Chapter 4: Saxophone posture and sound"The Definite guide for beginner saxophone"

Saxophone posture: Good airflow improve the saxophone sound

You already know that the source of the saxophone sound is the reed, which we covered in the last chapter. However, there will not be any sound without having air flowing through the mouthpiece and the saxophone.

That probably makes a lot of sense because it is an woodwind instrument after all.

What is a good saxophone posture?

You can achieve a good saxophone posture by keeping a straight back and pushing your chest forward. The same technique applies for both sitting down and standing up. You should always aim for a good saxophone posture to keep the air flowing freely. That way you will get the best airsupport possible for playing with a good and solid saxophone tone.

With a good saxophone posture you’ll be able to:

  • Develop a good and solid saxophone sound with good air flow
  • Play both louder and softer, because you have full control over the air support
  • Utilize the full capacity of your lungs, which makes it possible to play longer melody lines
  • Practice and play longer without developing any back pain (Still, don’t ignore short brakes!)
  • Overall perform better on the saxophone

With a poor saxophone posture you’ll run into these problems:

  • Your air capacity diminishes as your lungs gets compressed
  • It affects your capability to control the airflow through the saxophone
  • Lack of aircontrol leads to an overall poor performance on the sax
  • Longterm problems with your back and shoulders may show


Saxophone sound

Develop your saxophone sound

Listening to a pro saxophone player in comparison to a beginner is a big difference as it should be. There are many hours of practice behind every performance and many years of development in order to reach a pro sax level.

However, even as a beginner you can make huge progress with your sound if you know more about what makes a good saxophone sound.

How can I improve my saxophone sound then?

Realize first that it will take some time, but you'll see great improvements if you are consistent and keep practicing regularly. That's actually one of the key things to take away from this guide. Keep practicing and as long as you work on improving you WILL see some pretty cool results.

With time you will probably make some adjustments to your practice routine, but keep it simple in the beginning, practice often and stay focused. Remember, be consistent and you'll become a saxophone rock star!


What is a good sound anyway?

Now, here's where it can get a bit tricky, especially if you find yourself discussing saxophone sound within a group of sax players.

The "nerd factor" is usually pretty high and there will be names like Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, John Coltrane, Michael Brecker along with more contemporary players like Dave Koz, Kenny G flying around.

That is NOT what I'm talking about here!
We all have different tastes when it comes to the style of playing and that's totally fine.

I'm talking about the quality of the sound you produce from your saxophone, that's due to the coordination of the embouchure, posture, airflow in conjunction with the mouthpiece, ligature and reed.

All these things will have an impact on your sound. However, if you are able to identify these parts separately it will give you an advantage working on the coordination.

I just want to remind you that you can reference each part separately in the previous chapters.

Here are quick links for your convenience to:

8 minutes on building a saxophone sound

Listen to Don Menza, a true saxophone legend, as he talks about the many different nuances of the saxophone sound

Watch video

Build a solid Saxophone sound

A masterclass on saxophone tone with Don Menza.

Chapter 4: Saxophone posture and sound"The Definite guide for beginner saxophone"

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I made this to help as many aspiring saxophone players as possible, so I truly appreciate your support. Thanks! ~ Greger Hillman