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Hey all. DavyRay sent me this way. Told me this was a great bunch to get advice from.

A little bit about me...

I am a theology grad student who played trumpet back in junior high and high school. I was pretty good. I was second trumpet in high school and our band participated in state Marching Band Competitions. I never really liked performing in front of groups. Music was always something very personal and internal for me that I liked doing for me. That and in band I never got to play baroque music that I really loved. I also never really felt like the trumpet was the instrument for me. When I started my music career in sixth grade my mother, knowing my love for old jazz records, went out and bought a used trumpet from a friend that she got for a song. It was cheap and so I was given the trumpet to play.

Before going to college I tapered off playing the trumpet altogether. I gained new interests. Met a woman who I eventually married. And my life was just getting started. My mom eventually informed me right after I got married that she had sold my trumpet to a friend of her's who's son was starting band.

Now to the present. I'm twenty-six years old. I have been talking for months about starting to play a new instrument. I have a little disposable income so my wife has been encouraging me to take up something. I'm not looking to be a virtuoso or the next Rampal or Dulfer. I simply wish to do this as a hobby and share this hobby with other like minded people. I've been looking at saxophones and flutes online. While I love the sax I've been gravitating towards the flute. I live in an apartment with very thin walls and I think I might have better access to more music.

That said....

a) What's the best route to go as far as taking this on by yourself? I realize my progress will be slow without lessons or group lessons, but are there any easy to use books to help people with elementary aspects - fingerings, etc.?

b) What instrument should I look at getting? Could I maybe take on one and then later down the road pick one up? What would be the best route?

c) Is this just a fool's errand on my part?

Thanks for your help.
 

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I know this a terrible question for this forum... but, I'll ask anyway. Why does it have to be a woodwind? Why not a stringed instrument or a keyboard? if you're not too particular about having a sax sound, is it necessary to learn to play sax?

However, I do recommend you learn either of those instruments as both can be rewarding!
 

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Hmm..thin walls. The sax is loud. Having never played flute, I'm not sure about it. However if you practice when the neighbors are at work/ at play/ awake then it shouldn't be too big of a deal as long as you talk to them about what you are thinking about doing ahead of time. To start off with, you might consider renting an instrument. If sax/flute turns out not to be your thing, you don't have a lot invested. Music stores usually can direct you to a teacher as well. You really should take at least a couple of lessons in order to learn how to "blow" properly and learn the basic fingering. There are plenty of beginner books available that have play along CD's that are also helpful in getting started. Good luck.
 

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In my experience, sax is easier to start on then flute. I recorded a (bad) cd 5 days after picking up a C-Melody sax for the first time in my life!

I tried one of my friends flutes once, I sat there for about a minute blowing on the silver mouthpiece and couldn't make a sound. She gave me her favorite personal gold mpc. (or head joint whatever it is on a flute ?) and after another 2 minutes I finally made a few sounds. The flute just feels awkward to hold to me...

Now recorders-- I can dig on those and jam them very well. You just blow and they work! Imagine that, thats how the sax felt for me... of course there is a lot more to the sax though than just making notes.... there is the big T, TONE.

My .02,
Danny
 

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I can't speak to the flute-I've blown in one a couple of times and didn't make a sound. If you are still considering a sax, I can speak to that as I taught myself to play over the last few years after picking one up for the first time at the age of 44.

My suggestions-

Get at least some initial lessons if you can, even to just learn the basics, as swood suggests above.
If that's not possible, the books I used are A New Tune a Day for Alto Sax, Essential Elements 2000 for Alto Sax, and Rubanks Method for Saxophone. Tipbook Saxophone, by Hugo Pinksterboer, is an excellent all around basic guide to saxophones. I read mine in one sitting, and it cuts through a lot of the "opinion" for folks who are brand new to the instrument. You can really understand the basics after reading this book.
Most folks learn on the alto, but you can learn on the tenor as well. Learning on the soprano is discouraged, as accurate tone production on it is challenging.
Again, as swood mentioned, renting one first is an excellent way to start. You won't have a lot invested, and that will give you time to decide what you want if you stick with it. Many stores won't rent unless you are in a recognized program, but you can talk to the manager and try. At the very least, go to a store and try an alto and a tenor to get a better idea which one you might want.
A good basic setup is a Yamaha YAS-23 alto with a Yamaha 4C mouthpiece and #2 reeds. This is pretty much the most recommended setup for beginners, and you can find used Yamaha 23's in good playable condition for reasonable prices ($300-400). Used tenors in good shape are a bit more expensive and not as easy to find. Take someone with you who knows saxophones if at all possible before you buy a used instrument though.
Check out the "beginner's corner' here on SOTW as well.
Practice regularly, daily if at all possible. 30 minutes every day is more productive than one 2.5 hour session per week.
Check out videos on YouTube of players who play well. Pay attention to how they breathe, and how they phrase their music on their horns.

Teaching yourself can definitely be done, and it is a wonderful journey.
 

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Look into the diatonic harmonica.
 
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