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Saxophone Lessons

Saxophone lessons for all levels

Have you always wanted to play the sax but never had the opportunity to give it a go?

Or perhaps you’ve played the saxophone in the past and would like to pick up where you left off?

Maybe you currently play the saxophone and would like to develop your skills further?

Or you're are an experienced player who would like to take your abilities to the next level?

No matter where you currently are with your journey on the sax, I am here to help you.

There is no age restriction to being able to enjoy playing the sax. Currently my youngest client is just 7 years old and my oldest client is well into his 80’s.

There is no need for any previous experience either.  All you need is a desire to learn.

[fa icon="plus-square"] What’s your approach to teaching the saxophone?
My approach to teaching the saxophone is unique, and I am not like many music teachers that you will come across. I believe that learning and making music should be fun and enjoyable. When you make learning fun, the people you teach have a strong motivation to practice. And when you practice regularly, you develop quickly. When you develop quickly you have deeper satisfaction and more fun. And so it goes on... You have created a positive psychological loop that feeds itself.
[fa icon="plus-square"] What songs can I learn?
You'll have the opportunity to play enjoyable, popular songs that you know and love. Tunes that will impress your friends when they inevitably ask you to play something. You won't ever have to play “Three Blind Mice” or “The Teddy Bears Picnic”. Not ever.  I may, however, teach you the classic saxophone licks from famous songs like “Careless Whisper”, “Baker Street”  and “The Pink Panther!” And I’ll help you develop your repertoire of great-sounding, inspiring tunes that you’ll love to play.
[fa icon="plus-square"] What experience do you have?
I have been teaching people to play the saxophone for well over 20 years and over this time I have honed my skills both as a teacher and a player. I can guarantee that you will enjoy your saxophone lesson with me. Everything I will teach you has a practical application to make you sound awesome on the saxophone.
[fa icon="plus-square"] What experience do I need?
Whether you’re a complete beginner or returning to the saxophone after a break, I’m here to help. You do not have to be able to read music to learn to play the saxophone with me. You do not even need to own a saxophone because I can provide one for you to use for your first lesson.  All you need is to come along with enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.

If you have never played a saxophone before and are an absolute beginner then you can find out more here.

If you have played saxophone in the past and are returning after a break then read more here.

If you currently play the sax and would like some help and guidance to develop your skills or some inspiration for growth then take a look here.

Playing the saxophone has had a profound and wonderful effect on my life, and I'm dedicated to constantly improving my abilities on this beautiful instrument. 


Saxophone for beginners

Being an absolute beginner is wonderful because you are going to make a huge amount of progress in a very short amount of time, which is deeply satisfying.

"You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great."

What is a first saxophone lesson typically like?

You will be offered a cup of tea. Tea is important! Then I usually play for you, to a backing track for 30 seconds or so, to demonstrate the sound of the instrument and to set it up in your mind that I do actually know what I’m talking about.

If you don’t have a sax, you can use my spare professional quality Selmer saxophone and I'll show you how a sax likes to be handled. If you already have your own, I will check it for you to make sure it’s in good playing condition.

Then we will explore:

  • How to produce a sound on the mouthpiece end.
  • Where your fingers go and how your hands fit on the keys of the sax.
  • How to play a single note then adding another note and so on, going on to explore notes further up and down the instrument, slowly and surely. Then we take a break.
  • We then discuss how you found the experience of playing the sax for the first time. I will share with you my unique and fun way of remembering the names of the notes that you played. Everyone likes this.
  • Then we pick up the sax again and I give you three musical phrases to play. Each phrase has just two or three notes. I play the phrases to you and you play them back to me. We take our time and it's fun. Then I show you how these phrases fit together to produce something ultra cool. I’d like to tell you what that cool thing is but that would spoil the surprise. If you’d like to find out what the surprise is simply book a lesson with me!
  • Then we discuss how to hire or buy a saxophone. I will give you guidance regarding acquiring an instrument.

What WILL NOT happen in you first lesson: You will not be bombarded with complicated jargon or difficult theory. You will not have unfamiliar written music put in front of you, with the expectation that you should understand.

