Although there’s no substitute for instruction by a qualified music teacher, aspiring saxophone players can learn some of the basics online and on their own. To start, rent a good-quality instrument from a reputable music store. If you buy, get the best instrument you can afford and seek advice from someone who knows saxophones. It’s nearly impossible to get a good sound from a cheap horn, so don’t waste your money on an inferior sax. There are four types of saxophones: Soprano, alto, tenor and baritone. Most beginners find the alto the easiest to play.
Assemble the instrument. Insert the neck into the body of the instrument. Clip the neckstrap into the ring. The strap helps support the weight of the instrument while you play.
Moisten a reed by putting it in a glass of water or by holding flat end in your mouth for a few minutes. The reed has to be flat and moist to vibrate properly when set into the mouthpiece. Align the reed with the tip of the mouthpiece, and firmly hold it in place by tightening the ligature.
Blow into the mouthpiece with a firm, steady breath. Do not puff out your cheeks. Use your diaphragm to support the air supply. When you blow into the horn without pressing any keys, the note you play is a C sharp.
Look at a fingering chart, which shows which keys need to be pressed to play different notes. Some notes require you to press a single key, while others use a combination of keys. Most saxophones allow you play notes ranging from the B flat below middle C to a high F sharp.