From Zero to Hero: How to Progress From a Beginner to an Intermediate Alto Saxophonist


The alto saxophone is a fantastic instrument providing joy to millions of people for over a century. Its sound is instantly recognizable and has become a jazz, blues, and popular music staple.

The alto saxophone is an excellent instrument for beginner saxophonists, and as you progress, you will find that there is always something new to learn and explore.

In this post, you’ll learn:

  • The saxophone family
  • The importance of learning the basics of saxophones
  • What you need to know to be an intermediate alto saxophonist

So if you have been practicing the beginner’s alto saxophone for a few days or months now and starting to get the hang of it, this blog post is for you!

Meet The Saxophone Family

The saxophone family is a diverse and dynamic group bursting with character and individual expression. The saxophone family consists of four principal members, including:

  1. Soprano Saxophone – The smallest and highest-pitched member of the saxophone family, often used in classical music, jazz, and other genres.
  2. Alto Saxophone – A medium-sized saxophone slightly larger than the soprano saxophone, producing a warm and mellow sound. It is one of the most commonly played saxophones.
  3. Tenor Saxophone – A larger saxophone with a deeper and richer sound than the alto saxophone. The tenor sax is often used in jazz and other genres.
  4. Baritone Saxophone – The largest saxophone in the family, with the lowest pitch. It produces a powerful, deep sound often used in jazz and classical music.

When playing sax, choosing the right saxophone is important based on your skill level, preferences, and the kind of music you wish to play. The tenor saxophone, in particular, is a popular choice among intermediate and advanced players for its versatility and rich sound.

The Importance of Learning The Basics Of Saxophones

Learning the basics about saxophones is crucial to becoming a competent saxophone player. Whether you invest in one of the best alto saxophones or pre-owned ones, the fundamentals of learning how to play are still necessary.

If you don’t know about fingering, embouchure, and making sounds, it will be hard to start playing the sax. One way to get better at these skills is to take lessons from professionals, but you can also learn a lot on your own.

For instance, most woodwind instruments work best when the reed and mouthpiece are adjusted correctly. Therefore, learning these basics will help you make the best music possible with your new instrument.

7 Important Things You Should Know As a Beginner Saxophonist

1. Practice sessions

One of the most important aspects of saxophone playing is regular practice sessions. As a beginner saxophone player, you should practice every day, even if it is only for a short time. A daily practice session will help you develop good habits and build your skills more quickly. As you progress, you must dedicate more time to your practice sessions.

2. Music theory

Music theory is an essential aspect of saxophone playing. As a beginner saxophonist, you should learn the basics of music theory, such as the major and minor scales and how they are used in different musical styles. Learning music theory will help you understand the structure of music and how to play different styles of music.

3. Choosing the right saxophone

When you are starting as a beginner saxophonist, it is important to choose the right saxophone. There are many different types of saxophones, including the soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones. The alto saxophone is the most popular choice for beginner saxophonists and the most affordable. When choosing a saxophone, it is important to choose a good quality instrument that is properly set up and adjusted.

4. Finding a good teacher

Best student saxophone players entail having a good teacher. They will help you develop good playing habits, improve your tone production, and guide you through the challenges of learning to play the saxophone. It is important to find a knowledgeable, experienced teacher who can provide you with the guidance and support you need to progress.

5. Saxophone cost

The cost of a saxophone can vary widely, depending on the type of saxophone you choose and the quality of the instrument. As a beginner saxophonist, choosing an affordable and good-quality saxophone is important. You may also need to purchase other equipment, such as a saxophone mouthpiece, a neck strap, and an instrument stand.

6. Playing scales

Playing scales is an essential aspect of saxophone playing. Scales are a series of notes played in ascending or descending order, and they are used to help you develop your finger dexterity and improve your tone production. As you progress, you should practice playing scales in different keys and focus on playing them with a good tone and proper rhythm.

7. Tone production

Tone production is an important aspect of saxophone playing. A good tone is essential to playing beautiful music, and developing a good tone takes time and practice. As a beginner saxophonist, you should focus on developing good breath control and playing with a relaxed mouth.

How Can Sax School Online Help You Progress From Novice to Pro Sax Player?

Sax School Online is the best resource for turning a novice sax player into a professional. Their curriculum includes everything from lessons in theory and technique to ear training and best practices for improvisation, all taught by some of the best alto saxophone players.

With interactive classes, students can have quality saxophone lessons. Each online session is tailored to the individual’s learning needs with a structured practice routine that ensures progress between sessions. The best part about Sax School Online is that it isn’t restricted to a single geographic location—you can become a pro wherever you are!

Final Thoughts

All great musicians started out as complete beginners and worked their way up to becoming skilled, experienced, and sure of themselves. Becoming an intermediate alto saxophone player is no different. To go from a beginner to an intermediate player, you must be committed, work hard, and practice a lot.

The most important thing is to keep pushing yourself and strive to improve. Think back on your strengths, weaknesses, and goals to identify the areas for improvement. Have faith in your capabilities, and never be afraid of taking risks.

If you learn from your mistakes and come out wiser than before, you will be well on the way to mastering the art of playing the Alto Saxophone!

© 2023, Seth “Digital Crates” Barmash. All rights reserved.