bottom lip functions here like a pillow or cushion.
- Bite down gently with your teeth to the top of the mouthpiece. Your teeth should be positioned a little less than halfway up the mouthpiece.
- Roll your top lip down and in
- Pull the corners of your mouth in around the sides of the mouthpiece.
There are many types of saxophone to choose from but the four main ones are Alto, Soprano, Tenor and Baritone. Choose carefully and consider that this is an instrument you will be playing for a long time. There are some excellent used saxophones available to purchase but make sure you know that the owner has looked after it properly. Whilst older saxophones may be cheaper, the sound could be compromised and there will probably be significant wear and tear on the keys. We’ve a small collection of Saxophone in our store (click here) which are ideal if you know what you’re looking for, or can’t wait to get started! However, as with most musical instruments, it’s best if you pop down to your local music shop and have a play. We also have some books and learning materials available for buddy Saxophonists – go check them out here.
Practice every day, even if it’s only for a short period of time. If you are practising for a longer period then remember to take a break. Remember to practice all areas of saxophone playing including working with a metronome, ear training, scales and so on.
Oh, and finally, have fun 🙂