Saxophone Lessons: Fundamental Techniques to Teach Saxophone Students

In whatever undertaking one is attempting to pursue, one is inclined to believe that if he gets off at the right foot, he is likely to succeed.  This could hold true for students of saxophone lessons.  As a teacher, it is imperative that techniques should go hand in hand with forming good habits.  And this should be acquired, practiced and internalized at the onset or during the early stages of the lessons.  Or if your student has an existing ‘bad habit’, you should be able to nip it in the bud and apply corrective measures and discipline in saxophone music lessons.  Singapore students have varied playing or mastery levels; but most are beginners.  Thus, it is important for a teacher to give the student a diagnostic or assessment to find out his learning ability, level of mastery, and playing techniques.


The fundamentals lay the groundwork for masterful saxophone playing skills.  Here are some guidelines on how you, as  teacher, could set the wheels in motion:


  1. Earn the trust of your student/s. This could be achieved by showing them your capabilities, being confident in how you teach, and motivating them to persevere. Walk the talk. They need a teacher who could empathize with their difficulties and challenge them to level-up.  They need to feel assured that you’re in it for the long haul.


  1. Develop their listening skills. Whether your student is a virtuoso or a beginner, they need to hone their listening skills.  They have to listen as they are producing the sound and to the sound that they actually make. Their ears should be tuned-in both ways.  Listening is a powerful tool of influence.  ‘Experiential’ listening also motivates and highly influences students in saxophone playing.  Experiencing and listening to passionate and creative saxophonists and moving live or recorded performances, are subconscious or direct elements that your students could draw from as they plays the saxophone.


  1. This activity could never be emphasized enough by a teacher.  When executed the wrong way, it could zap the energy and even the passion out of your student.  Your job as a teacher is to teach them how to practice.  The end is not only to develop the proper playing habits and techniques.  But to give them the proper motivation to embrace practice sessions as a rewarding endeavor.


  1. Without proper breathing techniques, your student could not power-up a woodwind instrument such as a saxophone.  Consciously breathing deeply not only powers-up the lungs.  It promotes clarity, relaxation, and stability that invigorate the body’s overall well-being.


  1. Lead your student to ‘enjoy the moment’. Emotions play a big part in a student’s decision to pursue and improve on his saxophone music lessons.  The sound of the saxophone, in particular, anchors on soulful expression. Hence, it is dubbed as ‘the sexy sound of sax’.  Savoring and deriving pleasure out of playing the saxophone is something that you should nurture in your student.


Here are some tips on how you could bring out your student’s heart and soul:


A teacher’s role in the success of every student could not be discounted.  And a great teacher could not just breeze through the basics of saxophone lessons and hammer on the heavier stuff’.  In,  there are no ‘shortcuts’ to learning and teaching.  Every step is a stepping stone to mastery and success.