Learning the saxophone can be great fun but starting off and knowing what to get can be a difficult task, so i have written this blog to give some advice for people who are starting from scratch. First off you need to decide what type of saxophone you want to learn, I would recommend the alto sax for most people as it’s the most common, not too big and heavy like the tenor and more cost effective. The tenor sax (lower in sound and bigger and heavier than the alto) and soprano (higher in pitch but usually straight like a clarinet and technically a bit more fiddly to learn. They both cost quite a bit more for a student outfit than the alto. For a good student alto saxophone outfit (includes case, reeds, mouthpiece etc) you need to be looking to pay about £500, the better student/intermediate models are around £600 for the Jupiter and £899 for the Yamaha. Sometimes we have Pre-owned models in the shop that either someone has part exchanged or are ex-rental, they can start from as little as £150. I would be careful buying second hand online without looking at it as i have heard horror stories of people buying something cheap and needing to spend the same amount of money getting it fixed so it’s playable. We check every instrument and repair in store if it needs it and we also offer a three month warranty in case anything were to go wrong.
Ok so you’ve got your chosen instrument and are now looking to start learning it and play some tunes. You can teach yourself from a book, we sell some great tutor books that come with backing Cd’s that you can play along to, they cost about £9.99. This can be fun but some people can start doing things wrong and pick up bad habits, one way round this is to have some one on one lessons with a teacher, we have a list of great local teachers on this website. Lessons start from about £20 per hour but can be invaluable to get started on the right track. Within a few weeks you should be getting a clear note out of the sax and learning a few notes. You would have learnt the different parts and how to put it all together and how to fit the reed. One bit of advice would be to make sure you get a saxophone strap to support your neck, it makes life a lot easier and you don’t have to worry about dropping it! Padded straps are about £20 to buy and can be found in store or on this site.
I want to talk a little bit about the reed. The cane reed is used to blow in at the mouthpiece to produce the sound, it is essential and getting the right reed for a beginner is very important. They come in different strengths, when you start you want to make sure you play with a 1 or a 1 1/2 size reed which is a bit thinner and easier to get a note out, as you progress with the instrument you can get a 2 or a 3 which will take more puff and energy to play but will produce a warmer and richer sound. Basically if you’re starting to play with a size 3 reed you would find it very difficult to blow and get a note because you’re not used to it and this may put you off and make you think “maybe I just can’t play it” As long as you are playing on a decent sax with the right reed and are following the correct advice then anyone can learn how to play the sax and get a lot of enjoyment out of it. Music should be fun so find a teacher you get on with and who inspires you, learn what you want to learn, be it for exams or pieces of music you like, and try to relax, this is important with sax so you get the right posture and position when you’re playing! If you have a question then you are always more than welcome to call or e-mail the shop and we will do our best to help you on your musical journey. Good luck!