Many styles of contemporary music trace their origins to blues and jazz. Without the saxophone, there would be no jazz and blues. Essentially the saxophone or the sax, has been a very crucial instrument in the evolution of music.
There is something very groovy about the sound of the saxophone that spells pure music to the ears. The sax is today seen in performance with bands and orchestras in classical, jazz and blues. But more adventurous artists have found ways to incorporate it into styles like rock and salsa music.
The sax is a versatile instrument and is a perfect choice if you are looking to pick up skills in a music instrument. You will have some bragging rights with some uniqueness, now that everyone is looking to learn the piano or the guitar. You will make a jolly party goer.
Just as the sax is rare, there are relatively few saxophone teachers, more so if you live away from the big cities. You are most likely to find the local high school or college orchestra is the only one available, and even then, you have to keep the hours that he/she draws up for the class. This can be a bit bothersome.
Fortunately, online saxophone classes are very good alternatives. You can learn to play the sax from very good sax players, and do it from the comfort of your home. Here some of the top online saxophone classes for adults you can check out.
14 Best Saxophone Lessons for Adults Review
1) ArtistWorks - Jazz Saxophone with Eric Marienthal
This is a course that takes you from a beginner sax player to the advanced level. Some of the topics you will cover are;
· How to choose a saxophone, care, and maintain it
· How to choose a Mouthpiece
· Posture- Neck Straps, position, basic embouchure, tongue position, head angle
· Basics in music reading
· Play Along and Learn a Song: Auld Lang Syne, Amazing Grace, When the Saints Go Marching In, Star-Spangled Banner
· Introduction to Improvisation
· Basic Ear Training: Hearing Notes, Hearing Intervals, Hearing Chord Types
· Improvisation: Basic Blues Alto Saxophone and Tenor Saxophone
· Play Your Scales in All Keys: Harmonic Minor, Melodic Minor, Natural Minor, Diminished, Pentatonic, Blues
· Using a Metronome
· Jazz Inflections: Lip Turns, Scoops, Bending Inside a Note
· Improvisation: Intermediate Blues Alto Saxophone and Tenor Saxophone
· Improvising: Play All the Roots, 3rds, 5ths, 7ths,
· Improvising: Guide Tone Line - Root, 3rd, 5th, 7th, Variation
· Soloing: Using the Ionian Mode, Dorian Mode, and the Phrygian Mode
· Reverse and muted tonguing
· Different Ways to Play Scales
This detailed course is taught by a Grammy award winner, Erik Marienthal.
2) Udemy - Learn to Play Saxophone: Music Professor Online
This course promises a year’s worth of learning, compressed into 77 lectures that will take you from an absolute beginner to a professional saxophone player. It covers all you need to know to become a good player. It is divided into 10 segments, which you have to follow sequentially as your skills grow;
· Intro to Saxophone- assembling the instrument, breathing, playing posture
· Embouchure- Notes B and C, tonguing and tuning
· Reading Music- How to read music and long tones
· Slurring and Tonguing- Notes A and G, whole and half notes, articulations, half rests
· Crossing the Break- Notes D, E, F, and G, counting, quarter notes, combining rhythms and notes
· 3/4 Time – low notes C, D, E, F and F#, G Major scale, ¾ time
· The Octave Key- High notes A, B, C and C+
· Eighth Notes- Notes Bb+B, F major, Eighth notes
· Articulation- A major scale, staccato, legato, eighth rests, syncopation
This course uses popular tunes to demonstrate the concepts e.g. Mary had a little lamb, London bridge, and Yankee Doodle. The course is taught by Music Professor Online Music Lessons, which is an online music academy for string instruments with more than 5,000 video lessons. This course is in 77 lessons lasting almost 8 hours.
3) Udemy - Beginner Alto Saxophone Lessons with Matthew Saxophone
Would you like to pick up a few songs to play on the sax to entertain your family or friends in social events? This course promises to teach you to play the sax sufficiently to play by ear. It is an introductory course that will teach you the basics of the saxophone to encourage you to pursue more skills.
