Day 1 On Saxophone

Leave a comment about how you sounded on day 1! Thanks

Shared this video with others on Sax Station and here are a few things they said:
Annmarie

When I first started out I didn’t try to play a song. I pulled out a book and started with the scales. I started with a note that I could get a sound out of.It was hard because I was short and the buttons were far apart.

I practice d for like 4 hours than day and finally completed one whole song. It sucked but I did it. On day one I probably made peoples ears bleed that day. So my point is to keep trying cause you’ll get there soon enough.

Also I actually started playing today on my birthday seven years ago. I turn 15 today so a good protion of my life was put into playing sax. So again don’t give up you’ll get there.

Neal

Thanks Annmarie!

Jamie

When I started playing I kind of sounded similar…then I really concentrated on listening to the notes from a practice CD but got frustrated because when I play I can’t hear the CD.

Then after practicing some I tried to find the notes of the beginning of Turn the page by Bob Seger and ended up playing the Three Blind mice lol…I had fun and can’t wait to practice tomorrow…
Jamie

Neal

Thanks Jamie

Sean Beswick

I got really frustrated playing at first, I sounded like an old car horn, my dog started howling at me it wasn’t good.

But you get out what you put in, now my dog sits listening to me, so practice as much as you can and it will get better.

I prefer playing sat down, I get a better sound.

Neal

Thanks Sean, glad your dog enjoys your playing more now.

Gray

I think the second guy sounded pretty for a first go. My first go playing sax was on a friends sax that he had just been playing and I asked if I could have a try. He reluctantly let me straight onto his wet mouth piece –a little bit disconcerting to say the least.

gray

My dog also was disturbed. A jack russel, he cocked his head to the side and looked really worried.

Neal

Thanks for sharing Gray. Your dog may have become a bit more accustomed to something out of the ordinary. And as you improve, he probably thinks it’s better.

James

I began playing the saxophone in the 6th grade as is common in the American public school system.

My 6th grade saxophone class consisted of 16 eager young students itching to learn the instrument. For the first week, we played exclusively on the mouthpiece alone as well as the mouthpiece and neck – out of all the students, I was the only one who could not produce a sound… whatsoever.

The entire year, I steadily improved; however, I never reached that pinnacle of achievement – the much-sought-after 1st chair.

Today, I have undergraduate and masters degrees in saxophone performance and am currently in the middle of doctoral work, pursuing a saxophone studio position in higher education. To all those just beginning – there is hope for you! Keep working hard and don’t get too down on yourself. You will experience many ups and downs along the way – just make sure you are having fun and the improvements will come!

Neal

Thanks for sharing James. That’s the same grade I started playing.

Was it just not using enough air that was the problem the first week?

kenny

it was a lot easier for me because i know i to play the trumpet,though there was a challenge with the keys and scales because i never had any formal training on the sax. but i was a lot better than the two.

Neal

That makes sense that playing trumpet made the transition into playing sax easier. The two in the video had never played any wind instrument before. Thanks

Tomi

I sounded, well I still do sound like from between those two examples.
Just got my first sax and never played before any instrument.
This is going to be a huge challenge for me to learn, but I will learn!!
Now i can play the first part of Dire Straits your latest trick.
I just learned with the fingerings showed on black pads.
Still don’t know how to get all the notes out of it…

Neal

Yes, it’s a challenge, but a lot of fun.

Melanie Humphries-Connolly

A car horn or howling werewolf! I recall a neighbour standing on his front porch mimicking a werewolf howl when I first started playing, quite disheartening to say the least but the beginning sounds on sax are not the prettiest sounds as there is so much more to think about with a wind instrument, unlike a piano, guitar, or bass.

I believe it takes a lot more patience, persistence and perseverance to get a good sound and maintain this but it is possible and the end results are magical, just keep practicing 🙂

Neal J

That’s funny, I think it is worth the practice and the practice can also be enjoyable. If you think of of it that way, you’ll probably enjoy the whole process more.

