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Grounds for adoption...or a cheap alto?

Col

Member
Messages
153
I caught my five year old trying to play my sax whilst on it's stand this morning.

He made a pretty good noise and whilst I obviously don't want him touching my tenor, I'm wondering if the time's right to get him his own alto.

Don't want him to feel he's forced into it though (but my will stipulates my kid's don't inherit without becoming muscians first).

When's too early to start?
 

rudjarl

Senile Member. Scandinavian Ambassadour of CaSLM
Messages
657
When's too early to start?
Hi Col,
at the age of five, Mozart had already made his first compositions :). But for playing sax, he must be able to reach the keys. An alto could do it. Or perhaps a curved soprano would fit him better.

Good luck to you both
Rune
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
Unless he's really big I'd have thought five was too young. Maybe about nine, on average?

My eldest was about five when she first had a blow of my sax and she was encouraged to just blow the odd note, which she did well. I told her she could have a sax when she's big enough to manage it. She's nine now, and has.............................a guitar!
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Surely you can buy 1/2 size saxophones? You can with other instruments such as violins.
Yes, but they're sopranos or higher. Pitch of a sax (and other woodwinds) is determined by the body length. On guitars and violins you can use a string at a lower tension to compensate for the shorter length, but it doesn't work on woodwinds.
 

nakedlunch

Member
Messages
95
Yes, that makes sense. Perhaps the best thing is to learn the recorder then for a few years before trying the sax.
 

Chris

Well Known
Subscriber
Messages
3,821
small alto's

You could try him with a Trevor James "Alphasax"..created for the smaller younger player..

Chris
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,409
not sure of the age but he looks pretty young to me

perhaps the younger the better
 
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Gandalfe

Member
Messages
107
Depending upon the child, I suppose you could teach a five-year old to play sax. I just get my kids/grandkids a recorder. And I let them beg to play my instruments. That way, when I acquiesce, they really, really want to do it. YMMV.
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
The main problem would be whether he is able to hold the instrument so that his fingers can touch the keys easily. You wouldn't expect him to play the three lowest notes nor the palm key notes. Some in between might be a bit hard too. Primary school students tend to start with recorder in grade one. Some move to band instruments in grade two. Others take a little longer.

If he is mature for his age, you might want to start to look out for a cheap but good alto. From what i have heard about sopranos, that might be a bridge too far.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
The main problem would be whether he is able to hold the instrument so that his fingers can touch the keys easily. You wouldn't expect him to play the three lowest notes nor the palm key notes. Some in between might be a bit hard too. Primary school students tend to start with recorder in grade one. Some move to band instruments in grade two. Others take a little longer.

If he is mature for his age, you might want to start to look out for a cheap but good alto. From what i have heard about sopranos, that might be a bridge too far.
Tend to agree, although the sound and fingering of a recorder can put kids off (it did for me all those years ago).

Funny thing on the sop/alto. I was able to blow a sop and sopranino over Christmas (thanks John!). Sopranino was an easy blow, as comfortable as a tenor, but the sop was harder. I'll bow to the experts, but I wonder if it's mouthpiece/reed or is the instrument inherently tricky?
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
I know that some younger woodwind player’s start on the Eb Clarinet because of its size and the teachers are always relieved when they are big enough to switch to a Bb Clarinet.

It’s worth considering a flute as well as the aforementioned recorder.

The Trevor James "Alphasax" mentioned by Chris might be worth a look as it is considerably lighter full sized Alto with the keys moved to fit the small hand. It would last him until at least the age of ten plus.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
There's also a C clarinet, which is quite a bit smaller than the Bb, and a lot of kids here start on one. Eb is rather painful, unless you have a good player.

The other issue is teeth, both for sax and clarinet. Until those adult front teeth are through, the recorder or flute are probably better bets - or even better a nice tin whstle.
 
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Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
There's also a C clarinet, which is quite a bit smaller than the Bb, and a lot of kids here start on one. Eb is rather painful, unless you have a good player.
I forgot about the C Clarinet! I agree an Eb Clarinet is much harder to play than a Bb but I've seen kids as young as five play it reasonably well - just no high notes or really low ones until they switch to the Bb around the age of nine / ten.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
The other issue is teeth, both for sax and clarinet. Until those adult front teeth are through, the recorder or flute are probably better bets - or even better a nice tin whstle.
Very good point about the teeth, Kev
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
The other issue is teeth, both for sax and clarinet. Until those adult front teeth are through, the recorder or flute are probably better bets - or even better a nice tin whstle.
Another thing that would worry me is: what happens if/when the instrument gets dropped (we are talking 5-year-olds here)? A recorder would be a lor safer/cheaper from that point of view.
 
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