4 Essential Exercises for Sax Players beach-735558_1280

Practice makes perfect – but it’s not just about the amount of practice with the saxophone, it’s also about the quality of the exercise. Your sax practice should be a variety of different things, as it’s the only way to guarantee you improve your skill set in different technical aspects of playing.

To help you out, we’ve included some of the most essential exercises to help you master the saxophone. If you want to add variety and creativity to your music lessons, then check out these fun exercises.

Plain and Simple

First, you must have a good understanding of the notes and the accidentals. You don’t have to be able to play them perfectly, but you should have the fingering of the note in mind as you see it.

You could play these exercises in all the keys – in fact, you should try to progress as you advance. But for the clean and simple exercise, you should start with the key C, F and G.

Play the following sequence:

C F# C# G# D# A# E# Bb Eb F# C# G# D# Bb Eb Ab F# C# G# D# F#C# G# Bb Eb Ab Db F# C# Bb Eb Ab Db Gb F# Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb

You should use a metronome to keep the pace and take it slowly, as you mix between different keys. As you get better, you can continue speeding up and playing as fast as possible!

Fast and Advanced

If you are comfortable with your sax skills and want to step it up a notch, try the following exercise. You should play the sequence in A, E, D, B, G, and F key to truly test your skills.

This tests your understanding of the arpeggios. Play the following sequence:

C F F# Bb B Eb E A Ab D Db G Gb

Try to be experimental with the tempo. Try to be as fast as possible without making a mistake, but add variation to your tempo of play as well. You could even add a different backing track to support your practice.

High and Hard

This exercise helps you practice the higher notes. As you play, try to maintain a solid ‘O’ shape with your lip and an ‘EEE’ tongue position.

The key for higher notes is about relaxation. You don’t want to be forcing them, but rather have the note come naturally to you. If you feel it’s hard to do, just try some of these exercises.

In a high key, play the following loop:

D B A F D# E C#

Low and Steady

As well as hitting the high notes perfectly, you’ll also want to get down with the lower loops. Again, it is important to hold the right embouchurewith these exercises.

Try to avoid over-blowing by using enough air for each note.

Play the following loop in the lowest key possible:


The above four different exercises will hopefully help you master the saxophone in no time. It’s important to mix your exercises a bit and add these random loops to your playing.

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