Top Tips and Tricks for Aspiring Saxophonists

November 29, 2021

The typically majestic sound of the saxophone finds its way into a wealth of various genres, ranging from reggae to ska-punk and just about everything in between. Whatever your particular favorite style of music happens to be, the saxophone is a beautiful instrument, one that’s difficult to master yet limitlessly rewarding for those who do. 

If you wanted to take your woodwind skills to the next level, a few tips and tricks might do you the world of good as you ascend towards musical mastery. 

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Care for Your Instrument

Saxophones can be an expensive instrument to not care for properly. Plus, the quality of their sound depends on it. This means cleaning out the mouthpiece regularly, swabbing inside the neck and tube, and making sure the keys aren’t sticky. While a standard cotton swab might get the job done in some areas, it is likely worth getting your hands on a dedicated saxophone cleaning kit to be on the safe side. 

If you manage to give your sax the love and attention it deserves, you shouldn’t have too many problems later on down the line. If you’re having some sound issues with a newer instrument, it may be down to poor technique, however. You may want to check out this article: Why is My Saxophone Squeaking? for some deeper insight. 

Work on Your Breathing Skills

Learning how to relax and develop your breathing skills can allow you to play the sax without having to exert yourself and inadvertently cause any damage. Plus, learning how to control your breathing properly can help you improve your playing, particularly when you need to hold a long note!

Avoid smoking for hundreds of other reasons, and take a look at some quick and easy diaphragm exercises, as this can help you get prepared for improving your lung capacity. In a similar fashion to singing, learning to play wind instruments requires steady breathing discipline, so after mastering that, everything else should click into place neatly. 

Express Yourself

The saxophone is a deliciously soulful instrument in the right hands, so why not pour out your creativity and express yourself? Learning how to scoop and bend notes will give you some more freedom for expression, as will getting to grips with your vibrato skills. 

It is worth remembering that these skills can be difficult to learn, so don’t worry if you feel like you aren’t at that stage quite yet. Perhaps listening to some influential musicians in the meantime will give you an idea of what to emulate. 

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Practice, Practice

Always striving to learn something new, be it a track or a technique, can ensure that you never need to fall into the clutches of disillusionment. The sax can be an adventurous, genre-defining, almost magical instrument, so remembering to practice, practice, and practice some more is essential. 

Last but not least, don’t be afraid to try out effects pedals; they can work wonders on a saxophone and help you develop your own unique playing style. 

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