Master Your Saxophone - Designed for beginners and those wanting to brush up on their technique | Sarah Saxophone | Skillshare

Master Your Saxophone - Designed for beginners and those wanting to brush up on their technique

Sarah Saxophone, Musicians, Creative and Fitness

Master Your Saxophone - Designed for beginners and those wanting to brush up on their technique

Sarah Saxophone, Musicians, Creative and Fitness

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15 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. Skill Share Foundations Intro

    • 2. Setting Up The Mouth Piece

    • 3. Setting Up Saxophone

    • 4. The Embouchure

    • 5. The Sling

    • 6. The Diaphragm

    • 7. Playing First Notes

    • 8. Blowing Air Through Your Instrument

    • 9. Your Vocal Chambers

    • 10. G Major Scale

    • 11. D major scale #2

    • 12. G and D Major Arpeggio #2

    • 13. Tonguing Technique

    • 14. Reeds

    • 15. Final Thoughts & How to Practise

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About This Class

Sarah Saxophone has created a series of online courses that take you step by step through the foundations of playing the saxophone. The course is made up a series of 10 – 15 videos lasting between 2 – 4 minutes each. These videos will walk you through every step of the way, whether you are learning the saxophone for the first time or looking to progress your technique and learn to play the famous sax solo, Baker Street. It is recommended you complete Sarah’s foundation course even if you have been playing the saxophone for a while. The information Sarah shares with you is that of which she obtained from studying her Bachelors of Music at one of the most prestigious Music Colleges in the world, Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Whilst studying at Guildhall School of Music and Drama Sarah trained with John Harle, Simon Harem, Christian Foreshaw and Rob Buckland from the Apollo Saxophone Quartet. Sarah gets you playing like a pro right from your foundations in learning to play the saxophone. Follow her on Instagram and tag her in your progress @sarahlouiseings.

Why study with Sarah?

Sarah has had a breadth of experience performing as a professional saxophonist from recitals at the Purcell Rooms, Queen Elizabeth Hall London, TV performances; including TFI Friday comeback where she arranged the music for the saxophone section, producing and performing in shows for the Underbelly Festival London, to tours with Yamaha and Classic FM. Sarah has headlined worldwide, shared stages with Peter Andre, Katherine Jenkins and Lionel Richie, toured with Jonathan Antoine and performed Pop sax with DJs across Europe. She has a wide knowledge of her instrument across multiple genres which she will share with you from her experience and career as a professional saxophonist. Sharing tips from the pros learnt from some of the most prestigious saxophonists in the world.

Sarah says, ‘It is important you establish good technique, you must build on good foundations. It is so hard to unlearn poor technique…. People tell me about their online learning experiences from youtube. I am sure there are some good tutors on youtube but it is a minefield, you cannot guarantee that the advice being shared is qualified.’ In these courses I have carefully planned out every step for you as if I was teaching 1 – 2 – 1, I look at the problems you may be encountering, how to overcome then and what to practise.’

Who are Sarah’s Online Saxophone Courses suited to?

Whether you are a beginner or intermediate level we highly recommend doing Sarah’s foundations course. Once you have mastered this you can move on to the more advanced techniques covered in ‘Learn to Play Baker Street’.

Meet Your Teacher

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Sarah Saxophone

Musicians, Creative and Fitness


Hello, I'm Sarah.

