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Beginner

sirforson

New Member
Messages
1
Locality
USA
Hello All,
I am a beginner, just bought a tenor sax. Any advice as to practice sessions, techniques would be welcome.
Thanks
 

tatooandy67

Member
Messages
168
Locality
Birmingham U.K.
Hi, when I first started learning the sax I found a book called a tune a day to be very helpful, also practicing scales daily really helped me learn to play the notes and helped with my tone, if you’re able to then a few lessons at the beginning will be really helpful to get you started on the right path
 

nigeld

Too many mouthpieces
Café Supporter
Messages
7,832
Locality
Bristol, UK
Welcome to the Café and to the saxophone.

I think having a teacher helps a lot, especially at the beginning.
 
D

Deleted member 6182

Guest
Hi & welcome - i remember my 1st sax lesson. Blow into the sax, dont play a note, just listen to the sound of air loudly moving through the whole body of the sax, in a nice even flow.....the other thing i remember, when i 1st blew a B note, i couldn’t hold it for a count of 4 lol
 
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Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,550
Locality
New Zealand and Australia
Welcome to the world of sax. Very general advice: Many teachers assume that all their students want to sound like Coltrane or Bird, and just play "standards". If you have a style or sound in mind that you are wanting to play, then don't be afraid to let your teacher know. If they are unwilling or unable to give you exercises that help you in the direction you wish to go, find another teacher. There is a fable in the sax teaching world that goes something like this: You need to learn to copy and play in the style of some dead sax hero form the 1950s-60s in order to eventually play the way you want to in the 21st century. Don't buy into it. It only means the teacher can't play any other style themselves. If you want to play standards, you'll have no trouble finding a teacher or plenty of books...it's (unfortunately) where most of the teaching industry is still stuck. Best of luck!
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
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Messages
8,947
Locality
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
The emphasis for anyone at any age who is starting to learn to play the saxophone is to learn to play the instrument. This involves tone production, breathing and breath support, articulation, posture, hand position, fingerings, alternate fingerings, etc. The musical learning at this level is also very basic. It includes reading notes on the staff, learning note values, counting, learning dynamic and expression markings, learning tonguing styles, learning slurs. The musical learning in beginning books starts with simple tunes, hymns, folk songs, well known melodies etc. that are at the ability level of a beginning player.

Saxophone teachers who are also music educators emphasize learning to play the instrument with its characteristic "classical" sound at the beginning. This does several things: It establishes a disciplined approach to tone production, it develops all around musicianship, and it opens up playing opportunities such as solo recitals, saxophone quartets, and ensembles, and playing in concert bands, and wind ensembles, and occasionally orchestras.

Once a student has learned the geography of the saxophone and has well established tone production and music reading skills after 2, 3, or more years depending upon the student's ability and drive, then is the time to seek a teacher to pursue the student's personal interest whether it is traditional jazz, progressive jazz, new age jazz, jazz-rock, latin, country, or whatever it might be.
 

GCinCT

Seeker of truth and beauty
Café Supporter
Messages
1,816
Locality
Oneonta, NY
Welcome to the Café. Best of luck learning the world's greatest musical instrument.
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,550
Locality
New Zealand and Australia
The emphasis for anyone at any age who is starting to learn to play the saxophone is to learn to play the instrument. This involves tone production, breathing and breath support, articulation, posture, hand position, fingerings, alternate fingerings, etc. The musical learning at this level is also very basic. It includes reading notes on the staff, learning note values, counting, learning dynamic and expression markings, learning tonguing styles, learning slurs. The musical learning in beginning books starts with simple tunes, hymns, folk songs, well known melodies etc. that are at the ability level of a beginning player.

Saxophone teachers who are also music educators emphasize learning to play the instrument with its characteristic "classical" sound at the beginning. This does several things: It establishes a disciplined approach to tone production, it develops all around musicianship, and it opens up playing opportunities such as solo recitals, saxophone quartets, and ensembles, and playing in concert bands, and wind ensembles, and occasionally orchestras.

Once a student has learned the geography of the saxophone and has well established tone production and music reading skills after 2, 3, or more years depending upon the student's ability and drive, then is the time to seek a teacher to pursue the student's personal interest whether it is traditional jazz, progressive jazz, new age jazz, jazz-rock, latin, country, or whatever it might be.

This is much better advice than mine. Look for a teacher who can give you all of these basics as it's the foundation for going in the direction you want. I've just see too many (more advanced?) sax students on a road to nowhere that was paved with the best of intentions.
 

Wonko

Member
Messages
564
Locality
Belgium
Saxophone teachers who are also music educators emphasize learning to play the instrument with its characteristic "classical" sound at the beginning. This does several things: It establishes a disciplined approach to tone production, it develops all around musicianship, and it .......
True, and maybe that is a good way to start.
But 2 day's ago I heard from my sax teacher that, due to the new legislation concerning music education, in september one can start with "Jazz and light music" from the first year. Not a bad idea in my opinion. When I started learning the sax (at almost 40 years old), I wanted to play jazz, not classical music. I wouldn't say those first 3 years were wasted, but it may be somewhat of a inhibitor for people who are thinking of taking up music classes.

Having said that, I get the impression that here in Belgium we are blessed with a very well developed music education. Both for children and adults (a bit more expensive for adults, but still a lot cheaper than private tutorials).
 
D

Deleted member 6182

Guest
I Would certainly get a profesional sax player that also teaches and has a music degree from day one like i did, because in my case i had lots of embouchure problems in the first two months, and had to relearn my embouchure in that period, as i found i was playing okay in one register but squeaking badly in another register caused by excessive biting and embouchuring wrong.
By the end of my first year i could blow all the overtones and play up to altissimo C - to me the early years is more about getting used to the instrument.