Erwin

There was only the sound of flowing air when I first tried the saxophone.
Then I started to read my wife’s study book for the Alto sax.
It described the technique of embouchure.
I tried again, and behold a true B note came out.
It motivated me in getting a Tenor sax, and study daily to master it.
Now 6 months later, I can play a tune or two. I feel I have come a long way already, and every day there is more to discover.
But I really need some advice of people who play the sax much longer.
That’s why this site is really priceless.
Thanks for that Neal!

Neal

Thanks Erwin, you can check out the classes here too if you would like more help and feedback.

Tom

My first lesson I sounded pretty lame. I’ve had 3 lessons and practice 3-4x a day totaling about 40-60 min. I can play simple tunes.

Neal

One of the points I wanted to get across is that no one sounds amazingly good on day one. There is some variation depending on your experience with music. But even the best sounded pretty similar to everyone else on day 1.

Sounds like you’re getting in a good amount of practice.

Jasmin K

I still don’t sound very good. I have a soprano sax and 2 lessons.
Its still a hit and miss to get the right tones to come out.
the deeper tones seem to turn into a squeek most times. Not sure if I’m putting the mouth piece too loose on the cork,..or if my embrasure just needs to get stronger,.. 🙁
But I fell in love with the sound of a sax and the looks and everything,…:-))
So I’m determined to learn.

Neal

Hey Jasmine,
Leaks in the horn which includes between the cork and the mouthpiece can cause leaks. To check to see if the fit on the cork is the issue, try pushing the mouthpiece on farther temporarily and see what happens. Do that especially if the cork seems worn down. You may be a bit flat, but don’t worry about that for a minute. See if the low notes come out better.

If they do, a temporary solution is to use a hair dryer to dry out the cork on the neck. Or you can use a little paper wrapped around the cork.

And the more permanent solution is to replace the cork.

Phillip Brown

Day 1 was just blowing and blowing more to see what would happen with different key combinations. Then i actually started class the nxt day.

Paul fairchild

Yes, I recall that sound, 25 years ago, the sound of a cow, it was the that sound but I thought, in a years time I’m going to sound like sanborne, I had his sheet music albums, why not ,just practice makes perfect, but how wrong I was. I even had a teacher for two years, but all the above won’t make any difference

What you need is the desire to want to do it and and practice and practice correctly can’t over emphasize this ,it so, so important ,do not move on if you get stuck on something and learn all your scale,s ,keep practicing

Paul Fairchild

Neal

Thanks for sharing Paul

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Ron W. June 20, 2014 at 8:33 pm

When I first started my sound alternated between honking and squeaking. For quite awhile, I would get the squeaking on the high register as I tended to tighten too much on the reed on the highest notes. Low Bb was also tough. It take alot of air but with control. Just played tonight first time in 6 months. Tired after 20 minutes.

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Wagner Rodrigues August 12, 2014 at 11:14 am

When I started on the saxophone since I was 10 years old he played trombone and knew how to playing long notes first, then I studied the notes and positions, then scales. It was easy because having already played another instrument. But if I had started the saxophone would have enough trouble.

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Neal August 12, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Thanks Wagner,
Interesting perspective you have there with the experience on the trombone.

I played clarinet for a little while before also starting to play the saxophone. Similar in a lot of ways.

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Rich F September 20, 2014 at 2:23 am

When I started to play I sounded very similar to the examples played in the clip. I struggled with the finger movements, as I used to play a euphonium and was used to just using one hand to press the valves to play the notes!

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Neal September 20, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Interesting, haven’t heard of many who have gone from euphonium to saxophone!

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Rich F September 21, 2014 at 8:43 am

About 30 year gap between them too!!

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Vincent Gaglio October 29, 2014 at 2:02 pm

I fid not sound that good thr first day. I got a souund tjat was very loud or no sound at all. my first day was March this year, sometimes I don’t sound any better, vinny

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Vincent Gaglio May 27, 2015 at 3:31 pm

My first day I was able to get a sound, however that sound was either very loud or very thin OR JUST AIR, I remember being frustrated with trying ti figure out how much of my mouth or how very little goes into the mouthpiece,

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David Isaacs June 8, 2015 at 3:12 pm

My first day the sound of air and heavy breathing. After a rest I tried again and did get some squeeks.
Dave

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Rodney Hamler July 16, 2015 at 6:12 pm

My first day i could not get a sound. I kept trying and the harder i blew the sound finally came out. I hung in there and the first song i learn to play was Mary had a little lamb. That was neat being a 7th grader.

