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Is it wise/doable to learn and practise both tenor and alto when you are a hobby musician? Both instruments have charm. I have most experience on alto.
 

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Is it wise/doable to learn and practise both tenor and alto when you are a hobby musician? Both instruments have charm. I have most experience on alto.
No reason not to try both - just realize that you need to treat them each as a separate instrument, and find the reed/mouthpiece combination that suits each horn best for you.

In time, you will likely favor one, and that's alright too. Tenor - It's all that matters.

Listen to the sounds in your head that guide you to find the horn that best represents your voice. Enjoy the path.
 

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It's your hobby, do what you want!

But the "wisdom" of it depends on your objectives and history - how does "doubling" fit in with what you want to achieve right now, given where you came from and are?
 

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Is it wise/doable to learn and practise both tenor and alto when you are a hobby musician? Both instruments have charm. I have most experience on alto.
Learning and practicing are different, though related, things. Once you have achieved a decent playing foundation on both horns, then yes, it's certainly possible to divide your practice time so that you'll continue to enjoy both instruments, and to make progress on them. Many amateur musicians here play multiple instruments.

As for "learning," if you are starting from scratch, then I recommend playing one horn exclusively for at least a year or so before starting on the second horn. (I'd actually suggest more than a year, but I recognize that adult beginners are often impatient.) I think it's better to develop one stable or semi-stable embouchure first, then adjust to a mouthpiece of a different size, than to be going back and forth between two different sizes as a novice.
 

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Despite the fact that some people make a point to advise against this I did it and don’t see any reason not to.
 

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In time, you will likely favor one, and that's alright too. Tenor - It's all that matters.
Love the subliminal message (which disappeared in the quote) Dr G!! :) ...and I agree, as you well know.

+1 to what LostConn says in the post above. I wouldn't start out switching back & forth; best to spend time on one horn while first learning.

p.s. And of course milandro makes a good point too. We're all different and what works best for some won't apply to all; --my statement of wisdom for the day.
 

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Is it wise/doable to learn and practise both tenor and alto when you are a hobby musician? Both instruments have charm. I have most experience on alto.
+1 to LostConn.

How much is "most experience on alto"? Five years, five days???

If you already have a solid foundation on one instrument, then you are only learning the differences between two horns. If you don't have a solid foundation SOMEWHERE, then you will likely have fits trying to sort out why neither instrument is working well (because the differences are in YOU when you switch).

Differences between the two horns include perceived resistance, air stream, and embouchure. Some people find that their innate sense of pitch works better on one horn (Eb vs Bb) than another. Tenor is my native tongue.
 

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It's your hobby, do what you want!

But the "wisdom" of it depends on your objectives and history - how does "doubling" fit in with what you want to achieve right now, given where you came from and are?
My sentiments exactly. That's the great thing about being a "hobbyist": you get to do whatever you want! But it's still good to have some overall goals in mind.

If your goal is just to play at home, for your own pleasure, then you might as well just pick up whatever horn you feel like playing that day.

If your goal involves eventually playing with others and performing a certain style, you might find that you would progress more quickly on one horn or the other.

Me, I'm a tenor player, a "serious amateur" but a hobbyist nonetheless, and I keep wanting to "double" on bari, because I love playing in big bands, and they all need baris. Wish they weren't so danged expensive ...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
No reason not to try both - just realize that you need to treat them each as a separate instrument, and find the reed/mouthpiece combination that suits each horn best for you.

In time, you will likely favor one, and that's alright too. Tenor - It's all that matters.

Listen to the sounds in your head that guide you to find the horn that best represents your voice. Enjoy the path.
Thanks for the reply, Dr G. By saying "you need to treat them each as a separate instrument", do you mean that one should not play the alto the same "way" as the tenor? I.e. you need to find a voice on the tenor and voice on the alto, and since you play on two different types of saxes, they way you do it in each case is different? Afterwards you stay with the sax that best represents "your voice".
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It's your hobby, do what you want!

But the "wisdom" of it depends on your objectives and history - how does "doubling" fit in with what you want to achieve right now, given where you came from and are?
Thanks for the reply, lesacks. Yes, it depends on my objectives and history. My primary goal is having fun, and my secondary goal is to join som band. I did not think of doubling my efforts on playing sax, rather playing one day alto and the other day tenor.
 

