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 Post subject: Saxophone Lessons
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 1:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:25 pm
Posts: 51
Are any of your DC's learning to play the saxophone? At what age did they start and how have they got on? My DD has been pestering to learn for over two years now, and as she is now moving to secondary I am now willing to consider it in addition to her learning the electronic keyboard, for which she has just got her Grade 2. Also, how big is the instrument/case to carry?? Interested to hear any experiences before I commit, thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Saxophone Lessons
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 1:28 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:28 pm
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I think alot of people learn the clarinet first, before moving onto a saxophone. I believe the mouthpiece is similar.


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 Post subject: Re: Saxophone Lessons
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 3:16 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:57 pm
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Sax is much easier though as the fingerings on the first octave are similar to recorder. With grade 2 piano she'll probably make very fast progress. Some kids find it hurts their neck but there are many different saxes of different weights so shop around.


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 Post subject: Re: Saxophone Lessons
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 4:58 pm 
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Our daughter started alto sax last November (Y7), she was at G3 on recorder (took the exam a couple of weeks later); she's now G4 recorder and will take her first (G3) sax exam in a few weeks.

In the case it's a two foot tall, one foot wide and eight inches deep cuboid with shoulder straps, weighs exactly a stone/6.3kg. It's a quite a lot for a Y7 to carry round (but there are much, much worse obviously - it is at least possible for a determined child, unlike some instruments). Our daughter, who is certainly determined and is also very sensible about the amount she lugs to and from school, finds it a major problem on the bus, manageable on the train and quite a lot to haul from station to school (about half a mile). She gets a lift to/from the station at the moment on sax days to cut out the bus trip.

Alto is the usual sax for beginners. A soprano would be massively more manageable (i.e. much like a clarinet) but I'm not sure how much music there is for beginners. There are perhaps more opportunities for ensemble playing with a sax than clarinet (there are so many clarinet and flute players in B'ham that the school music service sets up whole ensembles of nothing else: not much fun to listen to, I have to say, no matter how good they are).

Be advised, there is no volume control on a sax, and in my limited experience a G3 recorder sounds an awful lot nicer than a G3 sax.

Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Saxophone Lessons
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 8:50 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8200
Location: Buckinghamshire
Good advice all round. I agree that an alto sax would probably be too much to lug to school for a Y7.

I learned the clarinet at school and when I picked up a sax for the first time many moons later I was able to play Stranger on the Shore (well, it's got to be done, hasn't it? :oops: ) almost straight off. The mouthpiece is identical, the fingering is slightly different but it is possibly more intuitive than that of the clarinet.

On the other hand, the sax is just so much more FUN! :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Perhaps you could suggest that she learns the clarinet on a rented instrument for a year or two, and then switches to the sax once she is bigger and more able to carry it to school?


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 Post subject: Re: Saxophone Lessons
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 7:54 am 
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I can't play a note myself, but I would agree that alto saxophone seems reasonably straightforward to play. My DD started playing two years ago and has just taken her grade 5. She doesn't play anything else but once she figured out how to stop the squeaking (that was fun :roll: ) she did seem to progress very quickly. It is a pain to lug about though on public transport.......


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 Post subject: Re: Saxophone Lessons
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 8:57 am 
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Maybe DS1 and I are strange but we can both blow the sax but not the clarinet! :?


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 Post subject: Re: Saxophone Lessons
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 9:12 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:25 pm
Posts: 51
Thank everyone, plenty to mull over there. She has been playing the recorder for four years at junior school, and is now playing the treble as well as the descant though they do not do Grade exams - and we also have a friend who plays clarinet, so maybe I will dicuss these options first. She will have a mile walk to and from station for sch - though I could take her in the car on lesson days - so all your advice has been really helpful to weigh things up.


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 Post subject: Re: Saxophone Lessons
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 11:18 am 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
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Location: Reading
Taught myself to play alto sax purely on the basis of learning the recorder at school many years earlier. For me it was 'Baker street'. I'm no musician by any means, but I do enjoy the sound.
Its a heavy thing to lug around and you can't play it quietly. I believe you can get a thing that encases the sax to reduce noise but thats huge (and looks hilarious), so either warn the neighbours or live in a detached house. I'd advise getting a really good neck strap though. You can get them that fasten around the shoulders and/or waist and take the weight of the neck.

Someone asked me to test out a clarinet they had bought at a car boot sale and based on my sax skills, managed to play it fine, except the sharps/flats. You can buy fingering charts for both and probably print them off for free of the internet these days.

If DC is prepared to carry it around, then go for the sax. If their heart is set on it, then clarinet is always going to feel like second best.


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 Post subject: Re: Saxophone Lessons
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 1:44 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:00 am
Posts: 99
Another thing to consider is what your potential player wants to achieve - if they want to play in an orchestra, then the sax is not an orchestral instrument, tho' some schools do allow for this.
Do they want to play jazz? If so then the sax is a wonderful jazz instrument - (she says, stating the obvious!).
Do they want to play for the sheer enjoyment of the instrument? If so then probably go for the sax.
Are they smaller in stature than the average y7 and will therefore find the instrument not only cumbersome to take and from school but will find it difficult to reach the notes on the sax?
The mouthpiece on the sax is not the same as that of the clarinet and requires a slightly different embouchure - but most players find it easy to switch between the two.
Your best bet would be to perhaps go to a music shop and let your daughter try the sax out for size and see how comfortable she feels. Also have a chat with your Education Authority's music service and see what the openings for the instrument are likely to be at the start of next term and whether the woodwind teacher is actually a sax or clari player - it can make a lot of difference.
We love both the sax and the clarinet in our house with DS2 now playing clarinet, alto and tenor sax though we're having to do some finger stretching for the tenor sax!


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