You’ve probably spent years admiring those ultra-cool saxophone players. They make the whole process look so effortless, but until you actually pick one up, you never quite know how to hold a saxophone.
If you’re just learning to play, there are a few basics to keep in mind when holding a saxophone:
- Always wear the neck strap.
- The left hand goes on the top and the right hand goes on the bottom.
- Curl your fingers around and touch the keys with your finger tips or place fingers flat on the keys.
- If you want to play sitting down, sit straight up in a chair without arms and slide to the end of the seat.
- Pull the saxophone toward your body .
Make Friends with the Strap
If you’re new to the saxophone playing game, you may think that you’ll just hold the instrument and do without the strap, but the truth is that playing a saxophone without the strap is very challenging. Trust us; you’ll be thankful for the assistance.
Try a variety of different straps to find one that’s comfortable for you. There are a wide variety of saxophone straps on the market, including padded ones, hard cords, and harnesses. To check fit, the hook should fall somewhere in the middle of your chest. Look for a strap that has a quality hook that closes fully and can’t be easily pushed open. You don’t want something that’s going to come undone while you’re in the middle of playing your awe inspiring solo.
Finger placement is something that every new saxophone player needs to learn. Unlike with some other types of instruments, there is no difference in how the saxophone is held for a right handed person versus a left handed person. The first finger of the left hand is placed on the first key at the top of the upper stack. The same positioning should be echoed with the right hand on the lower stack. Some players choose to curl their fingers and wrap them around the instrument, touching the keys with their fingertips. Others opt for straighter finger positioning, touching the keys with the pads of the fingers. Try both to see what feels most comfortable to you.
Thumbs should be positioned on the thumb rests on the back of the instrument. The right thumb rest is a curved bit of brass located just under the neck strap and the left rest is a small button that can be found in about the middle of the back of the instrument’s neck.
Perfect Your Posture
Slouching is not an option when you play the saxophone. In order to remain comfortable and to breathe properly, you must practice good posture habits. If you’re thinking that you’ll start out sitting your usual way and fix your posture habits once you have a better handle on playing, think again.
If you start out playing with poor posture, the habit will be even more difficult to break out of later on. To be in proper playing position your back needs to be relaxed, but straight. Shoulders should also be relaxed and the head should be straight. Being in this position allows a player to breathe freely and also prevents body fatigue.
Some saxophone players stand to play their instruments, but many sit down on a chair. While you may feel you don’t need any sitting lessons as you’ve been sitting your whole life, sitting to play the sax can be a bit different.
First of all, feet should be firmly planted on the floor, as you would have them if you were about to stand. You should sit about halfway up the seat of the chair, so that you’re on it, but not fully back. You don’t want to be so far forward that you’re in danger of slipping off, but you also don’t want to be against the back of the chair as this can restrict your breathing.
Hold Your Position
Once you’re seated correctly, maintain that position. Many new players make the mistake of getting properly situated, but then move towards the instrument rather than bringing the instrument to them. Always bring the instrument towards you and remember that the saxophone is meant to be played on the right side of the body.
Whether you’re just getting started playing the sax or have a long history with the instrument, we have the saxophones and accessories to keep you on track. We carry a wide selection of saxophones, including the ever-popular alto. We also stock an ample array of tenor, soprano, baritone and bass saxophones.
Not sure where to start? No problem. We’re here to help. Stop in anytime and talk to one of our helpful and knowledgeable customer service representatives.