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Discussion Starter #1
I have never played a musical instrument before and cannot read music. But I have always wanted to learn to. After some really difficult experiences in my life I am about to start counselling and have been told to take up a hobby. I cannot think of anything else I would rather do than play the sax.

My question is...can anyone play the sax?
I would be renting a sax and taking lessons with a teacher but am wondering whether I am chasing an impossible dream. I do not expect to be anything like a wonderful musician but would just love to put a few notes together.

Any advice would be greatfully received and appreciated.
 

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Purplewitch said:
My question is...can anyone play the sax?
Barring any obvious physical disabilities, yes. Go go for it!
We're behind you so get yourself a sax, get yourself a teacher, and don't be a stranger around here.
 

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100% yes. If you have a lung or maybe two, a mouth and tongue, and at least a few fingers, you can play the sax. The advice, and as you mentioned in your post, of getting a teacher of sorts is very important. Otherwise, best of luck!
 

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If I can, starting from much the same level of incompetence and lack of knowledge, and at my advanced age, then anyone CAN..... if they have the motivation, the determination to stick at it, a reasonably good teacher, and realistic goals.

(I'm not saying that I can 'play', yet, but I'm better than I was when I started..last year. when people ask me if I play the sax, I reply "Well, I HAVE one!" :D )

Go for it and good luck! There's no lack of help to be had around here!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys! I really appreciate your fast response. I am really excited by your answers and the prospect of giving it a go. I'll keep you updated and I hope I won't be a stranger here, although reading the posts I struggle to understand the jargon but hopefully I will pick it up.

Thanks again
 

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Don't be overwhelmed at first :).

If your dream is to play the sax, then by all means go for it. All of us here have :D. It's easier than you think. After just a few classes, you'll be putting a few notes together indeed.
 

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Hi Carolyn welcome,

I too am a new comer to the sax, I have had mine for about 4 months now and it is great. I am 40 years old with no musical background at all, I will never be in a band, I will never reach the level of playing of most the players here, All I want to do is to be able to play well enough for my family not to leave the room when I walk in lol.

I put off getting one for years and years for a number of reasons, didn't have the money mostly but there was also the fear that I wouldn't follow through with it, you see I was unable to read music and I had and still have no timing at all, but hey I get my sax out most days and belt out a few notes and have learnt a few easy songs as well, and I have a great time doing it, it will be even better when I start my lessons in a couple of weeks.

There are lots of good web sites and free stuff giving heaps of help and information, this site is the best though, I find just reading all the posts new and old has helped me out heaps.

Here are a couple of sites and programs that has helped me.

http://www.saxlessons.com (This guy has done a lot of work heaps of info and help here, he has about 40 lessons where he plays each note with his sax)

http://www.petethomas.co.uk (Pete is a SOTW member, I also have his teaching sax cd for the alto.)

http://www.musicmasterworks.com/midi_video_game_sheet_music.html (This free program which is like a game has taught me to read the basic music notes, my kids play it and don't even know they are learning at the same time)

http://www.appx27.dsl.pipex.com/Saxtutor/homepage.htm ( this is also a helpful program it is free but if you pay $10 I think you get more out of it)

The only book I have at the moment is The Art OF Saxophone Playing by Larry Teal, most people will recommend this one to you.

Oh and I go to youtube and listen to heaps of everyday players, good and bad, its fun to listen to someone and your wife says, hey your not that bad listen to him lol, one player I like to listen to is crazydaisydoo he is a SOTW member and my aim is to play as well as he does.

There are heaps more sites that I just can't think of at the moment but a google search and asking some more questions here on SOTW will really help you out I am sure.

I think the best answer to your question is to just go try a sax and you will see, yes anyone can play a sax.

Go get one and let us know how it all went, good luck I am sure you can do it if you really want to.

cheers
Tony
 
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Sax, the other Brass !

Welcome aboard ! When it comes time to buy a sax, give the folks here at SOTW a heads up on the saxes you are interested in buying. You will get plenty of feedback on the good and bad of a variety of models. It may save you from buying a piece of junk, at the very least, it will probably save you a couple of bucks on the purchase.