You will essentially scale, and basics of reading music so that you can play popular tunes. This course is designed to feel light, fun and easy on the learner. It tries to cover the essentials that you need to be a competent player;
· Saxophone 101 – how to assemble the sax, neck-straps, mouths, and tongues, and how to pack the sax
· Playing the sax- Learn the first notes with tunes like “Hot cross buns,” and “Mary had a funky lamb”
· Scales – Notes C, C#, D-, F-, C major scale, and D major scale, Bb, F major scale and A major scale, long tones and breathing
· Practice with more popular tunes e.g. Jingle bells, Happy birthday, Batman, and Happy by Pharrell Williams
This course is in 24 lectures lasting about 4 hours. It is taught by Matthew Saxophone, who has been performing with the sax for more than 33 years.
4) Udemy - Tenor Saxophone Lessons for Beginners with Todd Porter
Do you dream of playing the sax in a band? The tenor sax player is often the lead player in bands with a sax piece. This course offers you skills to make you an important part of a band as a good sax player. It is for absolute beginners, with a focus on teaching the learner improvisation or soloing.
The course promises a new technique that will help the learner learn to play faster. It uses graphics and voice-overs to help the learner play in real-time as the lesson is taught. There are lots of practice videos to help the learner develop rhythm, melody, harmony, and improvisation. There is a 'jam room' with a virtual band to make the experience feel more real.
· How to put the tenor saxophone together and make your first sound
· Notes in the A major scale
· Playing the A major scale ascending and descending (up and down)
· Playing the bass notes for the B section of the song
· Playing the lay melody for the B section of the song
· How to change your role during the B section from lead to accompaniment.
· How to change your role during the entire song from lead to accompaniment.
· How to play your first scale pattern
This course is taught by Todd Porter, a performer and music teacher for 15 years.
5) Udemy - How to Play Funky Saxophone with Simon Currie
This course is for the player who would like to explore the versatility of the sax. While the sax is largely heard on ‘slow’ music like jazz and blues, it can be played for faster and funkier music as well. This course uses two very lively tunes; “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, and “Pick Up the Pieces” by The Average White band, to demonstrate playing in the funky style.
It will teach you how to improvise by helping to memories 16 essential phrases (licks), along with the pentatonic and 'blues' scales. You will find this course more useful if you have basic knowledge of how the sax works and would like to improve your skills on the alto or tenor sax.
The lessons take you step-by-step through the 16 phrases, with the written music and scales on the video for easier following. The lessons use the ‘call his call’ response technique for greater realism. The lessons are shot using 2 cameras for better clarity on tracks and techniques on slurring, tonguing, and fingering.
There are 34 lectures in this course lasting about three and a half hours. It is taught by Simon Currie who has been playing the sax since the age of 11.
6) Udemy - Learn to Play Saxophone in Under 2 Hours! with Michelle Ski
Do you feel overwhelmed by learning material, videos, and practice jams yet all you want is to learn how to learn a few tracks to impress in house parties? This course promises to help you become a competent sax player by compressing the essentials of playing the sax in lessons you can take in under 2 hours. It is for the absolute beginner who is willing to learn the sax and keep practicing. Some of the essentials you will find in this course;
· How to put the saxophone together
· How to place the reed on your mouthpiece
· What is embouchure?
· Correct breathing and playing position
· How to play the first note from Bb to F#
· Introduction to counting and time signatures
· How to read the essential music notes
· How to play by the ear
There are five modules in the course, with 38 lectures lasting about one hour and forty minutes. The course is taught by Michelle Ski, who has played the sax for over 30 years. She has worked with Jazz greats Paul Wellar and Andy Lewis. She plays with a 17-piece big jazz band.
7) Skillshare - Saxophone Essentials: Mouthpiece with Marek Tomaszewski
Mastering the saxophone is very much dependent on how well you master the mouthpiece dynamics. Good skills on the mouthpiece help you give a steady and focused tone. Developing good skills on the mouthpiece is part of laying solid foundational skills, which will help you absorb other saxophone skills quicker and become a good player in a shorter time. Some of the topics covered are;
· Essential singing notes on the sax mouthpiece
· How to produce a steady sound
· Introduction to tonguing essentials
· How to bend notes
· Two notes for the mouthpiece
· The major scale on the mouthpiece
This is a very short course taking less than 30 minutes. it is taught by Marek Tomaszewski, who has been in music for more than 15 years. Marek studied at the prestigious London Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Marek has also been involved in different music projects including BB Collective, Jazzphrenia, Jason Simpson Project, and The Colours. This course can be found on Skillshare.
