The Sax - scroll down for the Flute

Most sax teachers can also teach flute and clarinet

The instrument

The saxophone was invented by Adolphe Sax, which, if you think about it, is an amazing coincidence!

The sax is a reed instrument, meaning that the sound is produced by means of the vibration of a reed inserted in the mouthpiece.

While the sax is used in some classical pieces (although, to state the obvious, only ones post-dating its invention in around 1840) it is usually thought of as a jazz instrument and, for many, it is the very essence of jazz.  Picture a jazz club; swirling cigarette smoke, sexually-charged atmosphere, smooth sax-playing from the stage.  All banned these days of course, apart from the sax playing.

The sax is notable for its large number of keys, along its whole length.  

Talk of “the sax” is too general, of course, as there are 4 main types, all of which, apart from the soprano, have the familiar “horn”.

In order of range, from highest to lowest: Soprano,  Alto, Tenor, Baritone.

Why learn to play sax

The sax is pretty portable (although the baritone is on the large side).  It’s great for those interested in jazz, with practically all ensembles wanting and needing one.  So learn to play well and you will be in demand!

What makes playing sax demanding?

Getting used to producing the sound, via the reed, takes some time.  Beginners quite often manage to make no sound at all – but it’ll come!  The fingering is tricky, but shouldn’t take too long to acquire.  Physically holding the instrument as you play can be tiring, so you need good posture.

Any reason not to choose this instrument?

If you suffer from posture issues, back-ache, this may not be a good choice for you.

What to buy?

The main question is which, from the range soprano to baritone.  Most people opt for alto or tenor, but we’d recommend you talk to a teacher first.

Great exponents of the sax

Charlie Parker – inventor, with Dizzy Gillespie, of “be-bop” jazz, has to be top of the list

Stan Getz was a wonderfully fluent player with a warm tone

John Coltrane is known for his prodigious technique and use of “modes” (alternative scales)

“Cannonball” Adderley is one of our top favourites, and not just ours – he appears on the legendary Miles Davis Album “Kind of Blue” – the best-selling jazz album of all time!

The Flute

The instrument

The “transverse” flute is the standard orchestral flute which is held horizontally when played.  The sound is produced by blowing air across an opening or hole.  Different notes are produced by using the keys along the flute.   The fingering is similar to, but not quite the same as, the sax.  Sax players often also play flute and vice-versa.

Why learn to play flute?

A very portable instrument, the flute produces a beautiful sound, especially in an ensemble setting.  It features widely in classical orchestral scores as well as in jazz and is very popular in folk and pop music.

What makes playing flute demanding?

You need good posture and stamina and you need to learn the fingering, but once you master how to produce the sound, the flute is probably less physically demanding than the sax.

Any reason not to choose this instrument?

If you are into jazz, the sax is probably a better choice (the sax holds its own better with minimal amplification), but otherwise the flute is a great instrument to learn.

What to buy?

Don’t buy the cheapest instruments, which may have poor key mechanisms, but no need to spend a fortune!

Great exponents of the flute

James Galway is probably the Flautist more people would name than any other.  Beautiful solo playing.

One of our favourite jazz players is James Moody, who is also a top saxophonist.

Lessons at your place at times you choose

We arrange for a sax/flute teacher to come to your home or office.  You can have a 1:1 session, or learn with friends, family or colleagues.

Lessons last a minimum of one hour.

You tell us your preferred time. 

Lessons can take place anytime between 0800 and 2100 Mon-Sat. 

Sunday lessons are available by special arrangement.

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