How to Get Good at Sax Quicker Than Your Friends Sonny Stitt - Alto Saxophone

Learning to play an instrument can be much more fun if you are doing it with a friend. But while it’s great to spend time jamming together with your mates, it’s also fun to beat them in their own game.

If you want to impress your sax-playing friends with new skills, here are some great tips for speeding up your learning. While there aren’t any real shortcuts to mastering an instrument, your mentality towards playing influences your ability to learn.

By just changing the way you view your exercises and your learning, you can improve your playing fast.

Find the Right Learning Style

Everyone learns things a bit differently. Some people can read information from a music book and just pick the instrument and play. For some, playing things repeatedly – doing things in practice rather than theory – is more effective.

You might find it easier to use saxophone video lessons, which show you how something is done. On the other hand, it might be enough for you to just listen to someone or just read about it through a music sheet.

The most important thing is to learn what method works best with you. Try to mix your lessons a bit by changing your approach. If you use a tutor, consider adding a few video lessons or theoretical books to see if you actually learn faster that way.

Be Honest about Your Ability

You want to be better than your friends, but a reality check is in place. The best way to truly check your talent? Record yourself playing the saxophone. Pick a song you’d like to be able to play fluently, but perhaps aren’t able to do so.

You won’t need any special recording software for this – just try one of these free apps, for example. As you listen back to your playing, think carefully what parts are the trickiest and which are the smoothest.

Go back to practicing the sections and parts of playing, you don’t yet know fluently. On the other hand, if there are elements you are very good at, don’t spend too much time going through them again.

Don’t Get Stuck in Your Routine

One of the main reasons why many saxophone players stop progressing is their lack of creativity in practice. It’s easy to be stuck in your routine, whether it is what you eat for breakfast or your sax exercise routine.

While you don’t want to skip from exercise to exercise without ever learning any of it fully, you don’t want to stay stuck with a single song or practise until you ‘nail it’. If you feel there’s no progress for a while, try something else – a new approach or a different tune – and get back to your problem a little later.

Focus on the Key Elements

Learning to play the saxophone is a combination of elements. While your friends might be focused on simply playing the instrument, you could get ahead by also listening to more saxophone music.

The key elements for beginner saxophone include: tone, articulation, technique and reading skills. Make sure you pay attention to these, especially at the start, and include exercises in all of the areas. You’ll also want to keep these elements in mind: style, harmony, ear training and inflection.

The above assessment will help you learn faster, play with a more varied technique and focus on the essentials. It’ll surely impress your friends!

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