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Learning how to play saxophone is tons of fun for older children, teens, and adults of all ages! Along with learning to read music notation, many students also work on improvisation which is primarily used in jazz. Since the saxophone is one of the newest instruments it is not featured heavily in classical repertoire, although some more modern composers have written parts for the instrument in their orchestral works. Instead, saxophone is used mostly in wind ensembles, jazz, blues, funk, and rock music.
While the saxophone is made of brass, but it is actually considered a woodwind instrument. This is because the mouthpiece is fitted with a single wooden reed that is necessary for the instrument to produce sound. The saxophone is played by placing the mouth around the mouthpiece with the bottom lip curved under to rest on the reed. The hands are then placed on the keys which can be depressed to create different notes. Saxophones come in a variety of sizes, although the most commonly played are soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone. The fingering is the same for all of them though, so once you learn to play saxophone on one size you can play any of them! Musika’s qualified teachers can help you figure out which one best suits you and get you where you want to go musically.
The saxophone was created by a Belgian instrument-maker named Adolphe Sax, and he patented the instrument in 1846. Sax wanted to created an instrument with the versatility of other woodwinds, like the clarinet and flute, but that also had the projection of a brass instrument, like the trumpet. The first saxophones were designed for and used primarily in military bands, but they found another home during rise of jazz in the early 20th Century. Even though the saxophone has a much shorter history than other musical instruments, it has carved out a place as one of the most popular woodwinds. This video will introduce you to some of the most prominent sax players of our time.
Since the saxophone requires large amounts of lung power on the part of the student as well as the ability to reach every key with the hands, we do not recommend learning how to play saxophone until at least 8, although lessons will be easier and more productive if the child is older. The type of saxophone the student works on is up to them, but a teacher can help determine what would be a good fit.
Beginner model saxophones can be purchased or even rented at a reasonable price from local music stores or online instrument catalogs. Popular brands include Yamaha and Selmer, although there are many other decent brands on the market. Our saxophone instructors can also be of assistance, both for locating the instrument and in helping the student find the necessary equipment for it including a neck strap and reeds. Ricco is a good brand of reed to purchase, but all reeds are classified by number. Beginning students generally start with lower numbered reeds since they are softer and easier to play with. When you learn to play saxophone you will go through several reeds and different sized reeds can be purchased as you advance.
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