SYOS

Beginner Sax Advice for newbie please

Steveaustinpowers

New Member
Messages
6
Hi all

Well I appear to have fallen at the first hurdle as I made a post this morning to the forum but alas I cannot find it, so apologies if this is a duplicate entry

I have recently discovered my old B and H clarinet which I used to play a long, long time ago, if I say 'wham' were in the charts you get the picture. I now have an 11 year old and am trying to get her to learn an instrument and she is learning the guitar by tabbing! I have no idea what that is!

My question is this - i have seen an earlham alto sax for sale and was wondering as a novice newbie to sax playing is it an instrument that I could pick up and play or would my clarinet playing (or lack of it) just confuse me. I did play tenor for a while in my youth so am aware the fingering is different. In essence should I stick to the clarinet or is it possible to learn both at the same time? Plus is 11/12 a good age for junior to start on a alto as the clarinet is quite hard to play at that age' or so she tells me.

Thanks in advance for any advice / tips

Dorset Dave:D
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
I'm just a hobbyist who messes around with a lot of different instruments. So take everything I say with that in mind.

About 6 years ago I bought a clarinet (along with some other air or wind instruments). The clarinet was the only "reed" instrument at that time, and that's precisely why I bought it. I wanted to try playing a reed instrument to see what it's like. The other two wind instruments at that time where flute and trumpet. I found all three difficult to play. Each one having it's own specific difficulties.

The clarinet was difficult in terms of both the reed, and the fingerings. Trumpet fingerings are nothing (3 buttons). Even the flute seemed to be more intuitive and comfortable for me than the clarinet. In fact, I found the clarinet so awkward (especially in terms of trying to play smoothly across the register break, that I never truly became proficient with it. The flute and trumpet are still coming along today, but I've given up on the clarinet.

Now more recently (about a year ago) I bought an alto sax. I took a chance on another reed instrument. Fortunately it panned out. I find the sax far easier to play than the clarinet both in terms of reed embouchure and in terms of fingerings. In fact, the sax is actually far more like a flute than a clarinet in terms of fingerings.

I made far more progress on the alto sax over the past year than I had ever made on the clarinet.

In fact, my progress on the also sax is coming along so well that I'm actually preparing to purchase a tenor sax this December.

If anyone were to ask me the difference between a saxophone and a clarinet, I would personally say that they are world's apart, both in terms of embouchure and fingering, and IMHO, the sax is by-far the easier of the two instruments to play. At least it is for me.

