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Discussion Starter #1
I've been playing Alto Saxophone for 3 years. And I've been thinking lately, should I switch to Tenor Saxophone?

I have advanced alot on the alto sax.

I can play the entire range of the Alto saxophone, from low B flat to high F with no problems.

I usually play my alto saxophone with a relaxed embouchure.

Should I switch to Tenor saxophone?
What should I expect when I move on to the Tenor Saxophone?
 

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Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
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Switch... No. Add... Maybe.
It makes no difference how 'advanced' you are on alto, If you can play the 'entire range', or how 'loose' your alto embouchure is.
The tenor is a completely different horn with a whole new set of challenges.
Can you afford to give up time on your alto to devote to a different horn?
This question is probably best left to your teacher. They can tell you if you have advanced far enough to lighten up on the alto practice.
 

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Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2012-2015
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You're the only one who should know. Which one excites you the most? When you think saxophone, which one comes to mind first? That should be your main horn. That doesn't mean you can't play the others, just that it's good to have a main horn.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You're the only one who should know. Which one excites you the most? When you think saxophone, which one comes to mind first? That should be your main horn. That doesn't mean you can't play the others, just that it's good to have a main horn.

My main horn is alto sax. So when I think of a saxophone, I sometimes think of an alto and sometimes I think about the tenor sax. I seem to like the tenor saxophone more because I seem to like the tenor sax more. The tenor seems more involved in Jazz than the alto saxophone.
 

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Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2012-2015
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For me it works like this. When I'm playing the tenor, I feel more relaxed, and I have more ideas. This shows that it's my natural choice. Interestingly, it's the third kind of sax I play on: I started on soprano, then stopped playing for about 10 years, then returned on the alto and only then picked the tenor (two years ago). It's like finally having found home :)
 

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Are you in 6th grade?
How are you in regards to other kids in your section. Are you the best one?
If you switch, you should do it because the sound of the horn appeals to you, but most importantly, YOU HAVE TO LIKE THE ROLE OF IT IN BAND.
You will be in the lower-mid range of the voicings now, and get much less lead melody action as well on tenor.
Although it takes a slightly different mind-set to play, I have never seen any good student player ever have difficulty switching. As a matter of fact, I would go so far as to say I often see huge stides forward when a kid switches, I think alot of people "hear" it better. Might be something with the range or timbre, but alot of players seem to thrive playing it.
The parts will be MUCH easier in band and most district/all-state bands (not a reason to play it though imo).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Are you in 6th grade?
How are you in regards to other kids in your section. Are you the best one?
If you switch, you should do it because the sound of the horn appeals to you, but most importantly, YOU HAVE TO LIKE THE ROLE OF IT IN BAND.
You will be in the lower-mid range of the voicings now, and get much less lead melody action as well on tenor.
Although it takes a slightly different mind-set to play, I have never seen any good student player ever have difficulty switching. As a matter of fact, I would go so far as to say I often see huge stides forward when a kid switches, I think alot of people "hear" it better. Might be something with the range or timbre, but alot of players seem to thrive playing it.
The parts will be MUCH easier in band and most district/all-state bands (not a reason to play it though imo).

Dude, I just entered 10th grade. I just finished freshman year...
My school lacks a music program!! Im hoping to make it to my music school's jazz band.
I take private lessons at some music school.
I started the saxophone in 7th grade, in a school band.

I would like to switch to the tenor, because I think it sounds more expressive and it is used more in jazz.
 

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Forum Contributor 2010-2016
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I suppose I could run a search on this, but I read a comment here on SOTW some time ago and it's one of the few that has stayed with me.

Perhaps I'm paraphrasing but the gist was "Parents buy altos, players buy tenors".
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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My main horn is alto sax. So when I think of a saxophone, I sometimes think of an alto and sometimes I think about the tenor sax. I seem to like the tenor saxophone more because I seem to like the tenor sax more. The tenor seems more involved in Jazz than the alto saxophone.
We'll just sort of ignore Charlie Parker for now....

I think you'd enjoy the bass sax -- or maybe a sopranino. Not a lot of players out there on those, you'd be unique in a secondary school setting.
 

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Dude, I just entered 10th grade. I just finished freshman year...
My school lacks a music program!! Im hoping to make it to my music school's jazz band.
I take private lessons at some music school.
I started the saxophone in 7th grade, in a school band.

I would like to switch to the tenor, because I think it sounds more expressive and it is used more in jazz.
Thats a great reason.
 

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Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2008-2017
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Ok... I did the opposite, when I was young. I did switch from tenor to alto. I find them to be equally expresive and used equally in jazz.

At some part of the process of learning the instrument, we all have the idea of trying the alto or the tenor or the baritone and, of course, the soprano. Playing both is, in my opinion, a very good advice, but expresiveness and more finding it in jazz, I believe, won't stand for long as long as you keep listening and discovering the world of such amazing players you can find in both horns.

If you like how the tenor sounds, go for it. Just keep in mind that the mouthpiece, the reed and even the lig has to do. Some tenors may sound not as you may want. Some altos may sound very, very expresive... Finding your voice is a process and hapiness is more of a journey than arriving somewhere, which of course, counts.

Very important is to keep practicing, and practicing, and practicing, and practicing, and do not mess to much with the setup so you can advance, and practice, and practice, and practice. So, the sound you have in your head, will come.

Bottom line, what I would do, play both and, those songs you find to like, play them. Play them on alto, and on tenor when you have it. You will be surprised of how the horns can adapt. Well, actually they don't, it is you who does, and find a way. That, somehow, is jazz... or even a bigger universe, music, art. :)

All the best,

JI
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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... and I was being a bit of a jerk. We all find our voice. For some it's alto, others tenor. A fewer still prefer baritone or sop. Once in great while you run across a Saxtek that seems to really like the oddball horns and can make them sing. For me, I like playing them all and prefer to not specialize on one in particular -- which works for me, but may not be the best approach if you're trying to make your living on it.
 
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