The Five Most Difficult Things About Learning to Play the Sax

Whether you’re a fan of jazz or The Simpsons, if you’re looking for an instrument to learn, the saxophone is arguably one of the coolest. Even just the look of it – the shape, the way you hold it – it’s just… cool. And the sax really does make a great instrument to play. But, like other instruments, learning the saxophone isn’t without its difficulties. So, what do you need to prepare yourself for if your child announces that they want to join the school band and play sax?

The Five Biggest Challenges When Learning to Play the Saxophone

1. Finding the right instrument

The saxophone is one of those instruments where you have to have the right kit if you’re going to enjoy both learning and playing. While you can find good used instruments, it’s not an easy process – especially at a time of pandemic. And a good quality new saxophone can be a really serious investment. But there’s not much point in purchasing a cheaper model, because the quality just won’t be there, and the enthusiasm will rapidly wane.

That’s why renting an educator-approved saxophone can be a really great idea. There are no major upfront costs. You get to try it properly before you decide if you want to keep it – at Rent From Home, we offer a one-month free trial to all customers. And you have access to the best quality instruments for learning.

2. Playing the right notes

Once you’ve got your sax, one of the first issues you might encounter is missing your notes. Now, this is likely to be the case with any new instrument. But the saxophone has a reputation for being something of a slippery customer. You think you know what you’re doing, then it’s gone. Overcoming this simply takes patience and practice, however. And when you grasp the technique, you’ll feel like a superstar.

3. Learning not to slouch!

All wind instruments need you to pay real attention to your posture. It’s the power of your breath that makes the music. So, it stands to reason that you need to get as much air into your lungs as possible. You can’t do that when you’re slouched. For beginners, it’s probably best to stand up when you play. This will help you to develop the muscles you need to play well. You also need to pay attention to the position of your arms and hands, for ease of use and comfort.

4. Embouchure

Ah, this old chestnut! We come back to embouchure almost every time we talk about wind instruments. It refers to the way that you hold your lips on the mouthpiece. And if you get it wrong, you won’t be playing the right notes any time soon. Even if you don’t slouch! The thing to remember when the frustration is mounting is that it’s difficult for everyone at first. Sure, some people grasp the concept sooner than others, and some seem to be naturals, but embouchure is something that improves with time. And again, you’ll feel fantastic when you start to play well.

5. Sax maintenance

OK, so no one likes cleaning. It’s tedious and time-consuming, especially when you want to be off doing something else. But if you want to get the best from your sax, you need to clean it after every use. And you also need to remember to handle it carefully. Despite its size and build, the saxophone is easily damaged, so treat it with care.

We love the saxophone. There are no two ways about it. You can forget the guitar. If you want to look like a real musician while maintaining a sophisticated swagger, the sax is the go-to instrument every time. But like all instruments, it has its hurdles. The good thing is, that if you rent your first saxophone, you can find out if you’ve made the right choice without making a serious investment. And if the sax is for you (or your child), then with an educator-approved rental instrument you have so much room to grow.

Find out how Rent From Home can help you with saxophone rental.