Is Saxophone Hard to Learn? And How Much Time Will You Need?

Many people ask this question, but there's no one-size-fits-all answer. However, you can make learning easier if you know the basics below.
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Last updatedLast updated: April 01, 2024
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Is saxophone Trusted Source Saxophone - Wikipedia The saxophone is a type of single-reed woodwind instrument with a conical body, usually made of brass. As with all single-reed instruments, sound is produced when a reed on a mouthpiece vibrates to produce a sound wave inside the instrument’s body. hard to learn? Many aspiring beginners have asked that question. The saxophone is certainly an instrument that looks complex. However, it is cool to know that while there are some challenges to learning the saxophone, it is not hard to learn. Becoming a master is a different discussion for some other day.

Many people propose that creating a sound on this instrument is not hard, and anyone can do it. The challenge, most of the time is to make a good sound. With all these in mind, we want to tell you not to feel like the instrument is too hard to play. If you are focused on learning and keep up with your lessons, you can also be an excellent saxophone player. Take the right steps to start playing, which we highlight in this post. At the end of the post, you will have important information that will help you know how to play this instrument.

How much time will you typically need to learn how to play the sax?

One question that many readers ask is how much time will be required before you know how to play the sax. Well, unlike other questions, this is relatively easy to answer. A simple answer is that the more practice you do, the faster you will learn how to play.

Is Saxophone Hard to Learn? And How Much Time Will You Need?

If you aren’t looking to play in a professional band, practicing 20 minutes daily should see you make some great improvements in one year. With longer practice sessions, you should be able to become a really good player in 2 or 4 years.

Why the saxophone is an excellent instrument

There are several reasons why you should consider picking up the saxophone and learning how to play it. Let’s see some of the reasons.


The sax is a very versatile instrument that can be used for different parts of a song. There are more than 8 types of sax so you can find the type that you are very comfortable with. Whether you are interested in jazz, blues, pop, rock, or some other genre, the sax can come in handy.

Good for your brain

Learning to play this instrument might be a challenge, but it is good for your mental health. It will make you smarter.

These are just two of the best things about learning to play this instrument.

Tips on how to learn a saxophone

Now that you know all the most important types and parts of the saxophone, let’s now consider how to successfully learn to play the saxophone.

Find an instructor

The best thing any beginner can do is to look for an excellent instructor. Check for experienced instructors in your locality. If you can’t find it, there are options available online. The goal here is to find someone that can help you to achieve specific goals.

The instructor you choose will depend on the genre that you want to play. As a beginner, ensure that your instructor gives you the best foundational instructions. There are also books that can help you, for example, many users have remarked about how the Beginner’s Guide by Cynthia Riess and Jason Randall helped them.


Mastering the saxophone can be challenging, but one thing that can help you is a frequent practice. With the aid of a teacher, and with their instructions and corrections playing in your mind, properly practice the sax as often as you can. After your normal lessons, still practice.

One important routine in practice is to try out some improvisation or try playing a song that you know. Doing this will help you quickly mastering how to play the sax.

Saxophone intro: Know your instrument

Before you start playing this instrument, you need to know the important parts and types. This will assist you to choose the best type for you.

Types of saxophone

There are several types of saxophones that you will find today. Right from its invention, this instrument has undergone several changes to the parts and playing pattern. Because of these changes, there are several types, with some becoming obsolete.

In our time, though, there are four main or popular types of saxophones. These are by the means the only types on the market, however, they are the types that are mostly used in contemporary music.

1. Soprano Saxophone

This type of sax is a Bb instrument and the smallest type of sax we will consider. The shape is straight or curved and is widely regarded as the most difficult to play.

2. Alto Saxophone

This next type is an Eb instrument and is the second most common type of sax used by contemporary musicians. Reviews indicate that Mendini by Cecilio is one of the best alto saxes on the market.

3. Tenor Saxophone

This is similar to the soprano sax as it is a Bb instrument. It is the most common type of sax in the music industry and most of the recordings that you hear feature this type of sax.

4. Baritone Saxophone

This last type is the biggest type of sax. It is an Eb instrument and is used in funk and jazz.

How to pick a saxophone

Is Saxophone Hard to Learn? And How Much Time Will You Need?

If you are a complete beginner, then you rightly might wonder how you can choose the right saxophone for yourself. In this section, we will consider some of the best things to keep in mind as you choose a saxophone.


The first thing that you should keep in mind is the size of the saxophone. Now there are several sizes available on the market, but in this post, we will consider the four most popular sizes.

These are:

  • Alto
  • Soprano
  • Tenor
  • Baritone

These four sizes offer the most common range of notes that are found in a band, and they are pretty easy to play.

Out of the four, the alto sax offers a bright, high-pitched sound while the tenor sax offers you a fuller and deeper sound.

These two sizes play the same range of notes, with the only difference being the pitch.

So, how do you choose the right size for you?

Before you choose, keep in mind that all the four types above have the same fingerings. Therefore, if you’ve played one, you’ve played them all.

Some of the things that might influence your choice of sax are:

  • Your best players
  • The sound you admire
  • And the music genre you desire to play.

Mouthpiece and reed

Other things to keep in mind are the mouthpiece and reed of the sax. These two parts have an important effect on how you’re playing sounds. Thankfully, these are parts that can be changed and modified to get the sound you want.

Essential saxophone parts

Is Saxophone Hard to Learn? And How Much Time Will You Need?

The typical sax comes with four main parts. These parts are:

  • Mouthpiece
  • Resonator
  • Crook
  • Keys
  • Tube


This is part of the neck of the sax and you must choose the right mouthpiece. This will involve choosing the right reed


This is a plastic part attached to the finger keys by a rivet. As the name implies, it reflects sound to the bore, offering you different ways of manipulating the sound.


This is another important part and it is what connects your mouthpiece and the body.


Keys are designed in two main types. First is the closed-standing key that is held together by a spring when you aren’t playing. There is also the open standing key.


This is the easiest part to identify as it is the long metal tube that extends from the neck. It curves upward and ends in a bell.

Final thoughts

Are you looking for a versatile instrument to play? Then choose the saxophone. It might seem challenging, but in reality, it is not a hard instrument. Is saxophone hard to learn? No. With the right guidance and the right type for you, it is going to be a walk in the park playing this instrument. We hope that this article helps you in determining whether to pick up this instrument.


Saxophone - Wikipedia
The saxophone is a type of single-reed woodwind instrument with a conical body, usually made of brass. As with all single-reed instruments, sound is produced when a reed on a mouthpiece vibrates to produce a sound wave inside the instrument’s body.
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