Playing Saxophone

Playing saxophone and the quest to learn to play saxophone is all about perserverence, practice and looking for ways to expand your knowledge. Lets move on and learn more on how to play the saxophone.

So, continuing our saxophone instruction you will by now, know how to play B, A, G.

Lets now learn some more notes.


New Notes

Now, whilst playing saxophone we are going to start using the right hand keys. The next note down on the scale and the first note we will play to incorporate the right hand is F.

Right Hand Index Finger Playing F

So with saxophone in hand depress B, A, and G all together with the left hand, place the index finger of your right hand on the top key of the main right hand keys, depress it and blow. Bad sound? Ok, try this. By slurring play a B, then an A, then a G and finally an F. Hopefully you will have now got a better sound on the F.

The reason you may have got a poor sound is because as you go down the scale playing saxophone the more supporting air the note will need. Support comes from your diaphragm. Thats the bit that makes your lungs breath in and out. You will need to learn how to use your diaphragm to control the amount of air you blow through the saxophone. For now we will just say that the lower the note the more air you will need to blow through the saxophone.

Right Hand Index and Middle Fingers Playing  E

The next note is E. This is played will all the fingers you need to play an F but you will also place your middle finger of the right hand on the second key down. Try it now.

As before, if you failed miserably (much as I did when I started) go back to B and go down the scale a note at a time. Don't forget the lower you go the more air you will have to blow through the saxophone.

If you are beginning to struggle try lessening your lip pressure on the reed. You can also try taking more mouthpiece into your mouth but not whilst you are playing saxophone. Adjust between sessions. Both of these things will allow the reed to vibrate more freely. Go up and down the scale a bit, do it whilst slurring and you will begin to get a better idea of how much more supporting air you will need to supply to an E as opposed to a B.

Right Hand Index, Middle and Ring Fingers Playing D

The final note for this session is D. Have you guessed how to pay it yet? That's right, all the fingers required to play an E plus your ring finger which is placed on the third key down. Give it a go now.

Hopefully I don't, by now, need to remind you about support or going up and down the scale. With the D you may have experienced a bit of vibration on your top teeth. No, it's not the most pleasant thing ever but you will get used to it with time. You may find your teeth will ache for a couple of days after a long practice session. It will pass. You may want to invest in some mouthpiece pads as these soften the vibration quite considerably. Be kind to your teeth!

So now you know how to use the main fingering keys (but not all the notes). If you want to take it further in this lesson I suggest you try pressing the octave key (the one you use with your left thumb) and see what happens to the notes.


Practice, practice, practice!

It would be good for you at this stage to sit and practice the notes you have just learned. Don't forget to say them in your head as you play them.

Try different things whilst playing. Tonguing, slurring, differing amounts of pressure on the reed, differing amounts of air support. Try going from a B to a D and see what happens. Was it good or bad? Think about what you could do to improve the sound, referring to what we've already discussed. Remember, just because we've learned the notes in a specific order it doesn't mean you have to play them in that order. Try making up a tune

Spend some time mixing the notes up and improving your ability to go from one note to the next and then we will continue to learn some more. Remember, playing saxophone is about practising playing saxophone and practising is what will improve you in your quest to learn how to play the saxophone. So keep going!

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Related Topics

Saxophone Mouthpiece Information
Saxophone Reed Information
Saxophone Ligature Information
Saxophone Embouchre Guide
Saxophone Fingering Charts
More Saxophone Fingering Charts
Saxophone Sound Effects


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