By the way I was 61 when I started playing the sax. If I had an 11 or 12 year old children I would definitely get them started playing instruments. And I wouldn't hesitate to start them in on more than one to let them discover just what it is they truly like. But I wouldn't buy them a clarinet, as I feel that would be cruel and unusual punishment. (ha ha)

~~~~~~

In defense of clarinets in general, I need to add that I bought a really inexpensive clarinet. In fact, I bought the cheapest clarinet I could find. So that may have been a factor in my bad experience with the clarinet. Hat I started off on a really expensive well-made clarinet things might have turned out differently? Who knows?

But having said that, my alto sax is about the cheapest sax made too. Yet it plays like a charm. At least it's coming along as I'm learning. I'm sure a more expensive sax would be far better, of course. But my point is that even this cheap sax is enjoyable to learn on. That certainly wasn't true of the clarinet.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Lots of kids start on the clarinet and do well. Just make sure teh front upper teeth are stable/developed first. And get a decent teacher.

But it's a good idea to let your daughter decide for herself whichinstrument she likes the sound of the most.

Each instrument has it's quirks/difficulties. But at that age the kids tend not to notice, cos there's nothing to compare with. And it's also said that the sax is an easy instrument to play - badly.
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,034
Your girl is a good age to learn clarinet or sax just let her choose. The clarinet experience you've had will stand you in good stead with the alto. The clarinet will be easier to play if its in good playing condition. Also, sax embouchure is different from the clarinet and you can check that out on here. I prefer the lip out method on sax. Resume your clarinet playing and start on sax, enjoy them both.

Jim.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,046
Here's some advice - don't buy an Earlham.
I've seen quite a few of these, and a lot of of them have been dreadful. Unless you're sure it's a good one, steer well clear.

For a decent horn on a budget, try the Gear4Music - or for a safer bet and a better horn, try a Bauhaus-Walstein.

Regards,
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Here's some advice - don't buy an Earlham.
I've seen quite a few of these, and a lot of of them have been dreadful. Unless you're sure it's a good one, steer well clear.

For a decent horn on a budget, try the Gear4Music - or for a safer bet and a better horn, try a Bauhaus-Walstein.

Regards,

Ooops! I don't know how it came about (too much whatsit last night?) this was the wrong thread :confused:
I'll try and find the correct one!

John:):):):):):);}
 
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TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
The trouble with a Clarinet is that it is not cool :blush:! An Alto Sax is easier to play, and is cool:cool:!

Playing more than one instrument is fine most of the time - I've never tried to play Tuba and Soprano Sax with the different embouchure requirements!

My main concern about kids learning instruments is whether they are given the right sort of learning options. Too many school music teachers are trained to teach classical music only, and most kids I know do not listen to classical music out of choice - preferring more contemporary music. Given the very high drop-out rate in this area there may well need to be a rethink about what kids are taught - not every kid wants to play classical music, join the school orchestra or wind band - not surprising how many adults seem to take up learning an instrument with interest and purpose - wanting to play the music that they like listening to, be it classical, jazz, blues, rock etc.

Guitar playing seems to have bypassed this dilemma, and maybe there needs to be more of a rethink in musical circles to maintain the interest of all kids, not just those with a classical bent.

Rant over. At least my 10yo enjoys playing the Theme from East Enders on her trumpet on school orchestral night!
 

Steveaustinpowers

New Member
Messages
6
Hi
Thank-you so much for taking the time in writing your enlightening and interesting response I did enjoy it and thank-you for the advice.
I have not made a purchase yet and am still practising my clarinet. I was told once that I "had a lovely tone" well that must have been been a long time as to my ear I now sound very flat. I guess my embouchere is not as good as in my teens but I am really enjoying it. I am using 1.5 reeds maybe that has something to do with it. Thanks again. Kind regards
 

Steveaustinpowers

New Member
Messages
6
Thanks Jim
My sound on the clarinet is to my ear pretty dull and sound quite flat, not sure if it ismy embouchere or the old 1.5 reeds. I am going to try and borrow a friends sax and see if the two of us get along.
Kind regards
David
 

Steveaustinpowers

New Member
Messages
6
Hi Tom
Thanks for the reply, I agree with your comments, my daughter has had two great teachers one quirky and the current has got her playing what she likes, which currently is the James bond theme, I am hoping that if Dad can make a decent sound on the clarinet and maybe the Sax then she will getvreally interested too in music.

Thanks again

Dorset Dave
 

Steveaustinpowers

New Member
Messages
6
The Hi Stephen
Thanks for the advice, I am not able to afford a Bauhaus at this time, but I am tempted over your review of the gear4music. Are you able to offer any advice on their range I.e is is worth paying a little more or say buy the vintage one? Thanks in advance, Dorset Dave
 

allansto

Senior Member
Messages
471
A BEGGINER SHOULD LEARN TO PLAY THE INSTRUMENT THEY LOVE .!

TAKE THIS FROM A PERSON WHO PLAYED A CLARINET FOR FIVE YEARS WHEN ALL I WANTED TO PLAY WAS THE SAX.

I LOVE THE SAX.........I ALWAYS HAVE.........NOW I PLAY ONE ........I CANT GO A DAY WITHOUT PRACTICING ............. BECAUSE I LOVE IT.

PLAY WHAT YOU LOVE.......... AND DONT WORRY ABOUT WHATS HARDER OR EASIER........... THIS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT FOR A CHILD.

DIFFICULTIES WILL BE OVERCOME BY PASSION !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:welldone
 

allansto

Senior Member
Messages
471
the trouble with a clarinet is that it is not cool :blush:! An alto sax is easier to play, and is cool:cool:!

Playing more than one instrument is fine most of the time - i've never tried to play tuba and soprano sax with the different embouchure requirements!

My main concern about kids learning instruments is whether they are given the right sort of learning options. Too many school music teachers are trained to teach classical music only, and most kids i know do not listen to classical music out of choice - preferring more contemporary music. Given the very high drop-out rate in this area there may well need to be a rethink about what kids are taught - not every kid wants to play classical music, join the school orchestra or wind band - not surprising how many adults seem to take up learning an instrument with interest and purpose - wanting to play the music that they like listening to, be it classical, jazz, blues, rock etc.

Guitar playing seems to have bypassed this dilemma, and maybe there needs to be more of a rethink in musical circles to maintain the interest of all kids, not just those with a classical bent.

Rant over. At least my 10yo enjoys playing the theme from east enders on her trumpet on school orchestral night!

tom you are sooooo right on this point.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
So do what the man says, and get your act together! Beggin Le Beguine, as Cole Porter once sang!

I love the sax, but then again I love the trumpet! But which is better..................;};};}
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,046
The Hi Stephen
Thanks for the advice, I am not able to afford a Bauhaus at this time, but I am tempted over your review of the gear4music. Are you able to offer any advice on their range I.e is is worth paying a little more or say buy the vintage one? Thanks in advance, Dorset Dave

It's definitely worth paying the extra for the Vintage model.
The basic model isn't bad, but the extra money for the Vintage is cash well spent.
You'll need a decent mouthpiece if you haven't already got one, so budget for a Yamaha 4C.

Regards,
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
I had a look at my teacher´s clarinet. I have no first hand exp. but he said its harder to play and after playing clarinet the sax comes easily. He also said some kids find it hard because the holes have to be covered, like a recorder. Tabbing for guitar is a written form that instead of showing notes shows strings and frets. It cannot explain anything but the note and where it is to be found and whether or not it should be bent. I expect if one has learned it its ok but I think that to learn to read tabs is what people who are frightened of learning to read music do. If you can read music you can play anything, all you have to do is remember where the notes are to be found. I am pretty sure there will be another opinion on this but I would try to persuade your girl to ditch the tabs and learn the music. Its no harder to read and there is a lot more in it.

I saw a second hand Earlham alto in a junk shop in Thornton le Dale a couple of years ago at 300 quid. It was still there last summer. I have no idea what it is actually worth but looking at the prices in that shop if you divide by 100 you would probably find its value.
Best wishes
Mike
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,908
I had a look at my teacher´s clarinet. I have no first hand exp. but he said its harder to play and after playing clarinet the sax comes easily. He also said some kids find it hard because the holes have to be covered, like a recorder.

Not sure I completely agree about sax being easy after clarinet. I started on sax after 20 years on clarinet and about a 20 year break (oh, that makes me feel old). Still had to unlearn some "clarinetty" habits. Took me a couple of months to realise how diifferent the embouchure should be. And after a year and a half I still have to keep reminding myself to use the tips of my fingers (as in pushing buttons) rather than the pads of them (as in covering holes).
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Tabulature is an approved way of writing guitar music and features in several examination board requirements. It does mean that "Reading music" can mean more than the commonly developed system that many people use, but may not be as appropriate or as necessary as people believe. I have used Tabulature when learning and playing Bass guitar and it is really useful.
 
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