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How to Learn Saxophone by Yourself? [Beginner Guide]

Learning how to play a musical instrument from scratch is quite fascinating. Well, at least it’s for me.

And despite the challenges that come with mastering a new instrument such as a saxophone, it’s always fulfilling to see yourself achieving your goals.

Be it for daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly objectives.

So, if you just bought your first sax and don’t know how to begin, you aren’t alone. A million of other beginners are in the same dilemma as you.

In today’s article, we seek to give you some amazing secrets on how to learn a saxophone by yourself.

Get your notebook ready, and let’s get started;

Can I learn a saxophone on my own?

First things first; Yes, you can learn sax on your own.

In fact, most of those sax legends you admire will tell you that they learned to play their first instrument by themselves.

It’s all about putting your mind into it and pressing on until you achieve your objectives, just the same way you learn cooking various recipes by trial and error.

The good thing is that nowadays there are a lot of resources you can refer to, thanks to the availability of the internet, which is the greatest free resource you can find under the sun.

And ooh yes, you must also be ready to learn from other musicians.

So, listening to other performers play isn’t going to be an option.

For instance, if you love tenor sax, then you should identify a few top-notch musicians and make listening to their tunes your everyday business.

Remember, we become what we feed ourselves. So, if you feed your mind so much tenor sax music, then it won’t be difficult for you to mimic the various sounds as you play.

This will be your number one ticket into the formation of your signature tune. You need one. Every artist needs a signature tune that introduces them to the crowd.

But, before you jump with joy and think it’s all merry and effortless, you have to keep the following in mind;

  1. Get a saxophone; this might come as an obvious, but don’t start planning on how you’re going to play if you don’t have the type of sax you need.

You can start by renting, borrowing, or buying. Watching videos won’t help you learn to play if you don’t have a sax to experiment with.

  1. Play your favorite music; let your passion lead you into the kind of music you choose to play. Don’t just play for the sake of it or simply because most of your friends are playing a specific genre.

You will need passion to keep going even when you feel like giving up.

  1. Play your sax often; ensure you set time aside every day to play your instrument. The more often and longer you play, the quicker it will be to learn. If you’re consistent you will be pleased with your sounds in 1-3 months!
  2. Have fun; if you can’t have fun playing, then you won’t last long trying! You should always look forward to your learning sessions.
  3. Don’t pressurize yourself; be realistic and set the goals you want to achieve right from the beginning.

They should include daily, weekly and monthly goals.

If you pile up expectations, then you are pound to pressure yourself into fulfilling them and it will be frustrating.

The last thing you want is to work under pressure because you won’t achieve much.

Is it hard to learn the saxophone?

Among the wind musical instruments, the sax is often considered as the easiest to learn.

This is because the invention of the saxophone took place around 1846 when the world had already experienced a historical awakening.

And because of this, the keying of the sax was very particular and practical, which saved it from the complexity we witness in other earlier invested instruments.

Additionally, when you blow the sax through the octave, you will realize that you will be using the same fingerings for both the lower and higher notes.

So, this typically makes learning the saxophone the easiest as compared to other wind instruments, within its category.

But, there’s always another side of the coin in every story. And this one isn’t any different.

Although the saxophone remains to be the easiest to learn, it is also one of the most complex musical instruments (wind) to master.


Even after learning the basics of saxophone playing, it’s impossible to master all its aspects overnight.

The sax comes in a wide range of tones and sounds. And getting to find your way around achieving optimum control of the instrument to achieve them all, will take you years and even the rest of your professional playing, considering evolutions take place almost every day.

You will have to develop a passion to learn from other performers who’re better than you, studying with sax instructors and listening to others play to slowly find your way into your distinct space.

And all this will hugely depend on your passion, dedication, and curiosity to discover new things.

The number one rule you should operate on is that what might appear hard for you, is easy to another sax player and vice versa.

So, don’t isolate yourself from the world of saxophone music. Life and breathe sax, and within no time, others will be learning from you!

To answer your question; I would categorically like to restate that, learning the saxophone is pretty easy. But, it’s the art of mastering it that’s the most difficult, and ironically the most important.

So, be ready to push yourself!

Which saxophone is the best for a beginner?

As a beginner, the type of sax you choose will largely contribute to how fast you learn to play it.

Some models are a bit complex, thus not suitable for learners, while others are simple, which is what you need.

And although some individuals state that brands shouldn’t matter when selecting a saxophone for your first training, I believe otherwise; a good brand can take you places.

It will not only offer you durability but also considers your level of learning to ensure you receive a sax that’s easy to play.

Also, getting a sax from a famous brand will guarantee you the manufacturer’s warranty in case of faults that can be traced to them.

You will also get to benefit from their caring  customer support, which is what you need especially when trying to set-up your instrument or experiencing issues.

That said, there are various great beginner-friendly saxophones from various popular manufacturers in the market.

But among them, my best pick for beginners, in terms of quality and pricing go to;

  1. YAMAHA YAS-280 Saxophones Student Alto saxophones.

It’s a great investment that will serve you for a while, without a need to upgrade to a pro instrument, until really necessary.

  1. Mendini by Cecilio E-Flat Alto Saxophone MAS-L+92D+PB.

It’s budget-friendly, offers optimum comfort, and comes with complete extra accessories to assure you of reliability and durability.

How to Learn Saxophone at Home by Yourself

Now that you already know that it’s possible to learn sax at home by yourself, and know the amazing tips that will help do it quickly, it’s time to examine the learning methods that you can use.

