Instruments – Alto Saxophone

The Alto Saxophone is a member of the woodwind family. Sound is produced on an alto saxophone by blowing air through a mouthpiece that contains a thin wooden reed. The reed vibrates as air passes through it and creates the tone. The sound is changed by pressing keys and covering holes using both the left and right hands.

The saxophone section is typically broken into two or more groups that play harmonies. The saxophone is a little heavier than some of the other instruments. To compensate for the weight, a saxophone utilizes a neck strap that allows the players arms to relax comfortably and press the keys accordingly without having to “hold” the weight of the instrument. Because of the neck strap, weight should not be a factor in deciding if the saxophone is the right instrument for your child.

In choosing the saxophone, one consideration should be the physical size of your child’s hand. The design of the saxophone has keys that stick out, and it could be difficult for smaller hands fit around the instrument. There are two saxophone logos on the band registration form. Your child must be able to stretch their hand from pinky to thumb, touching both logos.

If your child has a desire to play the saxophone but has hands that are too small, we recommend starting on the clarinet the first year, then switching to the saxophone the next year. Both instruments are very similar and the learning curve is small in moving from the clarinet to the saxophone