It’s amazing how consistently the saxophone enriches the music scene; just think “Baker Street”, Madness, 60’s Rock n Roll!
Nearly 180 years ago, Adolphe Sax wanted to build a warm sounding instrument because he lacked a strong sounding woodwind instrument in the low register to complement or offer contrast to the higher pitched Clarinets and Oboes. When Henri Selmer took over the patents, including the workshop, he made some adjustments and perfected the Saxophone as we know it today.
The Saxophone’s worldwide triumphal march began with jazz at the forefront. The Saxophone is always one of the top instruments considered for those who are wanting to participate in a Marching Band, Jazz ensemble, Pop Band, Big Band or Orchestra because of the cool and sultry image associated with it.
Choosing the Saxophone makes you sophisticated (?), smooth (??), with a lot of soul (???) and many people are drawn to this image, especially if the Trombone, the king of instruments, is not available!!
So why is it so popular?
Here are my 5 reasons why the Sax is such a great instrument to learn..…
There are 9 different types of saxophone with the most common being the Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Baritone. Alto Saxophone is what most beginner saxophone players learn when they are in a school band or ensemble, with the best and most popular being the Sonata Alto Sax.
The Sax has a very distinct sound that is flexible for many genres including classical, jazz, soul, blues, contemporary, pop, rock, and marching bands. In fact, most musical combinations (a bit like the trombone!! 😊). Isn’t it true that we remember some songs by the hooky sax solo rather than the vocal melody? Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” is now 40 years old, almost everyone can recognise the Alto Sax solo right away!
Playing an instrument takes a lot of brain power, muscle memory and neurological control. There have been numerous studies that prove people who play instruments have better memories and can better control their cognitive and motor functions better than those who do not play instruments. Children who learn music excel in abstract reasoning skills, literacy and math skills, and do better overall in academics.
The Saxophone is a newcomer compared to others in an orchestra or band and has a fingering system that is relatively easy to understand. Many students naturally progress from the simple recorder to woodwind instruments such as clarinet, flute… and hopefully, the Sax!
Once you have grasped the method of producing the sound from the single reed, development can be quick and rewarding. Think, once you can play the Alto, as many saxophonists do, you can easily adapt your skills to the Tenor or Baritone Sax’s as well! Mind you, if you are thinking of playing the Bari Sax in a marching band… you’d better get a gym membership first!!
There are few instruments that you can hear in modern top 40 chart topping songs and on the classical radio stations. Saxophones however are an instrument that people will never get tired of or stop listening to.
The tone of the saxophone is suitable to nearly every genre of music from jazz to rock, pop, and soul, so that mean your opportunity to perform is greater than most other instruments.
Learning the saxophone will allow you to express yourself and explore your creative side by experimenting with different styles and emotions, and ensures a much better chance at a long-lasting music career, or simple amateur performance pleasure!
Oodles of Confidence
Just like any time you overcome a tricky task or learn a new skill, learning to play a musical instrument, especially one like the Saxophone is something that will instill confidence in you.
Learning musical theory and reading sheet music and learning to play an instrument, is a challenge. But it is the most rewarding and satisfying challenge that will stay with you for ever!
People who play instruments tend to be more confident in their decision-making abilities, their musical skills, social skills, academic life, and problem solving.
So, why is the saxophone the best instrument to learn? Learning how to play the sax is a great opportunity that offers plenty of benefits including improved coordination as well as reduced stress. If you think that you would like to start learning the saxophone but are not exactly sure where to start, give us a call at Normans Musical Instruments, we’re here to help.