Find out The Cost of Saxophone Lessons for beginners

The cost of Saxophone lessons for beginners

Written by Greger Hillman, Saxophone teacher and music educator

The cost of beginner saxophone lessons can vary between $30-$75 per hour. You should budget for at least 10 lessons to get you going.

With 1 lesson per week makes this a $100-$300 per month investment. Over the course of 10 lessons you'll be investing $250-$750 over the coming months depending on the final price you can get from your saxophone tutor.

However, there are cheaper options. Taking a beginner sax course online can give you similar results for less than the cost of a premium In-person lesson.

Both In-person lessons and online courses comes with their own pros and cons which you'll learn more about below.

Walk through of the cost of Saxophone Lessons

Youtube video covering the cost of Saxophone lessons.

Factors determining the Saxophone lesson price

The final price for you sax lessons will be determined by several factors. The lesson length and the level of education that the saxophone teacher have are two of them.

Another factor is the location and if you are buying saxophone lessons in-person or live lessons online.

In-person and live lessons are generally more expensive than a pre-recorded online course for beginners.

Pro-tip: If you choose to get In-person or live lessons you should ask for a bundled price to bring down the total cost of your lessons. Not all teachers offer this, but if you can get a deal on a 5-10 lesson bundle you should be able to lower the per lesson costs.

The average price for a saxophone lesson

The average price for a 1-hour saxophone lesson is $45. There are of course exceptions but it's around that $45-$50 mark that many saxophone teachers generally price themselves.

If you find a saxophone teacher charging $65-$100 an hour you are probably overpaying. Unless it's an exceptional teacher with a very specific set of skills or if you are in an area with higher living expenses.

A more common scenario for that higher rate has to do with either over-qualification in the teacher or the booking is going through a booking site that takes 10-30% as a fee for each booking.

In that case the teacher has to charge more in order to bank those $45-$50 per hour. 

Things that determine the Saxophone lesson cost

Saxophone teacher education and experience level

You can expect much better results when taking lessons from a saxophone teacher with a degree as a music teacher compared to someone who has “been playing sax for a while”.

You still have to do the work, but a certified saxophone teacher knows exactly how to teach and what to focus on to bring you results.

A big misconception is that if you play saxophone you are also able to teach saxophone. This is not always the case.

I've been playing the saxophone for over 35 years and got my degree as a saxophone teacher back in 2004. During my studies I recall being part of a saxophone masterclass with Krister Andersson, a talented jazz saxophonist from Sweden. 

I think he's an amazing musician but the problem was that he could not explain or teach what he was doing or why he was doing it. To him it was just something he did…

And I get it, if you're 24/7 invested into playing Jazz music it will eventually come naturally for you i guess.

However, for us mere mortals, we need solid, clear and concise instructions in order to learn and that's especially true when you are a saxophone beginner.

So, that being said I definitely recommend that you hire a sax tutor with a degree as a Saxophone teacher if you're able too. 

There are of course exceptions but keep in mind that someone who has invested 10-15 years into learning the instrument before they start to teach will be able to spot and correct any bad habits and make adjustments you need to succeed on your saxophone journey.

Hire a professional saxophone instructor for a beginner student?

Absolutely!

When you take lessons from a saxophone teacher with a degree you will progress faster. You will benefit directly from the experience and years of studying the saxophone that the sax teacher have.

This will ensure that you learn the saxophone fundamentals correctly right from the beginning.

I'm referring to Saxophone Embouchure, how to hold your saxophone, your posture, breath control, tonguing notes, developing your saxophone sound and so on.

Further more, a professional teacher can help you avoid developing bad habits that can have negative impact on your playing and even cause body damage.

I've seen this first hand myself with beginner students that come to me after taking a few lessons with a music teacher that isn't a saxophone player.

I imagine the intention is good but the big problem with that is that unless you're an experienced saxophone player yourself you simply cannot teach saxophone….

Based on this, my recommendation is that you look around in your community for a local saxophone teacher if possible. There are great benefits being in the same room when you are starting out.

However, If you prefer learning on your own schedule or simply can't find a good sax teacher there are great online options too.

Online Lessons vs In-person Saxophone lessons

Taking saxophone lessons online opens up more flexibility and is generally cheaper than In-person lessons. The benefit of saxophone courses online is that it's more flexible than in person lessons.

If you take live lessons you only need an internet connection and a device that can run Zoom or Google Meets. However, you can learn saxophone with pre-recorded lessons too.