If you already have a saxophone then I will jot down some ideas of what to practice over the next week for you. There is no obligation to book another lesson at all. I operate on a pay as you go system so you can come on a regular weekly basis, or book an appointment when you feel you are ready.

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Learn saxophone again after a break

Lots of people I teach have played the saxophone or some other musical instrument at some time in the past but for some reason have given up and would like to start again.

Sometimes their experience of learning has not always been a positive one. I enjoy working with those people because I am the antidote to that negative experience. My lessons are always fun.

What's great about musical learning is that all the information that you learned in the past is still inside of you, but your access to it may have been lost. It’s rather like losing a file on your computer. It’s in there, but you can’t find it. It may feel like you have forgotten what you learned before. But actually you have just forgotten how to access and use that information.

I specialise in locating that information inside you and clearing off any rust that may have accumulated on it.

If you've played before, I'll need to find out where you are on the "musical map." This can be done by asking questions about your knowledge and experience and getting you to show me anything that you do remember. Once we have located "where you are" musically, we can then pinpoint where you need to get to in order to start to develop again.  Then we'll plot a course. Everyone’s journey is different and I’ll guide you according to your individual needs.

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advanced-players2.jpgSax lessons for experienced players

Many people I work with are already capable saxophone players. Knowing exactly what to practice is not always very obvious though.  And having an objective assessment of your development, along with identifying any gaps in your knowledge database, is really useful.

More experienced players come to see me to develop and grow, and I help in lots of ways, including:

  • Getting your practice regime assessed and adjusted to make sure you are getting the most out of your practice time and effort.
  • Developing your advanced musical knowledge further. Things such as understanding and creatively using whole tone scales, diminished scales and more exotic scales and chords for example.
  • Increasing your understanding and musical interpretation of chord charts.
  • Advancing your improvising skills and capability.
  • Creating and crafting professional quality sounding solos.
  • Expanding your musical repertoire.
  • Developing your ability to identify different keys by ear.
  • Learning to transcribe music.
  • Developing your skills for working with a band.
  • Developing your skills as a recording artist.
  • Developing your skills for working with singers.
  • Improving your stage craft and building up your confidence in performance work.

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About my journey with the saxophone

Ever since I was a small boy I wanted to play instruments. And when I heard Jay Beckenstein play alto sax on Spiro Gyra's huge hit "Morning Dance" I knew I wanted to be a sax player.

Then when I discovered jazz I found something that utterly fascinated me. I didn't get an opportunity to play the sax until after I was 26 years old. As soon as I had the instrument in my mouth for the first time though I knew that the sax was something that I wanted to always have in my life. My first thoughts were that it didn't matter how long it took to learn, I just wanted to keep learning the sax forever.

After a few years a family friend asked me to teach their nine-year old son, Luke. At first I was reluctant because I had never taught before and didn't think I had the experience at the time to put together a well thought-out lesson. So I turned the opportunity down. But Luke's mother insisted and in the end I agreed. And so my first teaching experience was born.

Over the years I've discovered that I enjoy teaching the sax just as much as I love playing it. Teaching feels like you are taking someone on a wonderful journey of discovery. You get to share these incredible moments when people are empowered to do something new and amazing - something they often thought they could never do.

I was 33 years old when I walked into a bar in New Zealand where a beautiful and talented singer was gigging with a guitar player. Because I had my sax with me, they asked me to join in and play a number. I married that singer eight months later, and we have been together every day since. We have made an amazing life together teaching and playing music with our award winning Jazz duo, Sax and Honey.

To help somebody go from being a non-player to being able to improvise through a 12 bar blues, or play "Summertime" with feeling and then knock out a terrific solo, fills me with joy. And I get to learn from my students too! Teaching a subject is a great way of really cementing knowledge in your own mind as you have to be able to deliver packets of information in a concise and relevant way.

I practice every day for at least an hour. It feels like a privilege to play the sax and I’ll always be a life long student of the saxophone.

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