I've been playing saxophone for a while, but I've never had formal education in it. I'm watching some YouTube videos, but, for now, I can't play for classes.

So, is there a list of things I should be learning, recommended books or something? If possible, the kind of competencies I have to develop.

closed as too broad by Stinkfoot, Richard, ttw, Dom Apr 14 '18 at 15:13

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  • 1
    @Stinkfoot that's not really helpful at all (as I've stated that I can't get classes right now). What I want to know os what a musician should know in matters of theory, harmony and proficiency. An studying plan, like the one you get in the college (I've done some research and didn't found one, that's why I'm asking here. – Douglas de Moura Apr 13 '18 at 18:59

In regards to playing saxophone, your best option would be to find someone that teaches private lessons locally. With wind instruments specifically, your embouchure is incredibly important as is breathing techniques. I know you stated you can't pay for classes right now, but even getting 2-3 lessons to make sure your basics are correct can save you so much time and prevent having to correct things later.

I would also run some Google Searches for online lesson courses (full courses). The cost is usually much, much less than private lessons. The big problem with YouTube videos is they lack any structure and jump around (which can make you worse).

As far as books go, there are series such as "Essential Elements" from Hal Leonard that I would recommend.

In broader terms about improving as a musician, I would learn the basics of music theory - how scales, keys, intervals, etc. work together to create music. I would also work on ear training so you can hear when you're in tune and when you need to adjust.

Hope this helps.


  • Other standard band methods include Standard of Excellence and Accent on Achievement. – John Doe Apr 13 '18 at 17:13
  • Please take a look at comment below, I think I didin't gave you a picture of my level (sorry for the bad English, I'm Brazilian). – Douglas de Moura Apr 13 '18 at 17:25

You say that you've been playing saxophone for a while, so it's possible that this is less relevant, but there is something to be said for proper equipment. many students who stop playing because they "can't do it" are actually quitting because they're on bad equipment: sometimes it's good horns that haven't seen the inside of a repair shop in a dozen years, and other times they have instruments that should never have been manufactured in the first place and aren't worth the metal it took to make them. If you've never taken it into a repair shop, find a local one with a NAPBIRT member, and have them take a look at it. Even if it plays "fine" or "well" or even "good", you may have no idea how much extra work you're doing to make a sound.

  • I've got a decent instrument from a repair shop here in São Paulo. I'm not such a beginner, like I've played the recorder as a kid and got the basics on music theory. I ask a few things from some friends that are professionals and currently I'm studying a Charlie Parker's solo from the omnibook (Anthropology). I'm looking for a better theory and harmony basis in order to start to improvise and even transcribe some solos. – Douglas de Moura Apr 13 '18 at 17:23
  • What brand is the horn? – John Doe Apr 15 '18 at 22:32
  • It's an Yamaha YAS-62 – Douglas de Moura Apr 15 '18 at 22:38
  • Cool. Then you're good to go! – John Doe Apr 16 '18 at 15:05

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