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Thanks for the reply, Dr G. By saying "you need to treat them each as a separate instrument", do you mean that one should not play the alto the same "way" as the tenor? I.e. you need to find a voice on the tenor and voice on the alto, and since you play on two different types of saxes, they way you do it in each case is different? Afterwards you stay with the sax that best represents "your voice".
Yes, that is exactly what I was trying to say. Some people will try to match their sounds between alto and tenor. I enjoy playing various instruments for their differences - they often take me to different places (different colors of expression), if I let them.

Whether you stay with one to the exclusion of the other is up to you. My preferred "double/other" is the alto flute. Then soprano sax, C flute, clarinet, and alto sax - in that order.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Learning and practicing are different, though related, things. Once you have achieved a decent playing foundation on both horns, then yes, it's certainly possible to divide your practice time so that you'll continue to enjoy both instruments, and to make progress on them. Many amateur musicians here play multiple instruments.

As for "learning," if you are starting from scratch, then I recommend playing one horn exclusively for at least a year or so before starting on the second horn. (I'd actually suggest more than a year, but I recognize that adult beginners are often impatient.) I think it's better to develop one stable or semi-stable embouchure first, then adjust to a mouthpiece of a different size, than to be going back and forth between two different sizes as a novice.
Thanks for the reply, LostConn. That sounds like very good advice. I did play sax for 10 years, but then I stopped playing for many years. Now I am playing again and regret that I stopped.
 

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I started as long time alto player, bought a bari when I had a chance to get a seat in a big band, wound up now spending most of my time on Tenor. I carry alto & tenor to my gigs (3-4 times a week) but most of the time the tunes fall into a better range on tenor & most of the time it's a better key for the tenor.

I love playing both alto, especially in practice sessions. If I get a little bored/distracted/apathetic, it somehow feels like the changing of horns brings my attention back to the practice seat.... for a few minutes... then I grab the flute... should probably buy a tuba as well.
 

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Despite the fact that some people make a point to advise against this I did it and don’t see any reason not to.
Thanks for the reply, milandro. How did you do it? One day alto and then another tenor? Or did you double up the play-time?
 

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I would add soprano and baritone. Especially baritone.
Exactly, and the one thing that always falls through the cracks is that often you learn more by switching than by sticking to one instrument, simply because you need to figure out alternative ways and then you realize that they also apply to your other horns. Even going between vintage and modern horns will give you that bonus.

And like Dr. G said, you may think of them as "saxophones" but in reality they are altos and tenors and baritones and they all have different souls and fit into different music categories. There are areas of overlap but don't try to take an 18 wheeler to a go-cart track and vice versa.
 

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Thanks for the reply, milandro. How did you do it? One day alto and then another tenor? Or did you double up the play-time?
I did exactly the same, and don't try to force things, just stick with what you feel like doing and eventually the other one will come knocking on your door and remind you that you neglected it. And then there are certain songs/tunes, that lend themselves to alto or tenor but will cause spasms in your fingers when you try the "wrong" horn. So, let music be your guide and eventually you will figure it all out without forcing yourself into frustration.
 

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If you do switch horns for a particular song, do it because the voice sounds better on that tune, rather than because it is easier - else you'll always be second guessing which horn to play. I've seen some people that even change mouthpieces in the middle of a set... Be aware of when (and why) you reach for a crutch.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
My sentiments exactly. That's the great thing about being a "hobbyist": you get to do whatever you want! But it's still good to have some overall goals in mind.

If your goal is just to play at home, for your own pleasure, then you might as well just pick up whatever horn you feel like playing that day.

If your goal involves eventually playing with others and performing a certain style, you might find that you would progress more quickly on one horn or the other.

Me, I'm a tenor player, a "serious amateur" but a hobbyist nonetheless, and I keep wanting to "double" on bari, because I love playing in big bands, and they all need baris. Wish they weren't so danged expensive ...
Thanks for the reply, MLucky. Both goals listed are in fact my goals! Yes, I would likely progress faster when playing one horn, so that I may reach the band goal faster. Perhaps I must find out which goal is most important, or perhaps just play the tenor a little less than the alto.
 
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