Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
84 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Yo

so I recently bought my first horn - a Martin Magna Tenor. I've had it overhauled and repadded so it's in top playing condition.

Now I've gotta learn to play the thing. So far I've learnt to play the C Major scale and that's it. I already play guitar, bass drums and keys so I've got some knowledge of music theory. I'm wondering what should I go about learning first? Would appreciate if people could point me in the direction of some cheap / free resources that they found or think will be helpful as well as giving me a rough idea of what order I should learn things in (obviously theres a load of ways to go about things).

Cheers

View attachment 230162
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
What style do you want to play? Scales in all keys: major, minor, diminished etc. Etudes, learning music and solos you like by ear off recordings I.e. transcribing is good once you get it under your fingers.
I got back into sax after several years off and my friend who is a great sax teacher recommended practicing happy birthday in all keys by ear which helped me kick off towards leaning EVERYTHING by ear in all keys which becomes a lifelong journey. The upside is you should find your ability to express yourself improve at a good rate. Just my $.02
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,814 Posts
Strongly recommend you get a teacher for the basics of embouchure, breath support, finger technique. You are a musician, maybe someone you know can point you in the right directions.

What approach did you follow with guitar, bass, drums and keyboard? Follow those same steps on saxophone! Learn your scales, chords (arpeggios), transcribe music you like, the whole nine yards. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
960 Posts
Strongly recommend you get a teacher for the basics of embouchure, breath support, finger technique.
Totally right, you need to avoid any bad habits since the first day, and for that you need good teacher. Good habits will save you time and let you get good results faster.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
84 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
What style do you want to play? Scales in all keys: major, minor, diminished etc. Etudes, learning music and solos you like by ear off recordings I.e. transcribing is good once you get it under your fingers.
I got back into sax after several years off and my friend who is a great sax teacher recommended practicing happy birthday in all keys by ear which helped me kick off towards leaning EVERYTHING by ear in all keys which becomes a lifelong journey. The upside is you should find your ability to express yourself improve at a good rate. Just my $.02
I'm looking to play jazz really, not really bebop (although probably good to learn some things) but the more modal, free kinda stuff. My favorite two players are Pharoah and Trane, obviously two of the best players in history so a hard target to set for for myself. Yeah, I get what you're saying about learning by ear, guitars my main instrument and I'm completely self taught and rely totally on ear. I often get someone to play a chord or note on piano and then trying to identify exactly what is in order to develop my ear / perfect pitch. I think it's just going to be a case of forcing myself to remember all the fingerings of all the notes and scales.

Also, what things did you find when learning most improved your tone and dynamics?

Cheers for the reply.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
84 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Strongly recommend you get a teacher for the basics of embouchure, breath support, finger technique. You are a musician, maybe someone you know can point you in the right directions.

What approach did you follow with guitar, bass, drums and keyboard? Follow those same steps on saxophone! Learn your scales, chords (arpeggios), transcribe music you like, the whole nine yards. Good luck!
Yeah I think when I get some more $$$ I'll get some lessons. I know a guy who plays professionally and I think he teaches so I'll ask him to show me some stuff at some point. I'm totally self taught on all the instruments I play, I've always got by just watching and listening, I feel its gonna be a little harder on the sax but the minute I can remember where my notes are I'll be alright. Just a steep learning curve to there.

Cheers
 

·
SOTW Columnist and Forum Contributor 2015-2016
Joined
·
3,832 Posts
Get yourself a teacher. You will only develop bad habits if you teach yourself, and those can cause years to break. Not to mention possible nerve damage in your lip if you bite and such.

- Saxaholic
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2010
Joined
·
3,310 Posts
Another vote for some lessons sooner rather than later to avoid grooving bad habits for embouchure and tone production that will hold you back.

A teacher will likely have you doing long tones to start with, which will help with tone and dynamics.

Good luck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
84 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Get yourself a teacher. You will only develop bad habits if you teach yourself, and those can cause years to break. Not to mention possible nerve damage in your lip if you bite and such.

- Saxaholic
Yeah I think thats what I'm going to do. Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
84 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Another vote for some lessons sooner rather than later to avoid grooving bad habits for embouchure and tone production that will hold you back.

A teacher will likely have you doing long tones to start with, which will help with tone and dynamics.

Good luck
Yeah I'm gonna ask my friend if he teaches, gonna have to sell some gear to fund the lessons though...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,017 Posts
All of the instruments you have taught yourself to play have one thing in common---the tone is determined and produced by the instrument. On the saxophone, given a proper reed and mouthpiece, the tone production is entirely done by you. For this reason I would encourage you to spend most of your time at the beginning working on tone production. The technical mastery will come in time on its own In my view it is better to play a single scale up and down with a beautiful tone than to play a hundred fast notes with a shoddy sound. An added benefit is the more you like how you sound, the more you are going to want to practice.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2010
Joined
·
3,310 Posts
Yeah I'm gonna ask my friend if he teaches, gonna have to sell some gear to fund the lessons though...
Just remember, if money is tight you dont have to be on the hook to pay for lessons for months and months, (unless you want to), this is simply the best and safest way to get you over that first hump without starting off with bad habits.

Ongoing lessons wont hurt of course, but if its a choice between lessons and other more pressing things like food and shelter there is lots you can do yourself once you have the basics established!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
84 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
All of the instruments you have taught yourself to play have one thing in common---the tone is determined and produced by the instrument. On the saxophone, given a proper reed and mouthpiece, the tone production is entirely done by you. For this reason I would encourage you to spend most of your time at the beginning working on tone production. The technical mastery will come in time on its own In my view it is better to play a single scale up and down with a beautiful tone than to play a hundred fast notes with a shoddy sound. An added benefit is the more you like how you sound, the more you are going to want to practice.
My dad has bought me up to have that attitude, he's a self taught guitarist as well. Feel and tone > Speed and technique. Obviously there's a point somewhere between the two that's the target. Thanks man, ill bare it in mind next time I'm practicing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
84 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Just remember, if money is tight you dont have to be on the hook to pay for lessons for months and months, (unless you want to), this is simply the best and safest way to get you over that first hump without starting off with bad habits.

