support Tutorials CDs PPT mouthpieces

Saxophones Soprano for Beginner

HayleyLB

Member
Messages
31
Locality
Devon
Hello,

Im totally new here but have been reading the odd post from time to time. So Hi to all

I am about to start learning how to play the soprano sax, i have never played a sax before and i have put it off for an age due to 'other peoples advice' lots of people have said only learn on an alto but few have said start with what you love (which is the soprano) ANYWAY.. my teacher (whom im yet to have a lesson with) advised i hire a sax from 'John Packer' and then if i want to continue playing after a few months etc i could purchase the instrument.

I have been reading a lot of reviews about sax and what is good, what is not and there is such different opinions on make and models im now hitting my head on brick walls.

So i though i would join and ask people on here myself.

Is hiring from John Packer a good idea?
Is then buying it a good idea?

If not is there anyone else i could hire from and who?
Should i even buy i keep hiring for a while until i can buy something really good?

Any help is much appreciated, i want to get off to a good start as when i learnt violin i did it all wrong.

Many thanks
H
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Messages
21,384
Locality
Just north of Munich
Hi Hayley. Welcome. Must admit I've never understood the don't start on sop mentality. I saw a 9 year old play one beautifully, and she'd only played sop. Jeanette, one of our mode also started on sop.

John Packer is a well known, well thought of supplier. Renting or buying is ok. A good option is buying second hand, you can get something that's like new for a big discount, but make sure you get it with a guarantee and that it's been checked over by a decent technician. Some of the budget sellers just ship boxes and often send out instruments that are unplayable.

One other thing with sopranos - make sure you have a decent mouthpiece and reeds. Makes life a lot easier. Afik the JPs come with a bari esprit, which should be Ok.
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
27,055
Locality
Cheshire UK
Welcome to the Cafe

First off play the sax you love. I started on soprano as did many others. :)

Nothing wrong with hiring from John Packer if you are not sure especially if they will knock the hire costs off a purchase.

If you can try as many saxophones as possible before committing to a hire or purchase so much the better as what suits one will not necessarily suit you.

You could buy a good make second hand and if it doesn't suit re sell for not much loss, but best if you can take someone experienced to check it over for you.

Lots more advice will follow, keep asking questions though don't rush it

Jx
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,950
Locality
Manchester, UK
On the whole I'd agree you should follow your heart, but just to put the other side of the story...

As I see it, the downside to starting on soprano is that you need a good ear to play it in tune. That's true for all saxophones (more so for saxes than flute or clarinet, say), but the smaller they get the more variable the pitch of each note becomes. This means that your tuning will only be as good as your ear. That's fine when you're playing own your own (if you can't hear the difference, it's not a problem) but it might make it more difficult to sound good in an ensemble or with a backing track. However, you say you've played violin before, and you need a good ear for that, too.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Café Supporter
Messages
6,087
Locality
Minster On Sea
I'm another who started on soprano (43 years ago). It doesn't seem to have done me any harm.
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,837
Locality
The Athens of The North
Hi Hayley, welcome to the cafe. Just go with the JP and you'll be fine. Have a lot of fun.

Jim.
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
Messages
12,172
Locality
Berkshire, UK
Get started with the rented JP and follow what Jeanette suggested......................enjoy
 

HayleyLB

Member
Messages
31
Locality
Devon
Thank you for all your replies, it feels me with the confidence to learn the sax i want to learn (thankfully my teach is all for me starting on the sax i want to play) And i shall pop up to John Packer and listen to some and hire from them.

Many thanks
H
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
Messages
12,172
Locality
Berkshire, UK
Thank you for all your replies, it feels me with the confidence to learn the sax i want to learn (thankfully my teach is all for me starting on the sax i want to play) And i shall pop up to John Packer and listen to some and hire from them.

Many thanks
H
Why not get some further advice from your teacher about which sop to purchase? If they will go with you even better. Obviously for rental purposes you should be given one that is fully serviced.
 

MacRaven

New Member
Messages
18
Locality
Leicester
I love the SOP, but like many I started with the Alto, because my teacher recommended that I get one, yes I booked a teacher before I bought my first Sax, loads of good advice. Let's not forget, that as hard as the SOP undoubtedly is, if you have a teacher willing to teach you, then you are ready to go.

