When thinking about how to learn saxophone by yourself, it feels like an enormous task as you try to take on one of music’s most versatile instruments. But how do you learn saxophone by yourself?
There are many ways to learn saxophone by yourself, whether by learning from online tutorials, purchasing books, or even teaching yourself tunes by ear from recordings. With the saxophone able to be used in most popular genres, anyone can pick up and play instantaneously to most of their favorite songs.
Look around, and you will find hundreds of self-teaching videos around and written guides for someone to follow, so with so much material to access, what are the best methods for learning saxophone by yourself?
What Style Do You Want When Learning Saxophone
It’s all well and good saying you will learn the saxophone, but there’s no point doing it unless you know why you want to do it. Learning any musical instrument isn’t something that falls into place overnight, so you need to think long and hard about the reasons behind it.
Many people want to play the saxophone because it plays a prominent role in their favorite music, which can be about anything.
The sax is a prominent instrument in many genres, including:
- Modern Pop
Each of these genres is remarkably different from each other, so you will need to alter your style depending on what interests you.
What is the Jazz Scene Like?
Unpredictable and unscripted, That’s what makes being in a jazz band so popular. A lot of that comes from those playing the sax. In jazz bands, the saxophone player can be the main attraction replacing vocalists and guitarists. Here, you can expect extended, winding sax solos that go with the flow and how you are playing in sync with your band.
Saxophones and Pop Music, How Do They Link?
Some of the biggest anthems in pop music have had memorable sax solos. It was huge in the 1970s and 1980s to have a sax play the main riffs and solos.
Songs such as “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty and “Careless Whisperstep-By-Step” by George Michael are true testaments. It’s here where you need to be big on melody and smooth with the keys.
Blues & Swing
Blues and swing music encompassed sax playing as part of the overall part of the band. You will find that the sax blends in with the rhythm and tone of the comprehensive piece. If you want to get in the groove, this could be your true calling as you turn yourself into the next member of The Blues Brothers!
The Learning Process Using Online Saxophone Lessons
With the rise of apps and social media, it has perhaps never been easier to self-teach yourself to play a musical instrument. When learning how to play the saxophone yourself, these resources become an absolute lifesaver.
It only takes a quick browse through Facebook or YouTube to find complete video series that takes you through the first steps to advanced techniques that professionals show off with ease.
There are also dedicated apps and heaps of books written to help you master the sax in a matter of weeks. When it comes to saxophone for beginners by yourself, there are many options.
Online Lessons Through Video Content
The most accessible resource at hand is using online videos to teach yourself in a step-by-step manner. Sites such as YouTube have thousands of these available to look at, with entire playlists easy to find in just a few seconds.
These are great resources as you can watch and hear how to do each step and view it as many times as you want until you’ve got the hang of it. Moving onto each following step can also be done at your own pace, making it a breeze to master.
The only downside to these videos is that it’s difficult to play along with them. You may find yourself backtracking over the exact steps repeatedly if you aren’t getting things quite right.
Using Apps to Learn Saxophone
The digitalization of pretty much everything means that e-guides and teaching apps are easy to find online. Having apps around is particularly useful as they help you follow tunes as you play and give detailed feedback about performance once it has been finished.
Some of the most popular practice session apps include the following:
- Fingering – Fingering is an application for Apple to practice both minor scales and major scales. It teaches you of an instrument’s playable range.
- Tonestro – Tonestro is an excellent Android Play Store app specific for learning the saxophone. It does have difficulty reading tone but is ideal for dusting off old skills.
- Anytune – Anytune is great for transcribing, practicing, and learning music by ear. It is a great music practice app for learning all instruments.
Books for Learning Saxophone Without A Teacher
Having access to e-books is also great as you can follow them with ease and read the music you are learning as you go. The only issue with book apps and e-books is that many are not free to access, so be prepared to pay if you want access to these types of resources.
Here are some excellent books worth talking about:
- How to Play the Saxophone: A beginner’s Guide to Learning the Saxophone Basics, Reading Music, and Playing Songs with Audio Recordings
- The Jazz Method for Alto Saxophone
- Essential Elements for Band – Bb Tenor Saxophone Book 1
Can You Learn Saxophone Playing By Ear?
For those musically gifted, learning the sax can be done by playing a song and learning it note by note. This is very much a trickier approach but one that is just as rewarding.
By hearing a melody and repeating it, you will quickly find ways to replay the songs you learning advancing your skill level successfully. Just be sure to supplement it with other lesson types.
How To Stay Dedicated To The Art of Saxophone Playing
One of the main things that people forget about when learning any instrument is that it needs to be done regularly. Thinking you can learn the sax in 3 days and then only play once a year does not get you anywhere!
Therefore, anyone who is serious about learning the saxophone needs to provide proper dedication to the cause. It may mean spending several hundred dollars on your instrument, but that’s not necessarily the end of the world!
Having your instrument gives you greater motivation to learn and practice on regular occasions. It’s this platform that you can work on as you aim to become a saxophone superstar.
From here, you can then start playing regularly in your own time. Realistically though, it doesn’t have to be hours a day, every day either. Taking little steps is more beneficial in the long run. Focus on one target a day and then spend 15-20 minutes per day working on it until you are successful.
As you move on step by step, you will soon be comfortable in your ability and move at a regular pace until you have mastered both the basic and advanced skills.
The Result of Consistent Saxophone Practice
When you feel like you have fully mastered learning the saxophone by yourself, you will need to think about how you want to utilize your new skill.
Do you keep it as a private hobby, or do you take on the local scenes and see what the public thinks of your playing? Well, there are several options to consider:
Going To Jazz Clubs
No modern city nightlife exists without an array of jazz clubs full of patrons. If Jazz is your thing and you can jam with others, see what local venues are open. There are plenty of open mic nights around, and impressing here can be a way to get your big break!
Just watch out, though! Jazz clubs will have audiences who know what they like, so be prepared for some harsh critiques and feedback if they don’t take a liking to your style. Even some professional saxophonists can struggle with a picky crowd.
Joining a Jazz Band
We aren’t talking about your average rock or metal band! Many bands that feature saxophone players cross over multiple genres, so this is a great way to play a little bit of everything with musically-minded mates.
Modern pop music is full of songs with meaty saxophone riffs and solos, meaning that you can consistently score a gig at your local pub or bar and impress your neighbors. There’s also big money to be made for bands playing at social occasions such as weddings and parties where the saxophone player can help score the winning gig if your setlist allows for it!
Classical Music (Joining an Orchestra)
There’s something amazon about learning sheet music, studying music theory, and playing with a group of instruments. Orchestras come in numerous sizes and comprise some of the most talented people in the world.
While many are classically trained, you can gain a solid foundation and become incredibly talented with enough dedication.
Knowing You Are Good At Playing Your Favorite Song (Self Satisfaction)
If you want to keep it as a personal hobby, then there is nothing wrong with that. The saxophone is a great way to spend an hour chilling and letting your energy seep into the music. Blast out your favorite tunes or improvise to your heart’s content – the choice is yours.
Wrap Up – Now You Know How To Play The Saxophone
Utilizing these tips and strategies should ultimately help you decide just whether you want to take on the task of self-learning the saxophone. Once you know the sort of style and music you will play, everything falls roughly into place. It helps you find the right resources to learn from and gauge how much practice is needed daily.
At the end of all the hard work, you will become the world’s next saxophone aficionado and be glad that you were confident enough to know how to learn the saxophone by yourself.