8) Taming the saxophone
This is a resource website for the saxophone. It has lots of content for beginners, intermediate and advanced players. It has everything you would need to know about the saxophone. The saxophone section has information on the instrument; history, evolution, accessories, how to care and maintain it, and some of the great sax players. There is a section for music theory where learners can learn more on chords and scales, improvisation for jazz, and arranging compositions.
The lessons section lists different lessons for beginners. Some of the topics for beginners include;
· The first steps on the saxophone
· Fingering and charts
· Rhythm and blues on the saxophone
· Rock and roll on the saxophone
· How to organize practice schedule
· How to manage stage fright and performance nerves
There is also much information on tone;
· Tuning and intonation
· Control exercises for toning
· How to combine tone and fingering
· Tonguing and articulation
· Mouthpiece exercises
· Visualizing sound
· Breathing exercises and control
· Breathing through the diaphragm
· Circular breathing
You will also learn more on fingering including;
· Dexterity & Technique
· Playing the cycle of fifths
· 2-5-1 Progressions
· How to play auxiliary F without the aux key
· Diminished Patterns and Licks
9) Saxophone lessons with Dan Christian
This website is a learning resource for the saxophone, clarinet, and piano. It hosts starter lessons for people interested in the saxophone. The course is in 4 segments;
· Stage 1 – Good posture, ear training, tonguing techniques, doing the vibrato, low C and C major scale
· Stage 2 – Pattern building and C major, common rhythm concepts and challenges, scales High C, C#, D, G, and G major, and Bb fingering
· Stage 3- tips and tricks on fixing vibrato problems, swing rhythms, basic lip slurs, Mancini inspired riffs, tuning, improvisation, transposition,
· Stage 4- Low Bb and Bb major, rhythm drills, expressions using dynamics, G blues scale, how to growl, dominant 7th
There is much more to help you keep improving your play on the sax including sax covers of popular tunes like “Ain’t no sunshine,” “am I wrong” (Nico and Vinz), “make you feel my love” (Adele) and “lonely shepherd” from Kill Bill movie. You get sax workouts to test your skills at each stage. You also get sax riffs for the classic rock and roll tune ‘Tequila.’ There is also a blog with different discussions on the sax.
This website is maintained by Dan Christian, a professional sax performer, and teacher.
10) Saxophone lessons on Saxclass.com
Saxclass.com offers free beginner classes and lots of other learning content on the saxophone. The lessons are absolutely free; there is even no need to register. You will find tips and tricks on choosing the type of sax suitable for you, and whether to pick a new or used saxophone. The lesson section is in 4 segments;
Before you begin this segment preps you for your relationship with the saxophone;
· Is it a difficult instrument to play?
· What are the types of saxophones?
· Which is better, new or used?
· How to buy your first sax
· Anatomy of the saxophone
· Breathing and breathing exercises
· Saxophone reed
· Saxophone ligature
· Notes – Whole, half, quarter and eighth notes
· Major scales –G and C, D and A, F and B flat
· Minor scale - G and D, F and C, A, E and B
Some jazz lessons
· Basic blue swings
· Giant steps
· Au private
There are more resources on the website including downloadable fingering charts, online web metronome, and intuitive dream beats. If you need to get a feel of the sax before committing time and money resources, this would be a good site to explore different aspects of this instrument.
11) Saxophone lessons on howtoplaysaxophone.org
This is a subscription website with lessons for beginner and intermediate saxophone players. The lessons are categorized as per player skills;
· How to assemble a sax and care for it
· How to make the first sounds
· How to play the first notes and finger positions
Advanced beginner – These lessons are for a player who has spent some time on the sax and would like to improve musicianship and performance. It will boost your performance confidence as well as embellishment. This section includes sheet music and a backing track for the popular Christmas carol ‘White Christmas.’
