There are several ways for you to learn saxophone on your own. Just by searching Youtube you'll find plenty of saxophone lessons. The tricky part is knowing which lessons to follow, so that you get the right instructions from the start.
I've noticed that the quality of instructions and recommendations can be a bit misleading at times, but overall there's a lot of good stuff for learning saxophone online too.
Is it possible to teach yourself saxophone?
Yes, it is possible to teach yourself saxophone with the help of online lessons and instructions. You may be thinking that Saxophone is hard to learn but I'd say it's the opposite as long as you focus on some core principals which I'll help you with here.
Get started teaching yourself saxophone
There are several things you need to consider before you try to teach yourself saxophone. I cover them here, so that you can get an overview of what you have to do to get started learning saxophone on your own.
The Instrument – You need a good beginner saxophone
First, you need to get your hands on a saxophone that works well for a beginner saxophone player. Basically there are four types of saxophones to choose from, but they do not all work well for beginners. In my experience as a saxophone teacher it is best if you get an Alto Saxophone as it is the easiest to play as a sax beginner.
The Reed – that makes the sound in your sax
The Reed goes on the saxophone mouthpiece. It's can be made of Cane, Fibracell or Plastic. Make sure to pick the best saxophone reed for beginners, so that it will be easy to play. The Saxophone Reed is a must have as without it you will not get any sound from your sax at all.
It works like this:
- The reed goes on the bottom part of the mouthpiece where there's a flat surface and opening
- It should cover the entire opening just leaving a small gap on the tip of the mouthpiece open
- When you blow air into the mouthpiece the reed starts to vibrate and that's what makes your saxophone sound like a saxophone
The Embouchure – how to blow into the mouthpiece
This is the way you position the mouthpiece in your mouth. Before you get started working on your embouchure I recommend that you check to see that the mouthpiece is assembled with the saxophone neck, so that the reed is facing down.
Note from the saxophone teacher: I cannot even begin to count all the pictures I've seen online of people posing with saxophones that have the mouthpiece upside down. Obviously not real saxophone players and misleading for saxophone beginners who then think that the reed should be on top of the mouthpiece. That's wrong.
The saxophone mouthpiece needs be positioned on the neck with the reed facing down. Otherwise you will have a hard time playing anything on your saxophone.
When you place the mouthpiece in your mouth the reed should be resting on your bottom lip. Then, simply by sealing the gap around the mouthpiece you have a good base for the correct saxophone embouchure.
However, there is a a few things you need to look out for when it comes to the embouchure.
A common beginner mistake is to squeeze hard around the mouthpiece. Do not do that as it will both prohibit the saxophone tone and it will make your jaw hurt. A gentle squeeze at the most should be more than enough and this is why getting the right saxophone embouchure from the start is so important.
The Neck Strap to hold the saxophone
You need the neck strap to hold up the saxophone. It will also help you get the sax in the right position, so that you have the mouthpiece in line with your mouth. You should be able to stand up straight and have the mouthpiece on the same height as your mouth, so that it fits without bending down or having to stand in any other weird position.
Simply by adjusting the height and position of your saxophone with the neck strap will make all the difference and ensure that you have the best position for playing your saxophone.
The Saxophone Fingerings – learning the basics first
Begin with the basics first. Learning the saxophone fingerings is a must if you want to play any songs on the sax. I recommend that you start with the basic sax note fingerings as they will get you going fast and you could potentially be playing songs on your saxophone within a few minutes.
It is possible to teach yourself saxophone, but it all comes down to learning the saxophone basics which I've laid out in the article so far.
The saxophone music – learning easy saxophone songs
When you've got the basic saxophone fingerings down you probably want to start to play songs on your saxophone and that is great. There are plenty of easy saxophone songs for beginners you can start out with. At the same time you will develop your skills and become a better sax player. The key is practice, practice and more practice.
Getting saxophone lessons online
If you are not able to find a local saxophone teacher you can always find help from online teachers both for 1-to-1 lessons over Zoom and through prerecorded sax lessons and video courses. There's also the Learn Saxophone Youtube channel which offers many free Beginner Saxophone Lessons that you are welcome to use.
Conclusion of teaching yourself how to play sax
Well, now you know. It is possible to teach yourself play sax and the good news is that the saxophone is not hard to learn either. Simply by focusing on the fundamentals for the first few weeks you will start to develop a better sax tone.
The key is to be consistent and practice your saxophone as often as you can. If you practice your sax for 20-30 min every day starting today you will make great progress faster. However, if you only have 10-15 minutes every other day that is better than nothing.
You may want to consider setting up a practice routine for your saxophone, so that you can get the most out of your practice sessions.