A Guide Before You Start Your Saxophone Lessons
Saxophone is widely considered as the sexiest musical instrument, not only because of its gorgeous shape and appearance, but also because of the quality of the sound that comes out of it. But it is not an easy instrument to handle, and it is not easy to teach yourself with it, that is why it is advisable to go for formal saxophone lessons. But before you start on those lessons, here are a few things to help you get the best out of your programs:
WHAT TO BUY
The saxophone family has nine (9) varieties ranging in different keys. In order of highest to lowest keys or octaves, these are:
Let us concentrate on the mid-range:
- Soprano – tuned to the key of Bb (B-flat), you will find both curved and straight variety. This is considered to be for advanced or very experienced saxophone players, and is a little more challenging to play than any other type of saxophone.
- Alto – the easiest to play in the family, the reason most beginners are advised to start with this, and also the reason why this is the most common and popular type. Curve shaped, it is tuned to the key of Eb (E-flat).
- Tenor – also a very popular type especially for lovers of jazz and rock music. Also curved but a little bit more slender than alto, it is also tuned to the key of Bb (B-flat).
- Baritone –with a longer tube for the bell part to produce those low, deep sounds, this is the biggest saxophone, more so with an extension attached at the horn part.
THE CORRECT EMBOUCHURE
Embouchure in music is defined as the position of a player’s mouth to the mouthpiece of a brass or wind instrument. It comes from the French word ‘emboucher’ meaning ‘put in or to the mouth’. At the start of your saxophone lessons, it is imperative that you learn the correct embouchure, as it not only boosts your confidence, but it also is critical for your playing success. Here are techniques that you should remember:
- Hold your chin flat while putting your lower lip over your bottom teeth. This is your foundation.
- Position the lip of the mouthpiece on top of your bottom lip.
- Gently bite down your upper teeth on the mouthpiece, about halfway through its length.
- Close your upper lip over your teeth and the mouthpiece.
- Loosely close your mouth over and around the mouthpiece.
What is important in your embouchure is that you keep the muscles relaxed around your lips and mouth, and do not pinch your mouth tight on the mouthpiece. You will easily notice that when you pinch the muscles around your mouth on the mouthpiece, the tone that comes out is also pinched and small. You want to keep it relaxed, so you can have a good normal tone which is easier to play around with.
These are the same things that a professional coach will teach you on your saxophone lessons. You will find it helpful to know these things before hand, so you will have a quicker learning time, and more enjoyable sessions.