People say saxophone is one of the most difficult instruments to learn because you have to both hit the chords while going with the rhythm of your breathing. It is so challenging that not many musicians can do it, and not all bands have a saxophonist in the group. In fact, an ensemble with a saxophonist is always more expensive than a team without one. It can be because to find a good saxophone player is hard to find.
But even those who are already familiar with playing an instrument can find it challenging to play the saxophone. First off, how do you use the mouthpiece? And how do you play the chords while blowing into this mouthpiece? This part of the saxophone is what makes it difficult for many learners because it is the unique element of this instrument. You cannot practice it on any other instrument, even on the flute, because the breathing technique is far different from what you must do on a saxophone.
Since saxophone is a difficult instrument to learn, many students get unmotivated when they don’t see progress. How can you study saxophone without depleting your motivation to learn? Here are some tips to help you learn without losing your sanity:
1. Practice using the mouthpiece
The mouthpiece is one element of the saxophone that makes the instrument difficult to learn. So, it just makes sense that you must give some time to practice using the mouthpiece. Detach this piece from the horn, and practice producing different chords, rhythms, and pitches. On a piano, it seems natural because you get to control the keys with your fingers. You can quickly change the pitch by going to the lower or higher end of the keyboard, and by using the white and black keys. However, on a saxophone, you have the feel of where you are at.
Do not get attempted to cheat on this one. Practice using the mouthpiece with the feel of your entire vocal tone. It is easy to cheat on this one with the use of your lower jaw to change pitch but think long term. If you get to perfect using the mouthpiece, then you have just got through one of the most challenging parts of saxophone learning.
2. Practice overtones
As mentioned, using the mouthpiece is one of the most challenging aspects of saxophone learning. Another tricky part is getting used to overtones. Overtones are the finger techniques you see on saxophone players, where they alternate the press on chords depending on how they want the notes to sound. Sounds complicated, right? Well, it is. It can be difficult to speed up on overtones when you are a beginner, so you have to keep on practicing until you can do the rhythms without compromising on the technique. An excellent way to practice is to develop a comfortability with hearing the tone. The standard tone must match the sound of the overtone, which takes some experience to help you through.
Learning saxophone is not easy, but if you develop the discipline and dedication to play it, you will find it to be the most satisfying and rewarding journey you make as a music enthusiast.