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Beginning Saxophone Skills
The saxophone is an ideal instrument for beginners of all ages. On a difficulty scale of one to ten, the saxophone is a five. The most difficult aspects of playing the saxophone are learning to breathe properly, gaining lung capacity, and coping with the weight of a solid brass instrument. Beginners can quickly learn the basics of playing the saxophone. Unlike some instruments, the saxophone has the same fingering through both octaves, which makes scales easier to learn and remember. Musical experience playing the piano, recorder, clarinet or flute will also help to make the learning curve easier. Most beginners learn to play the saxophone on an alto, however sopranos, tenors, and baritones are popular for different applications and musical styles.

Children can begin playing the saxophone around age ten or as soon as the saxophone can be held comfortably. Depending on size and strength, children usually begin saxophone lessons between third and fifth grade. To play the saxophone, children should be able to reach all of the keys and comfortably hold a five pound instrument standing or sitting or 15 to 20 minutes. Dental development is an important consideration for youngsters taking up woodwind instruments. Braces, overbites, gaps, and missing teeth can make it more difficult to play, however, most students are able to modify their technique with no ill effects. If an alto sax is too cumbersome, a smaller curved soprano is an excellent choice. Adult beginners may also prefer soprano saxophones because the instruments are lighter and require less lung power. Teachers usually recommend softer reeds, such as 1.5, for beginners because they are easier to play and help novices achieve better tone.

Saxophones are single-reed, woodwind instruments most closely related to clarinets. Although saxophones are made from brass, the reed sets them apart from horns and makes them part of the woodwind family. The tone of the saxophone is uniquely soulful, which makes it suitable for all types of music from big band to rock and roll. The saxophone was invented in the mid 1800s by Adolphe Sax, a Belgian clarinetist, flautist, and instrument-maker living in Paris. Combining new innovations with technology of the time, Adophe Sax created a patented, versatile, and adroit woodwind with the power of a brass horn. Since the instrument's invention, it has been most popular as a marching band instrument, which was the saxophone's original purpose. It wasn't until the jazz explosion of the Roaring 20s that the popularity of the saxophone took off.

Artists from John Coltrane to the Rolling Stones have used the sound of the saxophone to create unmistakable music. Today, saxophonists have the opportunity to play in orchestras, marching bands, quartets, and jazz groups. Applications for saxophonists are virtually limitless; operas, musicals, and professional musical groups have used saxophones extensively. Starting with lessons, school band, and youth orchestra, saxophone students can go on to play for college or military marching bands in exchange for scholarships. For fun or work, saxophonists can also find opportunities with pop, rock, and jazz groups. Unlike some instruments, the saxophone is considered to be a cool instrument by children of both genders. Kenny G, Stan Getz, and Junior Walker are a few of the names associated with sax music, however, women are equally recognized for their saxophone talents. Veteran saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom, pop-saxophonist Jessy J, and teenage-prodigy Grace Kelly are a few of the female talents who have achieved a high-level of success with many international accolades. Whatever level of success is achieved, playing the saxophone is a fun hobby that provides life-long skills and enjoyment.

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