There are many many hire deals on the Internet, all have a basic of rent the Sax, then buy with your rental payments knocked off the purchase price. Indecently you don't give your age, but if you are still at School, speak with your Music department about educational discounts. If the company DOSN'T drop the purchase price against rental payments find one that does, remember the Customer is King. My very first Sax came from a dealer in Norwich, but I ended up buying from a Shop in Oxford, I just didn't feel comfortable with the rental Sax. Ask your teacher about what make/model of Sax you should buy, and buy new if you can afford it. That way if it's turns out not for you, you should have plenty of interest when you come to sell it. Also don't listen to people who, have a downer on the notion of a Beginners' Sax's.

Finally don't poo-poo Clasical training, you'd be surprised to see just how many musicians have a Grade 8 in 1 or more instruments. One of the local tutors to me had 9 grade 8's including voice, and may well have more by now.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Messages
21,384
Locality
Just north of Munich
Let's get something straight. The sop is not hard. It's a myth made up by people who learnt to play sloppily on tenors and altos, then struggled because their technique was bad. Then, guess what... The instrument got blamed.
 

HayleyLB

Member
Messages
31
Locality
Devon
MacRaven, i am in fact 31 racing towards 22 ;) My teacher to be just suggested i go to Taunton and try a John Packer sax to hire. When i phoned JP they said that there is little point in me trying it unless i knew how to play :D

Seeing i know nothing right now im just going to hire for the min of 3 months for 66 quid and see how i go. Once i can get to play i will then try a few other sopranos before purchasing.

Im SOOOOO excited tho, but not able to start until school holidays due to my new instructor being a primary school teacher!

She actually doesnt have a soprano, she plays alto and clarinet, and can play the sop but just chooses not too. She has apparently taught an over 70 year old lady soprano and teaches children it all of the time.

She said that in her opinion it isnt hard to play, only harder to get good mouthing technique (not sure what this is called) and the tuning. She said give it a good hard couple months there is no reason why i shouldnt be making head way with it so long as i practice everyday to every other day!! Doesnt sound too bad to me seeing that it took me a far few months to get my squeaky violin to sound less like strangling cats.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
16,306
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
Good news. You're used to the sound of strangling cats. The sop can be very good at this in the right hands;)
 

MacRaven

New Member
Messages
18
Locality
Leicester
MacRaven, i am in fact 31 racing towards 22 ;) My teacher to be just suggested i go to Taunton and try a John Packer sax to hire. When i phoned JP they said that there is little point in me trying it unless i knew how to play :D

Seeing i know nothing right now im just going to hire for the min of 3 months for 66 quid and see how i go. Once i can get to play i will then try a few other sopranos before purchasing.

Im SOOOOO excited tho, but not able to start until school holidays due to my new instructor being a primary school teacher!

She actually doesnt have a soprano, she plays alto and clarinet, and can play the sop but just chooses not too. She has apparently taught an over 70 year old lady soprano and teaches children it all of the time.

She said that in her opinion it isnt hard to play, only harder to get good mouthing technique (not sure what this is called) and the tuning. She said give it a good hard couple months there is no reason why i shouldnt be making head way with it so long as i practice everyday to every other day!! Doesnt sound too bad to me seeing that it took me a far few months to get my squeaky violin to sound less like strangling cats.
Mouthing T, is called embouche you will learn automatically how to mouth and the mussels of your face will remember, as will your fingers when it comes to blowing the various notes.
What your teacher ment by practice every to every other day, was 4 to 6 hours a day!:cool:.
If you look at the greats in any instrument it is the volume of practise they put in. John Colltrain, apparently practised 20hours a day, apparently:confused:. The reality is that if you want to be good enough to perform then you need to become dedicated for a few years, of course you may end up a natural, to which all this is ill relevant
Whatever you do decide to do I wish you all the luck in the world. My step daughter is grade 8 flute, and for a few years was part of a small orchestra playing cruise liners (which incidentally is my ambition once I reach retirement age, free cruise and all that). She saw the world and had a great time. Finally decided to call it quits a few year later, and later still, practices 1 hour a day.
BTW, don't be afraid to call time on your teacher if you don't gell, or you don't feel that she is committed as you feel you need, and consider doing your grades, they will stand you in good stead as well as help with your learning of the Sax overall.
 

Rob Pealing

sax in a kayak (apprentice sax tamer)
Messages
1,125
Locality
Greenfield, Nova Scotia, Canada
Don't know where you live (though it appears to be in the SW) but thought I'd mention that I bought my alto at the music shop in Nailsea, near Weston super Mare and received excellent service.
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
Messages
12,172
Locality
Berkshire, UK
Not many people can afford to pracice 4 - 6 hours per day! Don't get disillusioned if you haven't got that amount of time! Just put in as much practice as you can. But more importantly enjoy yourself
 
Top Bottom