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Rosemary Matos-Idiarte August 18, 2015 at 6:24 am

The First time I tried to make a sound nothing came out. I tried several times and no luck. So I moved my lips lower on the embouchure there I found my notes. My first song played was Amazing Grace as a beginner I played it for my family.

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Philip M September 23, 2015 at 6:54 am

First started some time ago, so don’t remember all the problems…but an important one is to get the breathing right and to remember how important the body is to the sound…the bigger part of the sound comes from thinking about the note and making your body part of the instrument.

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Calvin C November 4, 2016 at 12:06 pm

I sounded really bad my first day. Squealed like a baby pig just trying to make the B sound lol I don’t think that whole week I made the write note.

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Neal November 4, 2016 at 12:42 pm

That’s fine, people may catch on a little quicker or faster, but not too much different most of the time. If anyone tells me they sounded good on their first day, I’m very skeptical.

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Y. Rideaux November 10, 2016 at 7:41 pm

On day 1, I sounded like a old bus was blowing its horn – for many days. I refused to give up. My step father would always say oh my goodness -you are just making noise. I ingnored him and played with door closed.

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Calvin Comer November 11, 2016 at 12:25 pm

LOL my wife that the same thing just keep working at it and you probably sound great now

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Wilkens E December 3, 2016 at 8:54 am

It has been a minute, but I remember when I started, I couldn’t play anything below E or anything hire than C-sharp on my alto sax.

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Neal December 3, 2016 at 12:21 pm

Thanks for sharing, that seems about right. Takes some time to expand the range.

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Arron Humber January 29, 2017 at 7:39 am

I only started 3 weeks ago and sounded just like the video lol practice makes perfect

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Neal January 30, 2017 at 11:24 am

Yes, you’ll definitely improve with some work.

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trevor rowlatt July 28, 2017 at 9:03 am

Had a lot of trouble just getting any sound out of the sax to start but you just have to keep blowing.

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Neal July 28, 2017 at 10:58 am

Thanks for sharing

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Davor M. November 3, 2017 at 4:13 am

Well I started not long time ago so sometimes I still sound some of the examples, especially after I am practicing for more than 1.5-2 hours

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Trish M January 22, 2018 at 4:43 am

On day 1 of taking out the Soprano after years, the hardest thing was getting enough breath to make a sound. Intonation was, and is, still an issue. I could not get low notes so was terribly squeaky.

Now for the canine test:
Day 1. The dog would not stay in the room.

After a couple of weeks, the dog would stay in the room but look shiftily at the saxophone as if it may attack her.

Now she stays in the room happily and feels safe enough to make eye contact.

I consider this progress lol!

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Neal January 22, 2018 at 12:15 pm

That’s good.

Do you think someone else could play notes on your horn? Possible it needs repair or it’s in good shape?

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Larry Webb February 8, 2018 at 1:51 pm

I studied up on how to play before I got my sax. Using a 1.5 reed, I was able to get a decent sound (certainly not a good sound) right from the beginning. At least my wife said it wasn’t too bad, but then I noticed the cotton in her ears. My problem was playing too loud. I couldn’t control the volume.

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Anouk Radix July 22, 2018 at 2:15 am

I am not sure how I sounded when I started. I was 10 when I started playing the sax that was in 1995. I started on the alto. I barely practiced though because at that point I was not very motivated. I lived far away from home during the weeks and hauled my sax there and back but did not practice a lot. I remember once playing the lambada in a band thatI was in and conquest of paradise as well.
By the time I started high school I stopped playing the saxophone altogether and it gathered dust till summer of last year. Now I do remember how I sounded then: first not very controlled and I had to get used to the instrument again but I thought I had fallen out of love with its tone but that was not true. It took some doing to find the RIGHT way to practice and motivate myself to get results but it has happened and I am extremely glad that I took up this beautiful instrument again and feel certain I will stick with it this time and become the best I can.

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