Challenges in Learning the Saxophone and How to Overcome It

Published: 10th August 2009
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A saxophone or "sax" is a musical instrument which is commonly used in playing jazz, classical and reggae music. Learning how to play the saxophone may be a bit difficult because of the complications on the part of the instrument itself and in the techniques that is used on how to properly play the sax.

The difficulties that may be encountered especially for someone new to playing this instrument are:


Knowing the proper way to assemble the saxophone. Assembling the sax may be a bit difficult for someone new to the instrument.

Parts of the saxophone are the main body, the neck the mouth piece, reed, and the ligature. There are many types of saxes that are available and steps in assembling them may not be the same. The following are the common steps in assembling the saxophone:

1. First, take the body and hold it in a secure manner, connect the neck of the sax to the body by applying a little pressure, remember to loosen first the screws (usually 2) on top of the body to be able to properly fit the neck to the body then tighten the screws.

2. Connect the mouth piece on the neck of the saxophone. If the mouth piece doesn't easily slide in, then put a little cork grease on it to do the trick. Don't force the mouth piece in or you'll be damaging the sax.

3. Placing the reed and the ligature will be more specific because any miss calculations may damage the mouth piece and replacing it may be expensive.

Place the reed first, make sure the flat side of the reed is facing the flat side of the mouth piece, and then slowly slide in the then ligature until the reed is already holding up. Tighten it then your ready to play.


Learning how to do the embouchure. The embouchure is a technique required to play the sax. It is done by rolling the lower lip in a manner that the teeth below are covered by the lip.

Imagine that you are going to whistle, that is the closes situation that could be seen when doing the embouchure. Doing this technique will enhance the sound on the sax and less spit will be flowing in the sax.


Proper breathing and blowing of the saxophone. Inasmuch as the saxophone is an instrument played by blowing, adequate lung and diaphragm power is a must. Breathing by the diaphragm is what helps you play the saxophone better.

The stronger the breath is held, the longer a tone can be played. Long or extended tones demand good breathing technique when playing the saxophone. Although there is a technique called the circular breathing which is particularly for playing long tones.

This technique lets you play a long or extended tone without the need to pause for breath. Learning this technique will be difficult for beginners, but taking music lessons particularly saxophone lessons may help a beginner learn this technique that if the teacher will teach it.

Sax lessons may help a beginner learn fast in playing the saxophone but learning how to play it on your own is easy if a saxophone instructions manual on playing it is obtained.


Fingering techniques and note reading. The best part in having a saxophone is when it is played. But playing the sax does not mean just pressing the keys, learning the notes on how to play it may help you improve fast in playing this instrument.

It may be possible to learn the basics of playing the instrument and some of the more basic notes with just one or two lessons, followed by continuous and dedicated practice and experimental exploration. Notes that are played randomly may create a good music that depends on how artistic someone having this wonderful instrument is.

Mastering on how to play the saxophone takes time and a lot of effort, but once learned and became good at it, everything will be worth it.


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