These lessons are for players who can play quite competently and are looking to improve on their improvisation skills for solos. You will use the popular 'Tequila' tune in this section, which comes with sheet music and a backing track for this rock and roll classic tune.
There are more resources for the sax player including sections with content focusing on mouthpieces and reeds. There is an online store for sax and accessories. There is a blog with articles on different topics on saxophone play, and a forum where sax players can have conversations.
12) Saxophone lessons with Florian Rooz
This is a paid lesson website with different lessons for purchase in ebooks, videos, and music sheets. Florian Rooz offers sax lessons for beginners, intermediate, advanced and professional sax players. The lessons are in a set titled 'Hello Saxophone – The easy starter’s guide to the saxophone!’ this set contains an eBook, and music sheets for video lessons that the buyer has access to for live streaming or downloading. It also comes with bonus material;
· A scale book with all the major and minor scales
· Unleashing the Dragon- an eBook with tips and tricks for sax players of all levels
· A Christmas album with 12 all-time popular carols for practice
· How to learn anything 3 times faster- an eBook on mastering different skills in a very short time
The set covers the whole range of subjects essential to becoming a competent sax player;
· Holding and playing your saxophone comfortably.
· Shortening your learning curve by making sure you have the right tools!
· Building strong breath support and gain the needed airpower quickly
· Gaining finger fluency and speed quickly.
· Learning any melody by ear.
· Developing a personal sound on the saxophone over time.
· Basics of music reading and writing
These lessons are taught by Florian Rooz, a saxophone performer based in Amsterdam.
13) Saxophone lessons with Neal Battaglia
These lessons have a different approach from conventional. Neal Battaglia believes that people should learn music the same way children learn their native language; by listening and imitating.
It is also true that it is also easy to pick up bad music skills in the same way it is possible to pick bad language habits. These lessons are offered by total immersion, practice, and feedback. Neal Battaglia adopted this model from his experimentation with different languages including German, Mandarin, Sinhalese, and Spanish.
Neal offers Saxophone Foundations for beginners. The lessons start with listening and rhythm, even without having a sax at hand. The next step is learning how to assemble, hold, tune and maintain the instrument. The lessons then delve into playing the saxophone by reading music;
· Finger positions for each note
· Counting beats
· Musical concepts and notation
· Left- and right-hand keys
· Playing across two octaves
Neal also offers Saxophone Tribe for players who have some competency with the sax. This involves the learner submitting pieces for review, and learning from the structured feedback from Neal and other members of the class. Neal is a physicist with a love for the sax.
14) How to Play the Saxophone on Musika
Musika is an online music learning platform that does not host lessons but connects students with teachers in their area. If you find it hard to follow online lessons, you can register on Musika and find a good face-to-face teacher match.
You list your learning needs, and Musika does the best to match you with a teacher with the same skills, preferably nearest to your home. The good thing is that Musika gives you a free trial, allowing you to change tutors if you don’t like the present teacher.
You schedule your classes directly with your tutor and work out what works best for both of you. Musika handles payments to your tutor; you pay in 8-lesson packages, and at the end of the month for under-18s.
Musika lists teachers for a variety of musical instruments including the saxophone, guitar, piano, trombone, clarinet, drums, trombone, flute, and many others. The service is available in 652 cities and towns including New York, New Jersey, Houston, Boston, Miami, Los Angeles, Philadelphia Seattle, and San Diego among other cities in the US. There are over 1,030 teachers in the network.
Choosing the Best Saxophone Lessons for Adults
Learning to play the saxophone as an adult will surely give you a fun challenge, which promises immense self-gratification when you can successfully blow out several tunes. The sax is a versatile instrument you can entertain with at any event. It is portable enough to carry to social events.
Online sax lessons have surely opened the doors for anyone who would is willing to learn from wherever they are in the world. if you are thinking of challenging yourself by learning to play a music instrument, the saxophone would be a good choice. The fact that you can pace your lessons however you want, and learn from the comfort of your home makes the offer irresistible.