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Discussion Starter #1
My daughter is 7 and I think it is about time to start her playing sax. I play alto and I figured I would start her on that but the horn is still a little heavy for her. I have had two suggestions as to how to start her off , the first being to start her on soprano as it is smaller for her to hold. The down side it I don't own a soprano and would have to get a cheap one to start her off ( I can always play it later on when she moves to Alto..... The second suggestion is to start her on a recorder so she can get used to blowing into an instrument. She already plays piano so she can read music. I have never touched a recorder but how hard can it be to pick up an teach the basics on.

Does anyone else have experience on starting off a 7 year old on playing sax?

oh... and she is missing one of her front teeth so we might wait till the new one grows in.
 

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Hi SpaceGuppy,
And welcome to the forum.
I teach children who begin sax at age 6.They start with soprano and first 2years the focus is that they lear tones by ear,then we move to read music and at the age of 10-12 they often change from soprano to altosax.
My opinion is that alto is way too heavy intrument for a 6-9year old kid and they get tired while practising.
A curved soprano is very good to begin with.
And yes,they will loose teeths but it often is OK to play eaven when missing teeths or if it feels uncomfortable,take a break.
The most important is that it´s FUN!
We grown ups often forget the fact that music is great fun and it becomes more or less stress instead of simply fun :)
Good luck!
 

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Why not start her off on flute, or recorder rather than saxophone? Or continue on Piano? I mean.....seems sorta stupid to go buy a soprano for her to learn on. She'd probably be better on saxophone if she had an excellent foundation on piano. At least kids that I have taught who took years of piano before starting another instrument did.
 

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If you're going to start her on sax, I agree with Don and get a curved soprano. Recorders are good too. They are similar fingerings to sax.
 

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Forget a soprano, as it's a difficult beast to tame even when you know what you're doing with a horn and you don't want to frustrate her so early on. I'd go with a recorder. As it's been said, the fingerings are similar, it's incredibly lightweight and requires little to no maintenance. It's what I got started with in 3rd grade before taking on the sax the next year.
 

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I started on recorder, the transition to sax wasn't too bad, even the resistance is not too terribly different, if I remember correctly. I agree totally with Grumps, I'm having a hard time with soprano, and I've been at this saxophone thing for almost a decade now, it'd be a hard way to start out.
 

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I couldn't help but pick up on the line in the OP's post, "I think its about time to start her playing sax". The question in my mind is what does she want to do? Having a good foundation on piano is excellent---especially if she has a teacher who insists upon rhythmic accuracy and emphasizes reading new pieces rather than working the same ones to death until they've become learned by rote.

In my situation, we started students on band instruments in the 6th grade which would be between the ages of 10 and 11. Virtually all children are developmentally ready at this age and have both the large and small muscle coordination required to play a band instrument. In my opinion focusing on the piano for at least two more years would be an excellent idea before beginning instruction on a standard woodwind. There would be no harm in learning the recorder along with the piano, but it should not replace the piano study.

There is some positive transfer that takes place going from the recorder to the modern woodwinds such as finger patterns and holding position. Be sure she learns to begin the tones with "tu" "tu" "tu" rather than "hoo" "hoo" "hoo" to develop the concept of beginning the tone with the tongue and playing several notes on one breath instead of a puff for each note.
 

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Without wishing to be patronising, OP, but I think jbtsax is 100% correct in emphasising the importance of not pushing your daughter towards the sax unless she has a strong inclination towards it. Assuming she has, i'd let her have a go on your alto with it supported on a chair or step or similar. I seem to remember that's how Candy Dulfer started, playing her dad's sax. That'll make it clear if her hands can do the stretches or not. That's pretty similar on alto and soprano. The whole thing depends a lot on how motivated she is to start on this now (i think). If it's not something she's absolutely set her heart on then the recorder would be a good way to point her in the direction of saxophone without too much pressure or expectation. IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the feedback. Let me address some of the questions that some of you posed.
First, my daughter seeing me playing sax and practicing daily came to me and asked if I would teach her. I would also like to teach her sax instead of any other instrument as that is what I play and I can teach her and help her along better than I could if she played say Tuba. She can play as long as she is having fun, I give no pressure on her but I will encourage her and make it an activity that we will do together. My daughter over the years has asked me to teach her things or asked why and how things work, I learned a few years ago that instead of a fast answer to satisfy her question it was better to teach her by doing. Because of this she has learned quite a few skills that most 7 years olds don't have like being able to cook, use basic tools. Of course she does these things under her dads watchful eye as to not hurt herself. She enjoys playing piano, and is going to continue to do so even after we start sax ( or maybe recorder lessons for now ). Sometimes it hard to get her to practice her piano but that true about anything for a 7 year old that is work. Sometimes she is happy just playing simple tunes that she know instead of she scales or lesson book and sometimes that has to be enough. Her school will start kids on band instruments in the fourth grade, which is about a year and a half away. I would like her to be in the band as some of the best experiences I had growing up came from being in the band and I was in with some wonderful kids. Who knows, she may reject sax and want to play soccer, in which case I will try to teach her that as best I can. I think it is nice that I can pass on the things that I know well, somethings will take and other she will pass on but I try to give her the opportunity to learn as many things as she can handle and is interested in trying. There things that she has already passed on , I have studied martial arts most of my life, and at the moment she is uninterested and tells me that she doesn't want to study, so it stopped there. Maybe later on she will be interested and she can always come to me and we can try again.

I look forward to the day that we can sit down and play some simple recorder duets together. Maybe it will lead to us playing some Bugs Bower Bop Duets in a few years. Either way success of failure its time I will get to spend with her letting her explore something new. ( and if she isn't interested I have a second chance with my son who is two who is already sitting at the piano experimenting with what it can do ! )

It sounds like the best starting point will be the recorders. I can get two and we can play together. ( Hmmmmm... how will Jamey Aebersold play along jazz sounds on a recorder? ). Sometime before band starts in fourth grade I will get her an Alto if it goes that far. In the mean time I will let her try the Dulfer method and sit in a chair and try my horn.

Thanks for all the good advice.
 

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I steered my son towards saxophone many years ago and I regret doing so. My son isn't me, and I believe I tended to cast a big shadow in this regard; making it more difficult for us to actually play music together. The best jams we ever had together had me on keys or him on drums, and at least I realized this in time so as not to sour him on playing music altogether.
 

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I steered my son towards saxophone many years ago and I regret doing so. My son isn't me, and I believe I tended to cast a big shadow in this regard; making it more difficult for us to actually play music together. The best jams we ever had together had me on keys or him on drums, and at least I realized this in time so as not to sour him on playing music altogether.
That's an interesting take. I would absolutely love either or both of my children to be into music. I have this fantasy idea that one will play bass and one drums and we can play as a trio. I'm sure you're right that it's a wiser course to let children get into what they want to get into. As a rule.

Having said that.. :mrgreen: I'm still going ahead with my Mike Agassi/Richard Williams style plan to train them as tennis professionals as soon as they're able to run and catch. Hey, I need some kind of pension plan , don't I?
 

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Having said that.. :mrgreen: I'm still going ahead with my Mike Agassi/Richard Williams style plan to train them as tennis professionals as soon as they're able to run and catch. Hey, I need some kind of pension plan , don't I?
Oh, I'm with you there, but it's the NFL draft where I hope to find my pension plan. I mean, hey... a guy can dream, can't he?
 

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I think you would be miles ahead starting your daughter on the recorder instead of one of the most complicated instruments in the band. Skipping to saxophone at this age may be putting a hurdle in her path to progress.
 
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