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1. Skill Share Foundations Intro: I'm super excited to get you started on your foundations cools who playing the saxophone? We're gonna discuss everything from the initial to the diaphragm and setting up your instrument for the fast time. Practice makes perfect. So I've curated lots of tutorials. Second guy into theory and show you what to practice to get you playing very fast piece on the satisfying, sorry, what you write in full. Let's get Fawcett And I'll see you in your next lesson. 2. Setting Up The Mouth Piece: Hello, and today I'd like to look at putting together saxophone. And we're gonna look at the reed and the mouthpiece and seeing how all that works. First of all, when you take the mouthpiece of the instrument, you're gonna put it onto the Kirk and make sure it's in line with this line here usually have almost saxophones. From here we're gonna take the reads. The reed is best. Straight into mouthfuls. You're getting your instrument ready. Obviously I'm not gonna do that today for you exhaust struggle to talk and have this in my mouth. But essentially, you're going to wet the reads and then place it onto your mouthpiece. I advise taking the ligature and putting that on fast. Otherwise, if you do it the other way, you can break the read and knees. Quite delicate and costs a lot of money. So you wanna keep this as good as possible for as long as possible. In putting the ligature arm, you can slide the read down onto the mouthpiece and positioning into the center. I hold it with the thumb of the my left thumb and I'm pushing the read into the center, checking that it's even either side. You can see I've got my hand on the other side of it too. Had just helps it all stem position balls. Do you then tighten up the ligature? Once I've done that, I check either side again just to make sure that this read has not moved either side. What can happen when people set it up is you end up with a bit of a on even lay on the mouthpiece. So you just check it by using your fingers you decide, and then tighten up from there. Another point you want to do is the height in which the read is going to be on the mouthpiece. You don't want it too low, you don't want it too high when it nice. And even here, I have actually sell it to low. I'm going to exaggerate it for you. So you can see, I mean, this is very exaggerated. I'm sure none of you would set up like this. But if you sing Black above the tip of the reed, you're getting into too low down equally, you can have it too high. Going off as too high, you'll start seeing the read above the mouthpiece. So you want to get it nice. Myosin Center. I'd like to see a tiny, tiny black line, a push the V8 against the mouthpiece. You can see just a tiny black liner. And that's how you know, you've got it right. Again, some little tips. Beginners, when they set up their instruments, they think that they really have to tighten this ligand show really, really tight is not the case. If you do that your strangle the read and it stops it vibrating so much. You want a nice tight enough so it doesn't move up or not to strangle. This vibration is what's gonna get either really great sound when she got that all set up on your mouth, on your instrument, you're all set up and ready to go. 3. Setting Up Saxophone: And in this tutorial, I'd like to look at how to set up the instrument. So hopefully you've watched less than one where we've taken the mouthpiece and setup the reads from a hair. We're looking at how the current goes onto the instrument and how you bring the instrument yourself to play. What I'd like to remind you and ask you to remember every time you setting up instrument, they've got four components to your saxophone. You, For the mouth piece, you've got the Kirk, the body of the instrument. And then for the slang, which plays a really, really important part in playing the saxophone, all of this can move. And thus what you should remember your instrument meets to You don't move to the instrument. So as I put this Kirchoff, I look at how my instrument is balancing on the slang and how this then moves with that balance towards my mouth, as you can see, with the balance of my sling and the way this is going towards me, this Kirk is way past where my mouth on my head is. If I was live it here, you'd find yourself moving to your instrument. That actually happens a lot in Beginners. They sap that instrument, they move to the instrument. We want the instrument to move to you. So as I'm moves us towards my mouth, I think where's my mouth and where do I want this to go? As you can see him moving that it will now go closer to my mouth. It might take several times to set that up. As you do. You'll see the loop goes and more easily. It's not just the crook you wanna think about is also the mouthpiece. In the mouthpiece and setting up the mouthpiece tutorial would've seen, I've asked you to keep this in line with the line that you have in the back of the crook that helps you set it up more sent centrally to mouth. Can just double-check it when you're going in. You want to think is this feelings center? Do my top teeth rest on top of the mouthpiece? Okay. Or am I finding that I have to move my head and anyway, to make that feel comfortable, it's difficult for me to demonstrate that fully t because my mouth isn't clear and you can't you can't see what's going on. So you are going to have to use your senses little bit to see if that feels like it's balancing nicely for me. But essentially the top teeth are resting on top of the mouthpiece and then you're going to just steal your mouth around to make yourselves. I will talk about that a little bit more in another tutorial. But for now I just want to see rocks. This instrument is in tension from this link to go centrally into your mouth. And then hopefully that feels nice and central and inline for you. Can also do this by looking into a mirror. This is something I did for years and years and years and years of setting up my instrument. When you're in front of a mirror, you just think to yourself, is anything moving? Am I moving my head and my moving to the side and we're moving my body and cancel that out and make sure instruments during the walk use sling and stay in mice and center with your posture. 