[BGCOLOR=transparent] [/BGCOLOR]
 

Dave E

Member
Messages
206
Locality
Leicester
Nothing really to add to all the good advice. Just to say, I find it enjoyable to occasionally switch the radio on or pop a CD on and see if I can play along to bits of music I like (just for a few minutes). Do this once and if you enjoy it, do it again sporadically amongst the general practice.
 

Keep Blowing

Senior Member
Messages
1,711
Locality
Bottesford England
Welcome to the world of sax. Very general advice: Many teachers assume that all their students want to sound like Coltrane or Bird, and just play "standards". If you have a style or sound in mind that you are wanting to play, then don't be afraid to let your teacher know. If they are unwilling or unable to give you exercises that help you in the direction you wish to go, find another teacher. There is a fable in the sax teaching world that goes something like this: You need to learn to copy and play in the style of some dead sax hero form the 1950s-60s in order to eventually play the way you want to in the 21st century. Don't buy into it. It only means the teacher can't play any other style themselves. If you want to play standards, you'll have no trouble finding a teacher or plenty of books...it's (unfortunately) where most of the teaching industry is still stuck. Best of luck!
I'm not agreeing or disagreeing, I just think what you have said is a bit heavy for a beginner
 

MikeMorrell

Netherlands
Café Supporter
Messages
1,689
Locality
Breda
Welcome to the cafe!

The best advice I can give is to make sure you keep enjoying playing, practising and learning. If practising/lessons ever become a 'chore' , take a step back and find ways of making them enjoyable again. When learning anything from scratch, we tend to be much more aware of the things that go less well than we'd hoped and of how much more we still need to learn. You may not always be aware of the smaller but important improvements that you make along the way. A good teacher will give you positive feedback on your progress and on achievable things (priorities) to work on in the short term. IMHO, a good teacher/tutor of anything ensures - within his/her influence - that the student maintains the motivation to practice and learn (whatever the student's innate talent or learning speed!)

Good advice (as usual) from @jbtsax. My story is a bit different. When I hired my first tenor (on a whim) aged 45, I could read (guitar) music. I was delighted to find that the finger positions of many of the basic notes were the same as on a 'descant recorder' which I'd played aged 11. I found my first "tutor" via the shop where I rented the sax and while I was waiting for my first lesson I just tried to play a couple of simple tunes by ear: Christmas carols, Nursery rhymes, it didn't matter. My tone was awful but I had the idea that I was 'playing a sax'!

My first (private) tutor was a good classical sax player who'd studied at a music college for a couple of years before quitting to play professionally. We hit it off and he helped me learn the basics of breathing, posture, etc,. His main 'teaching style' was to give feedback and tips based on what he saw and heard when I played his music examples or stuff from one of my books. I remember him putting his hands around my midriff to check how I was filling and using my lungs! Above all, he was was flexible. He had no predefined 'programme' and each lesson was different (depending on what he saw or heard). After 6 months, he took another job and he suggested that I join a 'wind orchestra' to learn more. I did this and I also signed up at a music school for a year of sax lessons.

My 2nd sax tutor at the music school was very different. Also classically trained, he was a 'professional educator' (of all ages). His emphasis was much more on playing 'the dots' (precisely). Looking back, it was valuable but at the time I wasn't at all happy practising the same classical piece for 3-4 weeks until I got all the 'legato' and 'staccato' notes exactly right and play all the semi-quaver 'runs' fluently. It wasn't much fun any more. Halfway through the year, things came to a crisis and I explained to him that I really wanted to learn to play Jazz and Blues. After some discussion, he finally agreed. I provided the (Guest Spot) music books and he pointed out the dots/phrases that I'd not played correctly. I never really hit it off with the tutor but I at least felt that I was practising music that I enjoyed playing. I was motivated to play these pieces as well as I could.

In the (18) years since then, I've played in Wind Orchestras and Big Bands under numerous (amateur and college student) Musical Directors. My experience is that they still fall into two broad categories: Directors who acknowledge and confirm what's improved (positive, motivating) feedback - while noting that further improvements can still be made in later rehearsals - and Directors who predominately focus on what's wrong (demotivating).

So to summarise: get a tutor that motivates you. If he/she doesn't, discuss it. If that doesn't help, get a different tutor.

Mike
\QUOTE="jbtsax, post: 359794, member: 1801"]The emphasis for anyone at any age who is starting to learn to play the saxophone is to learn to play the instrument. This involves tone production, breathing and breath support, articulation, posture, hand position, fingerings, alternate fingerings, etc. The musical learning at this level is also very basic. It includes reading notes on the staff, learning note values, counting, learning dynamic and expression markings, learning tonguing styles, learning slurs. The musical learning in beginning books starts with simple tunes, hymns, folk songs, well known melodies etc. that are at the ability level of a beginning player.

Saxophone teachers who are also music educators emphasize learning to play the instrument with its characteristic "classical" sound at the beginning. This does several things: It establishes a disciplined approach to tone production, it develops all around musicianship, and it opens up playing opportunities such as solo recitals, saxophone quartets, and ensembles, and playing in concert bands, and wind ensembles, and occasionally orchestras.

Once a student has learned the geography of the saxophone and has well established tone production and music reading skills after 2, 3, or more years depending upon the student's ability and drive, then is the time to seek a teacher to pursue the student's personal interest whether it is traditional jazz, progressive jazz, new age jazz, jazz-rock, latin, country, or whatever it might be.[/QUOTE]
 
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SaxoFREAK

saX on the bEaCH..
Messages
626
Locality
Liverpool
Big welcome from me, great advice from the guys & gals, make sure you enjoy every minute of your time with your beautiful sax, have fun and enjoy your stay.. ;)
 

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