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Music Lessons In Toronto: Which Saxophone Should I Begin With?

So, you’ve finally decided to learn how to play the saxophone but aren’t sure which one to begin with? Don’t fret! Although the options may seem endless, it doesn’t have to be too hard. Today, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about getting the right beginner saxophone.

Starter Saxophone Tips

Before we dive into the specifics, let’s cover some basics to ensure you get the most out of your saxophone.

Types of Saxophones

When saxophones were first invented, there were actually 14 different types of them! Today, there are six but only four are still commonly played day-to-day. From the highest pitch to the lowest pitch, they are soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone. But what makes them so different and which one should a beginner choose?

  • Soprano: To a beginner eye, the soprano saxophone may actually look like a brass clarinet. It’s the smallest of the saxophone family and unlike the other models, it doesn’t have the distinct bell curve. Although the soprano sax is important in many music genres, it’s much harder to play than other types of saxophones and is usually a secondary instrument for most players.

  • Alto: If you’re a beginner, the alto is the perfect saxophone for you. Its pitch is a bit lower than the soprano but is much easier to learn on. The alto is smaller, lightweight, and easier to hold compared to some other brass instruments and horns.

  • Tenor: As a beginner adult, the tenor sax can also be another starter option. Keep in mind though that the tenor is a much longer instrument that requires more breathwork compared to the alto, This means that it can be more challenging for beginners and is only recommended for adults.

  • Baritone: The baritone sax is the largest of the four variations we’ve discussed. The sound is super deep and requires a ton of lung capacity and breath control to play which means it's not recommended for beginner players.

Regardless of if you choose to start on the alto or tenor, you can always work your way up to trying out the other saxophone types once you’re a seasoned player!

Rent vs. Buy?

As a beginner, buying a new instrument outright can always be a bit daunting. How do you know it’s the right instrument for you? What if you decide not to keep up with your lessons? The commitment is always something to think about before making your purchase. If there is any chance that you may not stick with the saxophone, we recommend renting one first before committing to buying.

That said, for long-term options, we definitely recommend purchasing your own saxophone. Rental fees can add up over time and equal out to be well over the amount that you would pay for a new saxophone in just a year. Plus, a rental will most likely show signs of wear and tear. You’re also on the hook for any damages to the instrument once you return it.

Additional Materials and Equipment

The good news is that the saxophone doesn’t require a ton of extra equipment like many other instruments do. Because the sound on the sax is made by the reed, you will need to replace this every so often (especially as a beginner.) It’s recommended that you purchase a box of reeds with your sax to get started. Additionally, your saxophone will likely come with a neck strap but you may want to opt for a more comfortable one based on your preferences. You’ll also need a music stand to practice at home.

Top 3 Saxophones for Beginners

At the end of the day, we always recommend popping into your local music store to chat with an associate about what saxophone is going to work best for you. You’ll also be able to try them out and figure out which one is most comfortable. That said, there are some recommended saxes to keep in mind when you’re searching!

Yamaha YAS-280

Regardless of who you ask in the sax industry, chances are that they’re going to tell you that the Yamaha YAS-280 is one of the best starter saxophones on the market. It’s an alto sax that is known for being both lightweight, yet durable. It only weighs 13 pounds but will last you years until you’re ready for an upgrade. It’s perfect for smaller hands because of its ergonomic design. This means it doesn’t cause any pain or pressure as some other saxes do. The YAS-280 comes with a neck strap and the brand also offers any additional accessories you or your child may need!

Mendini by Cecilio MAS-L

If you’re on a budget, the Medini by Cecilio MAS-L is the best bang for your buck. Although you will outgrow it faster than some other options, this saxophone is great if you’re looking to save some money upfront. It’s extremely lightweight (coming in at only 10 pounds) but that also means the quality of the materials aren’t going to last you years and years. The MAS-L comes in a kit which means you will get every single accessory you may need from a cleaning kit to reeds to a neck strap and more!

Kaizer ASAX-1000LQ

The Kaizer ASAX-1000LQ is definitely the best option for children who are learning how to play the saxophone. It’s relatively inexpensive, boasts a lifetime warranty, and is lightweight. This sax is made of solid brass which means it sounds better and is more durable than some of the other budget-friendly options out there. It’s also sold with many of the accessories that beginners need!

Saxophone Lessons in Toronto

At Greater Toronto Music School, we offer flexible classes for saxophone players of all ages and skill levels. Our highly qualified instructors can create a lesson plan based on your experience, music preferences, learning styles, and more. We offer classes 7 days a week with online or private in-home options available. Give us a call today to learn technique, reading, and so much more to get your saxophone journey started!

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