One more thing to remember, go easy on yourself. Sometimes new players will get frustrated on their lack of progress. At times, you will improve in leaps and bounds, other times, not so much.:x Keep in mind,
everyone here has felt or is feeling the same things. If you have a question, or a rant, SOTW will serve you well.
 

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Purplewitch said:
Can anyone play the sax?
I will say this... compared to most other wind instruments, the fingerings for the saxophone are quite logical. There are certainly tougher instruments to tackle in that aspect. The hard part is making it sound... like a saxophone. Once you do that, the world is yours.
 

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Just remember the #1 formula of saxophone: person + saxophone = cooler person. Even if you can't play terribly well, it still makes you look cool when you hold it.

I started Saxophone wayyy back in 4th grade... the ancient year of 1995 or 1996. I had no musical experience, just a will to learn to make music, so I did. Don't worry about sounding like Coltrane or Charlie Parker until you've played as long and as dedicated as them. :p
 

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Purplewitch said:
I cannot think of anything else I would rather do than play the sax. .
Carolyn, reading this particular sentence, if you really mean it, then yes, you can definitely learn to play the sax. Go for it. Actually you'll learn a lot in a fairly short time, if you really want it. Then you'll experience frustration at some point. Don't let that stop you. It happens to everyone. Just keep going. All the best to you!
 

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Purplewitch said:
My question is...can anyone play the sax?
I started at 27 without any musical background. I'm 30 now, and I had three concerts this weekend.

Yes, anybody can play the sax :mrgreen:

One tip : practice, practice, practice and enjoy practicing (I play one to two hours every day). Good luck with it!
 

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go..for..it! im actually excited for you! i know that sounds odd, but the sax is such an important part of my life, i love to hear about people taking it up. i live in brighton, and there is a community sax ensemble called sax-shop. 90% of the guys and gals who play all started late (all ages go, from teens to people in their 60s) - every one of them have taken to it well so im sure you can.

as someone else said, have reasonable goals - dont get down if you cant play like the greats after a few weeks. it feels really good when you simply realise "i couldnt play this bit last week, now i can - woo hoo!" thats true even for pros.

best bit of advice my first teacher gave me was, "if you find you're getting frustrated - put it down and go and have a cuppa tea! - but then go back later!"

im new to this forum too, but i must say, keep it boomarked - its the best resource on the web in many ways.

most importantly - best of luck and GO FOR IT! :D

ps - i have no affiliation to them, but the guys at sax.co.uk are great - ive had all my saxes from them, and they have a very good hire system....

pps bit personal i know, but ive had problems with deprerssion etc - at the worst times, i grab my sax and dive in to some haevy study - it works as well as any pills ive ever had to pick me back up.

rambel ramble ramble.... ;)
 

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Hi Carolyn
I have only just started to play having wanted to for ages. I've only been learning for 6 weeks now and have had 4 lessons. I definitely recommend having the lessons as it does make a big difference. The sax that I brought was a Selmer Prelude AS700 alto sax which although it's a Chinese sax, I've found it to be really quite easy to play. It's quite smooth with the keys and it doesn't take long before you can run up and down a few scales. I know it's not one of the better saxes but it fitted my small budget and I've found it's a good starting sax.
You will find that it's very satisfying when the notes sound right although that doesn't happen all the time yet!! I'm still squeaking sometimes but getting better....
Good luck and I hope you enjoy it.
Sue991
 

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alexd said:
pps bit personal i know, but ive had problems with deprerssion etc - at the worst times, i grab my sax and dive in to some haevy study - it works as well as any pills ive ever had to pick me back up.
I second that!
I second that twice even :)
 

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wow i am overwhelmed by all your responses!

Thank you guys for such a big welcome to this forum. I now have the very hard decision of what sax to buy. Alexd - I am pleased to hear you say that sax.co.uk are good because thats who I was thinking of for exactly the reason of the rent to buy scheme. I just haven't got a clue which one to choose! :?

