How to Play Alto Saxophone

If you want to learn how to play alto saxophone, the first step is to buy a decent saxophone. For a beginner, the best sax to by will probably cost between $1000 and $2000, unless you are lucky enough to find a good used one.

A couple of brands that can be trusted when looking for an alto saxophone are Yamaha and Selmer. Some Conn horns are suitable for people just learning to play alto saxophone.

The saxophone will need a few accessories, including a neck strap, cork grease, reeds, and a cloth for wiping fingerprints off the lacquered finish of the alto saxophone. Choose reeds with a low number of hardness because harder reeds make it harder to produce a sound. A good size for a person just learning how to play alto saxophone is 1-1/2. Rico is a recommended brand of saxophone reeds.

The first step in putting the the alto saxophone together is to put a reed in your mouth to soften. Put the thin edge in first. Loosen the neck screw at the top of the main body of the sax, and attach the neck piece to the body. Tightening the screws will help the neck stay in place while you are learning to play the alto saxophone. The mouthpiece fits on the cork on the end of the neck, and the reed fits under the screws on the mouthpiece, which is called the ligature.

The first notes you play should be played with the mouthpiece attached to the neck, but the neck removed from the body of the horn. This will help you focus on your mouth without having to worry about the weight of the large instrument hanging from the neck strap.

With a straight chin, place the mouthpiece in your mouth with the top teeth on the top of the mouthpiece about a third of the way from the end. The lower lip fits against the bottom of the saxophone reed. Some players turn their lip to the inside a bit. Now seal both lips around the mouthpiece. Blow your first note. Blow into the mouthpiece. The sound should be something like a duck's quack.

Go here to learn how to play alto saxophone. This course is suitable for both beginner and intermediate players.

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Further reading on how to play saxophone.

Alto Saxophone Home Page

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