Why learning the saxophone benefits you?
The saxophone has always featured in people’s lists when deciding upon an instrument to learn due to its “cool” image. Apart from the obvious admiration that you will receive from your friends for your excellent choice of instrument (in my entirely biased opinion!), there are many reasons for you to start playing such as:
1. Expressing your creativity
Saxophones are probably most recognised as a Jazz instrument, but this is not the only genre that they are featured in. Saxes are also very popular in other genres such as classical, contemporary, marching bands and soul to name a few, meaning the saxophone suits almost every creative taste! Playing any musical instrument allows you express your creative side, but the saxophone is particularly good for this due to its wide range of dynamics and flexible sound, allowing you to convey many emotions and styles.
2. There’s a Saxophone to suit everyone!
In total there are 9 different types of saxophone, but the most popular 4 are the Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Baritone saxes. With the Soprano being the smallest and highest in pitch, and the Baritone being the biggest and lowest in pitch of the 4, this means there is a saxophone suitable for everyone! So whether you are tall or short, or enjoy playing the melody or bassline parts in bands there is a saxophone for you.
3. Music helps you academically
There are hundreds of reasons why learning an instrument is a great thing to do, but did you know that it can help improve your academic abilities in areas including literacy and maths? Playing an instrument improves aural skills and the ability to distinguish different sounds, which aids in the development of language. It also improves a person’s abstract reasoning skills (the ability to identify logical patterns), which is an essential skill for maths and science. So pick that saxophone up and get playing!
4. It is SO sociable
Playing an orchestral instrument like the saxophone allows you to get involved in a wide variety of musical groups and events. Playing the saxophone in a wind band for example, can help with important life skills, such as how to relate to others, how to work as a team, and build leadership skills. These skills are transferable, and very desirable in many different careers. It also allows you to meet lots of different people, and hopefully make friends with people who share the same passion for music!
5. It teaches you patience, and perseverance
You are unlikely to get instant results and progression when starting to learn the saxophone, especially if you are new to music, but this can be a good thing. Learning a new skill that might take some time to master, but you know will be worth it in the end, makes you persevere with the practice as you learn that the more you do the better you are going to become. You are likely to stick at it and be more patient with yourself as you realise that every practise session builds from the last one making you a more accomplished musician one step at a time.
6. You can “switch off”
Playing a musical instrument is quite well known as a relaxing past time, as it allows you to focus on one thing, whether it be reading the notes in front of you or practicing your scales, and for a period of time you can forget about the stresses of daily life. Music making can also greatly improve your mood, especially if you pick an upbeat piece to play, or one of your all-time favourites that never fails to put a smile on your face when you play it. If all this fails however, you can always make an almighty racket on your saxophone for 10 minutes to vent your frustrations!
7. Improves your memory
Playing an instrument has now been proven by a number of different studies to improve your overall memory, due to the amount of brain power that is used when playing. Your brain has to become more active when playing as what you are reading and hearing has to be received and processed, and work alongside your motor and cognitive skills to make your hands move to create the correct sounds and rhythms. Think of it as a workout for your brain, and as your brain becomes “fitter” your memory will almost certainly improve!
8. You will have a skill for life
Playing the saxophone could be compared to riding a bike in some respects; you should supposedly never forget how to ride a bike due to your bodies muscle memory and therefore have a natural ability to remember how to pedal, and it is much the same for an instrument. It is pretty impressive how your fingers and hands remember the positions to play certain notes, however rusty you may sound after a few years away from playing!
9. It’s not as hard as it looks.
Many people say their biggest regret in life was never learning an instrument, but also admit to being put off as they think it is a far too difficult to master. However, with enough time and perseverance it is possible for the majority of people to become an instrumentalist, and even better a saxophonist! Music is a lot like learning a new language; the notation is the words, and the sounds produced by the saxophone are the verbalisation of what you are reading.
10. The Sax is an AWESOME instrument!
Finally, and most importantly, the saxophone is a great instrument to play! With its wide dynamic range, variety of tonal colours, and smooth, rich sound it is possible to musically convey almost every emotion, and really enjoy playing an instrument. So, what are you waiting for? Pick up that Sax and get playing!
Original story by Isabelle Howie at normans.co.uk