I think its a choice of a jupiter 565, sakkusu - saxophones.co.uk's own brand made by elkhart, a trevor james or a yas-275. Now I would like the yas-275 as have heard so many good things but don't know if i can afford it. Am trying to do the right thing and do my research. I'm smiling very sweetly hoping someone could point me in the right direction :)
 

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Hi Carolyn

You've found the right place for encouragement and advice. The folks here are great!! DO NOT GET FRUSTRATED IN THE BEGINNING and cut yourself a lot of slack!!!!!

I am 45 and started playing 7 months ago so I am still quite a novice. When I first started my playing sounded like someone stepping on a goose. It then progressed to sounding like ships pulling into harbor, but I have stuck with it and can now make notes that actually sound like a saxaphone.

I also do not read music very well. I understand the mechanics of reading notes, key signatures, beats per note. But to read it it, interprest it, finger it, set my emboucher, keep my throat open and blow from the diaphragm, keep time and put it all together and make music is still a little tough but it is improving. Heck I am impressed that anyone can put all that together and play but the fact of the matter is that anyone can play. Just give yourself some time and keep at it. It can be overwhelming at first but it does come in the end and when it does its a really great feeling.


I will offer one piece of advice and that is to start off with a decent mouthpiece and by that I don't necessarily mean an expensive one. I lost about 3 months in frustration trying to reach any note that required the octive key. Once I changed to a new Yamaha 5C mouthpiece and ligature I was able to play up and down the horn in about two or three minutes. I started a thread on this topic called advice to newbies - Start off with a decent mouthpiece. Take a look at it there is a lot of great advice from the folks here.

Good luck and welcome to a great and rewarding world!
I'll say it again though, give yourself a lot of slack and don't get frustrated. It will happen! Good luck and have fun!
 

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Carolyn,

Welcome aboard! You are going to have a great time!

Sax.co.uk also have a list of teachers, I got mine from there, and he is very good.

The best tip I can give, apart from all the stuff up above, is to listen to as much sax as you can, stick your favourites on your ipod/car cd player and listen over and over again.

Playing the sax is a bit like being an impressionist, if someones asked you to do a "Tony Blair" or (in your case) a "Margaret Thatcher" impression, you could probably have a go, but only because you hear their voices over and over again. Find a sax player you like, and get that sound in your head as you blow..... it will come... it takes time though! Eventually you will develop your own sound, but it does no harm to have an "ideal" tone in mind to start off with. Try singing along to the sax solos (but make sure no-one spots you at the traffic lights)

If you let us know what type of music you like, and I am sure we can suggest some good quality listening for you!

I dont think it matters too much which one of the horns you get, but if there are only a few pounds difference a month, I would go for the Yamaha. At least you wont have that nagging doubt in the back of your mind every time you squeak, chirrup, and play out of tune that it might be the horn....The mouthpiece choice is proably best left with your teacher after a few months, the Yamaha 4c is good enough to begin with.

Some jargon used here, and an explanation

MPC = Mouthpiece (that is the bit you blow through)
Lig = Ligature (the clamp that holds the reed to the mouthpiece)
Ergos = Ergonomics (the way the keys fit your hands/fingers)
Open = A More open tip mouthpiece (the gap between the reed and the mouthpiece is bigger)
Closed = A more closed tip mouthpiece (the gap between the reed and the mouthpiece is smaller)
Soft/Hard = used to describe reed strength, normally in numbers from 1.5 to 5
Doubling = People who play more than one type of horn or instrument
Intonation= The ability, or otherwise, of the instrument or player to play in tune with itself throughout the range of the instrument.
Vibrato Wobbling notes to add more feeling and expression
Tone 1)The sound quality of the note produced 2) A musical step from one note to another (whole tone or half tone)
Octave The same note played 8 notes higher, think doh-re-me -so-far la tee doh the second "doh" is an octave higher. The octave key on the back of a sax, raises the note an octave!


Hope this helps!
 
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