4. The Embouchure: In this tutorial, I'd like to talk to you about the armature is one of the most important parts of playing the saxophone. And I'd like to help you get it right, right from the beginning. So what we do is we take our top set of teeth and we place them on top of the mouthpiece. From there, we take a bottom lip and we push that over our bottom set of teeth, creating a nice cushy him. Then as we put the instrument in our mouth, our mouth to seals around the mouthpiece, creating a nice frown shape in order to stop any air escaping. It's important to note the difference between a clarinet on brochure and a saxophone on brochure. With the clarinet, you have really nice smell too in smoke, but with a saxophone really are just creating this really nice brown shape. And that's quite important because affects the tone and Santa few instrument. 5. The Sling: Hello and welcome to lesson on the sling. This might feel like a really obscure lesson to have, but it's actually a really important part of plan saxophone and it helps you and enables you to play you into more easily. So choosing the right slang for me is really important. You'll notice the aipac, she gone for a really thin slang. This is different. What most people will go for if you choose one of the things with the massive padding around them, which most people will do because I think it's more comfortable. What it actually does is then pulling your hours and close all of the styles. And it stops you from being able to blow the air out of your body freely and gives you a more strained sound to instrument. It's kind of one of the top tips from the pro-Israeli wouldn't really be told this as a beginner, but it really is very important. And the sooner you can switch to the better equipment, the better and more easily you will going to be able to play your instrument. You will notice I've tied a little knot in my sling. Again, this is one of the inside secrets from OS pros. And in doing that it makes the sling the mole correct length field. He may find having the longest links fine. But as you put it around your neck, if this was longer, you'd find that I had to pull this right up nice and high to get the instrument and the right height. And again, you can see by doing that, I'm putting lots of pressure on my airways and closing it in. So by putting the Nazi made sling, I've been able to adjust this high so I don't have to strangle my airways. Then when I attach it to my instrument and that's dragging this down, it's not causing the same amount of pressures if I have a tightened sling there. So I hope that it's been a little bit of use to you and you can go shopping for a nice, nice thing today. 6. The Diaphragm: Hello, and in today's tutorial, I'd like to talk to you a little bit about how to breed and how we engage the diaphragm for paying any winded to him. Some of you might think that all of the air is taken in by your lungs and it's just an expansion of the chest. The creates the act then pushed through your instrument. But actually we want to start involving the diaphragm. You can practice this by placing your hands. Just blow you replace your diaphragm is you'll find just in here, if you place your hands on your ribcage and then taken at trying to expand, it's like a big balloon. I'm just gonna turn to the side to show you this. Placing the hands him going to breathe in over four counts. With any wind instrument, you're going to breathe into your mouth, not through your nose. So taken in the last big breath. And then using that muscle to them, push out the air. And that's what's gonna create your really lovely sand on the instrument so that you can practice at home, placing your hand on your diaphragm. Practice drawing in the ad distinct filling up the tummy. And as you do so, you've really got to let this come out. And then back in. You can practice by over four or eight counts, making sure the shoulders up maybe you don't want to see your chest rising. It's the diaphragm area that you want to fill out like a balloon. She her, you can omit that and we'll talk about this again in another tutorial. 7. Playing First Notes: Hello. And today I'd like to talk to you about making your fast notes on your instrument. So we've hopefully works how to setup your instrument, how to blow your instrument. And today we're gonna talk about your fast 3-nodes. We're gonna learn BY a and G. I love these notes. They're really nice and easy to play on the instrument that fit and a really nice range, and a great way to start for a beginner. When you're playing your nights, I want you to have a slightly rounded finger. So by using the tips of your fingers here, you can get more control of your instrument. Some people will play flat thing. It is really bad habit to get into and it stops, you haven't controlled. So let start really good right from the start. And we're going to use b, a, and G with online surrounded fingers. If you've watched the tutorial on how to blow your already know how to do that sovereignty to explain that to you today. Previous easier on Bashar remembering Keep it nice amount and just blow straight through your instrument as you do. So you just literally put down, BY keeping of B finger down, he placed a and then keeping those two down in place g. So you go 123 and they can also go back up GAP. 8. Blowing Air Through Your Instrument: In our last tutorial, we spoke a little bit about the diaphragm and how that works. In this video, I'd like to look at how we then translate that to blowing through our instrument. So you're going to do exactly the same thing, going to breathe in over four counts as you do so really focus on your, your diaphragm pushing out, expanding so you can take in as much as you want and then push it down the instrument. To practice, especially for a beginner, is really nice to just take the crook of the instrument and just practice blowing air through this fast. But also allows you to focus a little bit on the embouchure is by making sure that's all been set up nicely. And these time to feel real comfortable with how your body and your instrument works together. So breathing in over four counts and we want you to take an lice mount of, and then just push that down the crook of your instrument. As you do that, try and practice that in front of a mirror and