Did you know that saxophone is the youngest wind instrument? And is it hard to play the saxophone? What is the ideal age to start playing saxophone, whether certain predispositions are needed? What is the difference between classes at home and in a private music school? The answers to all these questions are given below.
A brief history of saxophone
Saxophone was invented in France in mid 19th century.
Adolphe Sax, French flutist, clarinettist and instruments inventor, patented and presented to public his first saxophone in mid 19th century.
The idea behind this creation was to combine sophistication and advanced technique of woodwind instruments such as clarinet, flute and bassoon, but with a sound effect of brass instruments like trumpet, trombone, etc.
Saxophone is in its puberty?
The fact that it was invented a few centuries after its wind parents, makes it the youngest wind instrument.
Some of the first musical pieces for saxophone date from the first half of the 20th century, but only at the end of the 20th and in the beginning of the 21st century it becomes an inspiration to a large number of composers, which has enriched the literature, but also encouraged the development of the playing technique.
These are the reasons we like to say that saxophone is going through its puberty.
Saxophone playing technique
As we have mentioned earlier, saxophone was created as a combination of various wind instruments, therefore the resemblance to those instruments are unavoidable. Still, the most related instrument to saxophone is clarinet, mostly due to the
- mouthpiece and
- tone output resemblance.
Similarity in fingering can be found with
- flute and
How hard is it to play saxophone?
Adolphe Sax’s, the father of Saxophone and the person the instrument was named after, main goal was to accomplish more simple playing technique, which he has succeeded in. Getting a loud tone is quite easy, but on the other hand it makes it more complicated to control it.
What is the ideal age to start playing?
As it is with other instruments, it is necessary that the child is mature enough to accept the obligation of attending classes and acquiring new skills and knowledge. Other thing that is necessary is for the child to have permanent front teeth, but also to be able to reach and press keys/holes on the bottom part of the saxophone.
As for the upper age limit, there is none. The practise has shown that simplified saxophone fingering allows older students to advance more quickly and develop playing technique. Hence, for willing and hardworking students only sky is the limit!
Who attend saxophone classes more, boys or girls?
The rule is there are no rules! It is equally popular with boys and girls.
Are there any physical requirements to play saxophone that need to exist?
Besides having permanent front teeth and being big enough to hold the instrument, there are no other special requirement. Since pressing keys/holes on a saxophone does not require exact precision, playing the instrument is available to people with different predispositions.
However, you should bear in mind that since being a wind instrument, students need to be able to breathe the air in and breathe it out through their mouth without any difficulties.
Private classes at home or private school?
Although private classes at home save some time to parents and students, advantages of private schools are numerous and great.
Firstly, schools provide their students to attend concerts which is invaluable for the musical development of the students.
Secondly, various exams, performances and knowledge tests are being organized which give parents and students a direct insight to the students’ progress.
Finally, by regularly attending school, students become a part of the schoolwork process, which usually motivates students to try harder and give their best.
Why is the Sight reading important?
Private music school Eva has implemented the ABRSM method, which includes Sight reading elements.
This refers to learning and practicing skill of noting various music elements in a music material (such as key signature, rhythms, temp and dynamic signs, etc.).
This skill is invaluable when students wish to play and be a part of ensemble. It enables students to read and learn new music programs easily and quickly, but also to avoid learning it wrongly.
Our teacher Jovana Stojanovic is clarinettist.
As clarinet and saxophone are, regarding the playing technique, quite alike instruments, it was only a matter of time when she would take on saxophone.
The opportunity arose in 2005 when she started teaching saxophone in primary and secondary music school. Today, besides teaching both musical instruments she regularly play them both and performs in concerts.