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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Through frequent listen Dark Side of the Moon and Tower of Power I decided that I wanted to learn how to play the saxophone. My friend is willing to sell me his old sax second hand and I have decided to buy it. I'm going to try to teach myself but I was just wondering if there are any fatal technique errors I would have to worry about making a habit without a instructor to help me with?

thank you,

Josh
 

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The possible technical problems resulting from being selftaught are many.
You might do fine, too. I would generally suggest a teacher, though.
 

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Get a teacher for a few lessons before you mess around with it too much. The early days are the most critical to preventing bad habits.

What sax are you buying?
 

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asdfasdfa1233423 said:
Through frequent listen Dark Side of the Moon and Tower of Power I decided that I wanted to learn how to play the saxophone. My friend is willing to sell me his old sax second hand and I have decided to buy it. I'm going to try to teach myself but I was just wondering if there are any fatal technique errors I would have to worry about making a habit without a instructor to help me with?

thank you,

Josh
Don't swallow your mouthpiece. That could be fatal.
 

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At first I just glanced at the title and thought this would be a witnessing experience.
 

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bluesaxgirl said:
At first I just glanced at the title and thought this would be a witnessing experience.
So did I:D

asdfasdfa1233423, browse through this forum and you'll find out all you need to know to get started. A teacher helps too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thank you everyone for your advise.

to Carl: Its a Yamaha Allegro Alto Saxophone, supposedly it has a blemish in the finish (something like that, I'm a guitar player, don't know what it's called on sax)

I'm getting it for $200 and I'm going to check it out tomorrow to make sure its not a complete piece of crap.

I can't get a more expensive one because I currently have exactly $200 (High School student)

thanks again guys.

Ps. Ill make sure not to swallow the mouthpiece :)
 

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The Seven Deadly Sins of Learning to Play the Sax Incorrectly

1. Using a poor embouchure---(see this link) http://www.brucepearsonmusic.com/article/SaxEmbouchure.htm
2. Not using the correct breathing---(see this link) http://www.petethomas.co.uk/saxophone-diaphragm.html
3. Playing with poor posture---sit on front half of chair, both feet on the floor, back straight, ribcage high, head erect bring saxophone to you, don't you go to the saxophone, adjust neckstrap so reed touches the curve right above the chin, then tilt the head down slightly to put the mouthpiece in the mouth
4. Learning to tongue incorrectly---(see this link) (this includes moving the jaw/chin when you tongue) http://www.saxontheweb.net/Learning/BeginnersCorner10.html
5. Moving the fingers too high off the keys---relax the hands and try to feel the buttons at all times
6. Blowing a puff of air on each note or taking too many breaths---try to play at least 4 measures on one breath as soon as you can
7. Not really listening as you play---try not to get so involved with the physical challenges of playing the sax that you don't really listen to yourself and to others if you are playing in an ensemble.

As others has posted previously, there is no substitute for a good teacher when you are first starting out especially to help with tone production and to develop good habits from the start. Good luck. If you don't get a teacher, you are going to need it.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
thank you for the advise everyone.

I think (unfortunately) I will have to pay a teacher. This could become challenging considering my lack of money at the moment.

To Carl Its a Yamaha Allegro Alto Sax. It has a blemish in the finish so I'm getting it for a steal! $200! (Im going to make sure it's not a piece of crap and to hear it first)

ill post a pic as soon as I can (if I buy it)

Thank you again

Josh

Ps. How much to saxophone lessons cost these days?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
quick question,

an alto sax is the main saxophone played in jazz/funk music?

(saw tower of power on friday and all I saw were tenors :( )

and is my sax that I'm getting any good and how much does a new one usually run for?

Ps. Tower of Power kicked butt (censors for the loss)!

oh yeah and sorry for the double post my computer wasn't showing a post so I redid it. . .
 

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I'm self taught and supposedly I have the best playing ability in the band. IMHO, I'm also the only one who can double properly. I didn't find anything wrong with my playing but you may have difficulty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
yeah, I'm a guitarist/pianist kinda guy. . .

I got my theory down pretty good (know all my modes, scales, chord progressions, diatonic harmony, Bach style of writing (useless), chords, etc.)

all I'm really worried about is that embouchure stuff (I tried to play my sisters flute and fail miserably)

I've never been good at that stuff :(
 

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I don't think that teaching yourself is quite the recipe for disaster that some would have you believe. Assuming you're good at that sort of thing (self-teaching). I taught myself to ski and snowboard, and am very good at it. Currently making great progress teaching myself to golf. So I spent the first year at the sax just teaching myself (when I did get a teacher, he commented that I played quite well for someone who's only been playing a year). I thought the "Absolute Beginners" book was pretty good, although if you're already a musician, you may find it basic. Larry Teal's book has a section on the proper embouchure, I think.

However, having a teacher will make the process of learning a little easier and faster. Mine has pointed out things to me that would have taken me a (very) long time to figure out on my own.
 

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asdfasdfa1233423 said:
quick question,

an alto sax is the main saxophone played in jazz/funk music?

(saw tower of power on friday and all I saw were tenors :( )
Alto will work ok for any style, and you can learn on it. But tenor fits the blues/R&B/funk style much better, imo. You can always switch to tenor the minute you can afford one.
 

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jbtsax said:
The Seven Deadly Sins of Learning to Play the Sax Incorrectly
3. Playing with poor posture---sit on front half of chair, both feet on the floor, back straight, ribcage high, head erect bring saxophone to you, don't you go to the saxophone, adjust neckstrap so reed touches the curve right above the chin, then tilt the head down slightly to put the mouthpiece in the mouth
I always play (including practicing) standing up.
Is that OK ?
 

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asdfasdfa1233423 said:
I was just wondering if there are any fatal technique errors I would have to worry about making a habit without a instructor to help me with?

thank you,

Josh
The bad habit of actually thinking that your horn and all of its parts and pieces have any effect whatsoever on how you sound. There are plenty of people on this forum that will tell you that your equipment doesn't matter. That you can get any sound you want and sound like anyone you want with a piece of garden hose, duct tape and a popsicle stick.

Also, blowing into the wrong end is a "fatal technique error."
 
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