maybe watch to see if your shoulders moving trying to make sure that this is down to you, not just inflating here, that you're coming all the way down to your diaphragm and this is expanding. Have a practice with that. When she feeling comfortable with that, you can move on to your manteia instrument and see how that works for me. I'll just demonstrate a little bit of that now. So when you're trying to make a sound with your entire instrument using exactly the same techniques as you've done previously. So breathing in I for, for you then going to push the app using the diaphragm to support the aft flight so you get a nice controlled sound on your instrument. Need to think about the air stream going entirely through the correct on the body of the instrument and all the way out through the other side. If you're practicing in a nice big room, you can think about really filling the sound will filling the room with the sun you're creating. Think about that sound projecting across the other side of the room. So that when you take into a concert hall, is still getting that idea of reaching that last member of audience at the other side of the room. So taking a nice deep breath over four counts, I'm gonna slow. You just push the Active Instrument. If you go right to the end of your airstream, you'll see that your diaphragm automatically wants to re-expand and taken out to fill up what it's lost. There's a really nice way of practicing how the body works with your instrument and how they work together to make the sound. Have a participant and see how you go. 9. Your Vocal Chambers: In this tutorial, I'd like to talk a little bit more about what's going on with your body once you're blowing Daniel instrument, hopefully you've got to grips with the armature, the breathing and pushing air through instrument. Now, I'd like to talk to you about what's going on inside your vocal chambers in order to create the sound of the instrument. The best way and the easiest way to do this is just think of the vowel sound are using that you wanna think ought to open up the chambers as you them FU, instrument to create your sound. You can practice this fast without the instrument and then translate it onto the instrument. If I'm doing this, I let you relax and just sit there and say, you might want to do this at home or no analysis around because you might feel a little silly, but try not to worry about that. So just breathing in ever fall, 234 and then blowing out saying are there you can take that sound and that feeling and sensation onto your instruments. This will have you create a really nice open round sound. As you get a little stress with your practice, which is normally the beginning of unevenness in a foreign student. You might find that your chambers of your mouth starts squeezing. This, this is more of an e sound when the tension builds up in your throat. I'm just gonna demonstrate that sound for you on the instrument, really focusing and saving the difference. First, I'll demonstrate the ah, sound. And I'm gonna do exactly the same thing, but using the e sound. Hopefully you can hear that that's much more close strained found. So try and experiment if you feel you're not getting the sand a one, just take a moment, think or think you own and relax all of this body. And then you can practice blowing down an instrument. As I said, this happens Azure practicing might get stressed and my thing was too much to think about. Just take some time, relax, comeback to instrument, and try again. If you're finding it difficult to use the R sound, you can also use a yearning technique where you just literally have a nice yawn and that'll help you open up your chambers. 10. G Major Scale: So I'm excited to be able to introduce you to your fast scale. We're going to keep things nice Museum, I'm going to play a G major scale. So you learn fast three nights, B, a, and G. So half-way there. Starting on G, We're going to go up and we're going to learn a few. Mono is at this point, is you've got three fingers down, purging the Mega a, B, middle finger down, fussy. Polyphonic octave key on the back here. We're gonna go d, which is all six fingers down. E, F-sharp gene from navigate back down. G, F sharp, E, D. Take notes of key off, middle finger, C, B, a, G. So thinking about everything when we thought about so far with how we're blowing the overshoot, taking in the ad will use, have a practice of that. You can practice that slowly to start off with no need to go fast, take away, need to, if you've run out of adults, fine. Takes more and keep going, have a participant and see how you get on with it. And the next tutorial we're looking at D-major scale. 11. D major scale #2: Hello, I hope you've all been having phones or G-major scale today I'd like to expand your scale knowledge and look at D major. So we've actually learned a lot for noticed so far in our G-major scale, we're going to translate that onto D-Major. Main difference here is you've got two Sharps, F-sharp and C sharp. Fussy shops, really nice, easy fingering to land. You let you play nothing, so nothing down. Fascia, C sharp. So we start off on D because D major scalps, that's all six fingers down. And then we're just taking them one finger at a time. So D, E, F sharp, which is the middle finger, G, a, B, then nothing C-Sharp. D, So D here with the obstacle, he'll then back to nothing. Take notes of key off C-sharp. Going back down, be a, G, F sharp, E, D. Again, Ticket time, growth slows, you need to take airway, you need to see even if you find yourself going slow, I'll demonstrate that fluorine might find it needs take error at this point. That's OK. philip, Continue. It's important to remember that you will pass and letting go at the speed you need to, if you want to go slower, D, if you want to go faster, you can, is important. You just remember to have fun and enjoy your instrument. 