Here's a beginner sax course: Take the Jumpstart Saxophone Course for beginners here

Live lessons online vs Online courses

Taking live saxophone lessons online is “almost” like in-person lessons. This can work really well as long as both you and your teacher have a good camera and solid internet connection. 

Pro tip for Zoom lessons: If you take live lessons online make sure to be on a big screen, so that you can see the sax tutors instructions clearly.

Doing a regular Zoom Call with a webcam and USB mic can work well as long as you activate the “original sound” feature which prevents it from being compressed and distorted.

How much should you pay for your saxophone lessons

Learning Saxophone is an ongoing process and you will need at least 10 lessons In-person lessons or Live lessons to cover the fundamentals. That will bring your cost to $250-$650 to get started.

On the other hand, taking a beginner saxophone online course can get you similar results for about $65 total. The benefit with online courses is that you can take the lessons over and over again. This gives you the same function as if you would take another In-person lesson.

The potential drawback with online courses is that you do not have a teacher looking at you as you play. However, if you take a course like “the Jumpstart Saxophone” you'll learn a method for self assessing your progress on the saxophone.

What you learn in your Saxophone Lessons

Saxophone Fundamentals

The most important building blocks of becoming a saxophonist has to do with the core fundamentals. This include: 

  • Handling the Saxophone: Learning how to hold, lift and lay down the sax without breaking it
  • Saxophone Reed preparation: Making sure the reed is wet and in good playing condition
  • Applying the Reed to the mouthpiece: Finding the exact position where the reed vibrates
  • Saxophone Embouchure: Making sure you find the right lip and mouth position to get a full sound
  • Breath Control: Learning to using a good air support that can improve your sound drastically
  • Finger Placements: Where to place your fingers on the saxophone and what NOT to do
  • Fingering Chart: Learning how to finger each note on your saxophone
  • Practice technique: Using a saxophone method for finding and fixing “week spots” in your technique

A good saxophone teacher will help you through all these steps and also teach you how to avoid the most common beginner mistakes like:

  • Biting down on the mouthpiece
  • Playing in a weird position instead of adjusting the saxophone Neck Strap
  • Only “top breathing” when you play giving you a shallow tone

Practice Methods and Routines

One of the biggest benefits with taking lessons from a saxophone teacher is that you get to learn how to practice which is essential as you will be doing most of the hard work (practicing) on your own.

Once you know how to practice scales, songs, melodic patterns and etudes you are able to keep developing and practicing without the help of a teacher.

It may take some time before you reach this level of consciousness and even then you may still want to take lessons. Based on my experience it's easier to get things done (practicing) when someone else (your saxophone teacher) helps you focus on the right things.

Music Theory for saxophone

Learning Music Theory will help you grasp the “big picture” as you start to understand how notes, scales, intervals and chords are constructed.

The great thing about music theory is that it is universal and applies to both saxophone and all other instruments. This means that you'll be able to use this knowledge to transpose your saxophone notes, so that you can play with a piano, guitar or even a who group of musicians.

Notation – Reading Sheet music

Being able to read sheet music is essential when you want to go beyond playing some easy saxophone songs.

You need to learn to read and interpret sheet music in order to play together with other musicians. This will also make it possible for you to play new music that you've never heard before simply by playing what's been written out in the sheet music.

How can you find the most affordable Saxophone Lessons

You need to find a good balance between what's “affordable” and what's really going to make a difference for your own saxophone studies.

If you want In-person or live lessons online my recommendation is to ask for testimonials from previous saxophone students that can verify the credentials and proficiency of the teacher. You can look at sites like Takelesssons and Lesson With You, but be aware that all “sax teachers” aren't majoring in saxophone which could pose a problem as I explained above.

If you want to take online courses for saxophone I recommend that you choose a well trusted source where the saxophone teacher has extensive experience of both teaching saxophone beginners and making online courses. Yes, I'm biased but I'm can also be that resource if you want it to be.

The conclusion about cost of saxophone lessons

Based on what I've covered in this article you should be able to find a sax tutor or online course that fits your budget and needs. The cost of saxophone lessons will vary based on education, experience, location and hourly fee that the saxophone teacher have.

There are great benefits of taking In-person lessons when you get started. However, the most flexible and cheaper option is to take an online course.

I've personally seen great success both helping beginner students through In-person lessons and through my beginner sax courses online.

For me, as a saxophone teacher, I'm limited to the amount of In-person lessons I can offer. That's why I made the beginner sax online course, so that I can teach more beginner students in a simple, fun and proficient way.

Saxophone teacher online Greger Hillman

Written by Greger Hillman

Greger Hillman is a saxophone teacher with +36 years of experience playing saxophone. 

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