  1. YouTube Videos

YouTube is literally the modern-day life-saver, especially when it comes to hacking various skills.

It’s often said that a photo is worth than a 1000 words, so you can now imagine the value of a single video.

Watching a video is the best demonstration you can ever find about playing your sax.  Remember, your mind finds it easy to retain what you see.

There are numerous videos on beginner-friendly saxophone lessons and tips. Watch them, with your sax in hand, and imitate what you see.

The best part is that you get to repeat the videos as much as necessary. That too, free of charge!

How cool can it get?

  1. Online Courses and Lessons

I already said it; there’s no information under the sun that you can’t find online!

So, if you’ve internet access, then there’s no limit to how much information you can gather concerning sax playing and anything there about.

Most of these courses are free, so no excuse for operating on a tight budget. And even if they are charging, the amount is little depending on the information you receive.

Also, you will receive written, audio, and video content, so you get to choose the one that works best for you.

Some of the famous sites where you can get these lessons to include Artistworks, Udemy, YouTube, among others.

  1. Listening to professional Sax musicians

There’s no better way to learn than learning from the finest in the saxophone industry.

So, if you haven’t been listening to numerous Saxophonists, now is the time to get as many jams as possible and get to listen and watch as much as you can.

The type of music you settle on, however, should depend on the type of music you want to play.

It could be jazz, pop, or even classical.

Remember, your minds need a little motivation now and then. So, it will be easy for you to pick tunes from within avoiding seasonal “dryness”.

  1. Apps

Technology is amazing and timely.

Now, you can easily install a few Apps on your smartphone and you will be ready for sax training!

So, if your phone supports either Apple Appstore or Google Play store, you can download the sax training within a few minutes and get to practice wherever you’re.

It’s a free world after all!

  1. Learn Some Breathing Techniques

If you want to be a pro saxophonist, then you have to master the art of breathe control.

There’s no other way around it.

And for this, you might have to undertake various exercises to help train your diaphragm on how to open voluntarily and your throat on how to remain open and relaxed.

The good thing is that you can find all these techniques online. And you will also have to learn others through trial and error. And that’s where the fun lies.

Remember, it’s you focused on success. So, let nothing stop you!

Free Online Saxophone Lessons for Beginners

You don’t have to have money to learn sax from home.

There are numerous free online saxophone lessons you can access to pull yourself through the beginner tag. And some of them include;

  1. Rico’s YouTube Channel

I can’t insist enough on the important role YouTube plays in ensuring beginner saxophonists access the necessary materials they require to prosper.

Such a good example is Rico’s YouTube channel, which comprises of various beginner-friendly video lessons by sax professionals such as Jerry Bergonzi, Kenny G, among others.

And to top it all, these lessons are free. Don’t say no one told you!

  1. Randy Hunter Jazz

Yes, most of the content on this site might not be free, but you will definitely come across an incredible amount of free information that you can use in your sax lessons.

You also get to download various jazz sax transcripts in the form of PDFs and MP3, which will be helpful in your training.

  1. Dan Christian Website

Famous saxophonist Dan Christian is generous enough to offer some amazing collection of videos on this site that are beginner-friendly.

You will love how well organized the site is, thus making it easy for you to locate anything they’re offering.

So, what are you waiting for? Head there and see how it unfolds!

FAQs About How To Learn Saxophone

How long does it take to learn saxophone?

It shouldn’t take you long to learn how to play your sax.

Of course, assuming that you already have all the equipment you need, you are dedicated and passionate about it.

You simply have to master the art of finger moving and you will be playing pretty well within a couple of months. Well, if you practice often, you won’t take that much time.

The best thing is that once you get above the 2nd octave, everything else will easily flow.

Remember, it all boils down to how devoted you’re and how great your memory is.

Is saxophone harder than the guitar?

With a sax, it will take you some time before you can play a sound worth listening to.

But with a guitar, you can easily learn some chords and be playing your simple pretty well in a day or two.

That said, I acknowledge that some individuals find it difficult to play the guitar. And it would even take them a while to master simple chords even with decent practice.

So, as you can see, when it comes to professional musical instruments playing, all instruments can be difficult or easy to play, depending on the individual.

How much does a saxophone cost?

The market is flooded with various models of saxophones and they all sell at different prices.

But to give you an idea of what to expect, you can easily find an average quality sax from around $500-$1000.

And if you don’t mind starting with low quality, you can find one from around $200.

The professional saxophones are the most expensive ones and you can get one from around $3000.

How many keys are on a saxophone?

The left hand of your sax contains 4 pearl keys. Most intermediate and professional instruments have a high F plus.

Also, there are 4 pinkie keys and 3 hook keys.

And lastly, we have the octave key.

So, all combined that should be 13 or 12 keys depending on the type of sax you have.


The saxophone is one of the most diverse wind instruments you can ever come across.

It’s fun to play and it serenades like no other instrument.

But, to achieve that wowing professional tone, you have to invest time to learn your instrument.

It could be by hiring a tutor or doing it by yourself.

If you decide to learn at home by yourself then you have to showcase as much patient and persistence as you would if in a competition of other sax players.

This combined with listening to legends play, using online resources, will let you spread your wings without restrictions

And you will need to be passionate about playing if you want to rise and make a name for yourself.

Lee Cardwell
Owner and Chief Editor of Music Tech Hub. I play banjo, mandolin and I am currently learning how to play the harmonica.

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