Ongoing lessons wont hurt of course, but if its a choice between lessons and other more pressing things like food and shelter there is lots you can do yourself once you have the basics established!
Appreciate it man. Gonna get a few lessons and see how I get on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
525 Posts
+1 on the tone production thing. https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=how+to+make+a+saxophone+embouchure; google how to properly breathe (really). Then play some long tones, just hold the same note, with a mirror on your music stand. Watch your embouchure. Do embouchure exercises by holding a pencil by the eraser tip, making it stand out from your face with your embouchure. Try to avoid bunching your chin.

Then, assuming that you are learning the names of the notes, where they sit on the staff, and what corresponding key combination that indicates, play some scales. Think of your keys as being levers. The further out toward the end of the lever your fingers are, the easier the keys are to depress. Have a slight to moderate curl to your fingers. Don't slap the keys/levers down, just depress them. When you release them, don't let your fingers fly all over the place -- just allow the lever to raise itself with your fingers still touching it. (When you progress on to technical studies, having quiet hands will be a habit you'll be glad you have.) Start with a few major scales, a few minor scales, but sooner or later you'll need all of them, plus many other types -- but that can happen over time.

Then start to figure out by ear some melodies that you like. Try to imitate some singers with your saxophone, you'll figure out what you need to do to phrase things. Maybe you'll recognize some elements of scales in the melodies, that's a good thing. Have fun! It's not always a jolly time, but in the end if it isn't fun, then screw that, right?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,749 Posts
Just remember, if money is tight you dont have to be on the hook to pay for lessons for months and months, (unless you want to), this is simply the best and safest way to get you over that first hump without starting off with bad habits.

Ossons wont hurt of course, but if its a choice between lessons and other more pressing things like food and shelter there is lots you can do yourself once you have the basics established!
I was going to say about the same thing. You don't have to sign up for a year's worth of lessons. Take 6 lessons to get you started. That will be plenty enough to get an idea about embouchure (no biting, correct angle of mouthpiece to your lips, how much mouthpiece to take in, etc. etc. ) correct fingering and maybe even some of the alternate fingerings. You already know music basics so you don't need to go thru all that again. Just stuff that's particular to the saxophone. Like the guys above said, your tone comes from you, not from a hammer inside a piano striking a string so work on that. I wish taken lessons right away when I got my sax. I thought that after having played clarinet for years it would be a snap to learn sax. Not so much. Very different instruments.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,321 Posts
Problem for adult beginners is that most of the books written for adults are too advanced. And the often recommended method books are typically 100 years old and 300 pages of black notes. Great for building your chops later, but quite overwhelming when you're just learning the basics.

I've learned several wind instruments on my own. I've found that the same beginning band books that worked when I was a kid still work well for me as an adult. They're well thought out and introduce one note/fingering at a time at a good pace and introduce simple, familiar melodies as you go. It's a fun and effortless way to learn most of the basic fingerings and acquire some basic reading skills.

But I agree you don't want to start off on the wrong foot embouchure and technique wise and need at least some one-on-one with a real teacher or experienced player early on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
84 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Problem for adult beginners is that most of the books written for adults are too advanced. And the often recommended method books are typically 100 years old and 300 pages of black notes. Great for building your chops later, but quite overwhelming when you're just learning the basics.

I've learned several wind instruments on my own. I've found that the same beginning band books that worked when I was a kid still work well for me as an adult. They're well thought out and introduce one note/fingering at a time at a good pace and introduce simple, familiar melodies as you go. It's a fun and effortless way to learn most of the basic fingerings and acquire some basic reading skills.

But I agree you don't want to start off on the wrong foot embouchure and technique wise and need at least some one-on-one with a real teacher or experienced player early on.
Yeah I think I need to find an online course or book I like as well as getting some lessons in person. What book did you read when a beginner? I'm only 18 so I've got plenty of time to learn over, I'm going to text the guy I know in a minute to see if he'll give me some lessons.

Cheers everyone for the replies, appreciate it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,321 Posts
Yeah I think I need to find an online course or book I like as well as getting some lessons in person. What book did you read when a beginner? I'm only 18 so I've got plenty of time to learn over, I'm going to text the guy I know in a minute to see if he'll give me some lessons.
Then I'm much, much older than you. I learned sax in band class as a kid in the mid-70's from an actual music teacher. I think the books we used back then were titled "Band Today". They probably don't exist anymore. But current ones are probably about the same in terms of approach and content. When I later picked up flute and clarinet many years later as an adult, the parents of the kids who had given up the instruments included their kid's band books as well which turned out to be all I needed to learn those instruments.

Keep in mind, the internet did not exist when I was learning. But the free online stuff I found for other instruments later in my adult years wasn't as helpful as those simple books mainly because they lacked the step by step structure. Yes, they're written for children, so you my feel silly using them. But they get the job done. Since I already knew the sax and how to read music, I made it through an academic year's worth of kids band books in a matter of days.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
2,354 Posts
Books don't teach you a good sound on your tenor. and that is the first thing people hear.. note choices ...oh well , your ear will help you along for the time being. So listen. A lot . To all tenor players. Find out what kind of sound you like the most. Imitate that sound on long notes. As for books, the Greg Fishman jazz phrasing series vol 1. Is great, not too hard. It comes with a cd recording of each etude. The etudes are based on common jazz progressions. Listening closely to all the nuances in articulation will teach you really an awful lot.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top