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Learn To Play Saxophone

Learn to play saxophone. Welcome to the first step of your adventure in how to play the saxophone.

First things first. These may be saxophone lessons but they are not regimented. This is purely about getting you to play your first few notes on the saxophone

Take your time when you learn how to play the sax. It's not a race and there's no prizes for first one finished.

learn to play saxophone

How to play the saxophone - Beginnings

I hope, prior to, this you will have read the page on embouchre and hopefully the page on breathing. No? Well there's no surprise there then. I suggest you at least read the page on embouchre as it's crucial to making your first sounds

It will be pretty difficult to follow these saxophone lessons if you are not making any sound

How To Play The Saxophone - First Note

Starting right at the beginning of learning how to play the saxophone.

The first note we are going to learn is B.

B is written in musical notation as the image below shows. A blob on the middle of five lines.

learn to play saxophone

So how do we play it? Ok, sax at the ready, left hand at the top, right at the bottom.

Take the index finger of your left hand and place it on the second key down of the top row of keys as the image shows below

learn to play saxophone

Heres how it would look on a fingering chart.

learn to play saxophone
Warning. Some saxophones first keys do not look like the image. Instead of a pearl inlay key they might have a metal key that is teardrop shaped. Please ensure you are pressing the correct key.

Now all you have to do is form your embouchre around the mouthpiece, touch the tip of the reed with the tip of your tongue, put some pressure in your mouth, now remove the tip of your tongue from the reed and blow. Well that was remarkably easy wasn't it? No? No sound? Horrible squeak? Bit of a honk?

Well there is a bit more to learn to play saxophone than just picking it up and blowing

Congratulations and welcome to the world of how to play the saxophone.

All of the above are acceptable for your first attempt when you learn to play saxophone. We've all done it and some of us continue to do it.

How To Play The Saxophone. Corrections

If you got a honk you may want to adjust either your embouchre or the amount of air pressure you are blowing over the reed

If you got a squeak then check that the reed is set correctly on the mouthpiece or lower the air pressure again

If no sound came out we have options as follows.

  • Your embouchre is too soft. Apply more pressure to the reed.
  • Your embouchre is too hard. Less pressure please.
  • The reed isn't wet enough. Soak it.
  • The reed is too hard. Step down to a lesser reed. (If you are using a 1.5 see the first point)
  • Not enough air pressure. Blow harder.
  • Too much air pressure forcing the reed against the opening of the mouthpiece. Less air pressure.

Saxophone Lessons - Sound Making Options

Now you are probably thinking which of the above options do I choose in these saxophone lessons. Well, the point is, anyone can tell you how the make the sound but only you can make it. To learn to play saxophone takes a little bit of determination.

You now have to sit down for a while trying the different options until you get the desired sound.

How To Play The Sax - Other Sound Making Options

Here are some other options you may want to try if your journey into how to play the sax is not going as well as you'd hoped

  • Take more mouthpiece into your mouth.
  • Take less mouthpiece into your mouth.
  • Adjust the reed slightly upward so you have some overhang from the mouthpiece
  • Adjust the reed slightly downward so the lip of the mouthpiece is above the reed
  • Play around with ligature position. You can move it up or down slightly
  • Slacken off or tighten the ligature screws to adjust ligature pressure

Learn To Play Saxophone - Progression

To progress when you learn to play the saxophone you are going to have to try all of the above to determine what works best for you. Your set up is specific to you and no one else.

It's journey every saxophone player will make. Even the professionals are always looking for new options and set ups if they feel unhappy with their current sound. The difference with the pros though is that they will generally look to change the reed, ligature, mouthpiece, neck or the entire sax

To learn to play saxophone you need patience and a desire to resolve issues by learnig and investigation. Find a solution to your problem.
If you haven't managed a sound yet or have got a constant sound stick with it. It may take you 10 minutes, it may take you 10 hours but once you've got it, then you've got it and moving on is easy. Now follow the links to continue to learn to play saxophone.


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Famous Players

Listing some of the most famous players around.

Just who is the greatest? Is your favourite on there? If not let us know and we will add them

Sax Embouchre

Learn to play saxophone not going well? Failing to get a sound? Horrible squeaks when you play. Can't hit the highs or the lows?

Saxophone Embouchre

Take a look at our embouchre guide to see if it can help.

Sax Songs

Take some time out from your quest to play saxophone and have a listen to some of the more well known sax songs around.

Saxophone Songs

From smooth jazz to a little bit of scar there should be something to suit your taste.

Saxophone Scales

To continue to learn to play saxophone why not try some saxophone scales

Saxophone Songs

Taking the time to learn scales will improve your sound



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Sax CD's

Had enough of playing or your jaw just won't let you play anymore?

Saxophone CD's

Take a bit of time out choose a cd and listen to your favourite players

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