12. G and D Major Arpeggio #2: So far we've looked at two scales reflected G major and D major. I'd like to now progress you on to arpeggiate these arpeggios are really fun because you find got three nights and you've already Latin those notes from the scale. It makes them a really fun thing to learn and I expand your vocabulary only instrument. So I'm gonna start with G major arpeggio. Off three. Notice that we use here are CI, B and D. Starting on G, G, B, D, we finished with G at the top. So that's putting octave key. Once you got the G bicker back down, d, b, g, I'll just demonstrate that for me. Really nice and easy. You can remember that the three notice is kinda play 1mis1 play will misfold playroom, which is how I like to remember it. Cynical play one, miss a, play one being messy. Pi1, dy, let me just finish it off with a G and then come back down. Have got that one. And then we do the same thing for d-major. Sorry again is three nights and me, if we use the concept of play, we're miss one, you'd be able to walk the night sounds so we've got D remiss AC shop, missing G. We then have a differential dy and come back down, a F sharp D. So just to recap those three notes, D, F sharp, a div with the octave kill, and then back down, a F sharp D. I'll just demonstrate that one for you. So delta into your practice routine, use the scales and arpeggios and say icon. 13. Tonguing Technique: In this tutorial, we're going to look at the tonguing technique and how you can use this to separate out the notes to play repeated notes next to each other. Placing the tip of your tongue on the tip of the reads, I'm your momentarily stopped the offline. Once you've done this, you remove the tongue quickly, which would allow the app back through the instrument and recreate the sound fully. I'm going to demonstrate this for you by using just a crook of the instrument and the mouthpiece. What I've done here is just taking a nice big breath. I've kept blowing the entire time and then just use the tip of my tongue to separate out the ostream, which allows the repeated notes to, to hit and sounds next to each other. I'm going to transfer this now onto the instrument for you to show how this can work in the same way. I'm going to use the fingering for B as again, that's a really nice note to practice new techniques with. Have a practice with that. You can play this on any night. You fancy whether you're using ot Major Scale or your team may just scale where you just want to go back to be a and G. The techniques, hey, I just keep blowing air through instrument and then just gently using your tongue to touch the read and come away. So it momentarily stops. And then released released the Visa can continue pushing ad on your instrument. 14. Reeds: I'd like to talk to you a little bit about reads. As a beginner, it would be good for me to buy a selection of reads of different strengths. These range from 1.51 to 2.5, all the way up to four. As a professional, I apply on a string 3.5. I've chosen Mandarin means that reads, I enjoy, and that's what I use for my classical setup. When she found the strength read the you like as a beginner, ADL is probably around a 2.52 or three. You may relate to try to if you just find a not too difficult to blow. Once you've settled on the strength really like and you select your box, always remember that not every read in the box is going to be good, as it is a natural material is natural for the quality of the reads to vary. So go through your books, find the good reads. You might find that sometimes you feel like it's not working for me is not always going to be. You could be the reads. Don't be afraid to change the reads. As you progress through your learning, you might like to try different strengths again. So if you find that you are on a 2.5 and that becomes easy for me. Try three, see how you get on. For a child you are going to be wanting start around a 1.5 and then progressing slowly up from there. Also, these reads do not last forever, I'm sorry to say. So after a week of practicing, if you've been practicing every day, you'll find that the strength of the read actually changes and becomes easier to play. At that point. That's when you're going to want to change your read. Then slowly as you start practicing and get used to instrument in the setup, you'll start learning what works for you and what reads the best and when to change them. Good luck and have fun. 15. Final Thoughts & How to Practise: As we reach the end of your beginners course, I'd like to just talk to you a little bit about practicing. It'd be good if you can practice every day. Little often is the way to go with this, whether it's 20 minutes or 30 minutes, even if you only have time for 15 minutes a day, that's okay. Start off by playing some long lines. This is a really nice way of recapping over some of the things we've looked at. You can look at the amber sure. How you're blowing. You can check up whether you've lined yourself up straight. Is the instrument coming to you. From that, you can progress onto your fast three notes that we learned. Bag, remembering whether those fingers are feeling nice and curved. Scipio, the control over the instrument. You've got two scales to practice to a different one a day for E G major and the G major arpeggio do that Monday. Cheese day, pick-up, D-Major, keep the variety, therefore it keep yourself interested after you've practiced your scales. This is what I like to have fun. Choose your favorite piece of it for this course, we've learned Hot Cross bonds, give it a practice, but I am just play three vinyl. Think about performing it to some of them. Maybe you'd like to perform it to your other half or oil child or your best friends. Give yourself that challenge, makes up feel like you've accomplished something. And then the most important thing of all, do not give yourself a hard time. You're learning, you're a beginner. Things may feel difficult are the days that we might feel easy. Sometimes you may not know what an after doing. That would be a really great moment to go back to some of the lessons that we've discussed. And just to recap, I do all the time every day. I always think to myself up I setup right and my breathing okay. Is my throat life-size and remind yourself of these things. It takes a long time to ingrain them and it's important you get it right right from the start. Most important thing of all, you're learning the saxophone is one of the most amazing instruments out there and I know you're all dying to play big street. So let's get these foundations right. We can move on to the next course. Have lots of fun and won't get that will get you playing Baker Street half on. And I hope to see you in the next course.