How Is The Saxophone Played ?

The short answer to ” How Is The Saxophone Played ? ” is: by picking it up, blowing in one end and wiggling your fingers on the outside of it.

Perhaps a longer answer is more appropriate and helpful.

The saxophone is physically quite a complex instrument – but is actually relatively easy to play.

A saxophone is essentially a long tube made of brass.  Your fingers press keys on the outside of this long tube which varies the length of this tube.

Varying the length of the tube in turn varies the pitch of the sounds/notes that come out of it.  A shorter tube length results in higher sounds, a longer tube length makes lower sounds.

The sound is essentially controlled by two things in combination: the musicians breath and a reed attached to the saxophone mouthpiece.

How Is The Saxophone Played

How Is The Saxophone Played

A reed is a little flat piece of wood, roughly the size of a finger.  Due to the shape of the mouthpiece, the reed vibrates when air is passed over it.

The vibrations of the reed caused by the saxophonists breath produce the sound.

So, the saxophone player ( known as a “saxophonist” ) can control how hard or soft they exhale and blow into their saxophone.  This causes the overall volume of the notes to change:  blowing hard makes loud notes, blowing softly makes quite notes.

They can also control the pitch of the notes by using their fingers and pressing the external saxophone keys in specific combinations.

A skilled musician can make a saxophone sound magnificent.


Even someone who has just started to learn how to play the sax, with some help, can make great sounding music and have great fun doing it.


And that, dear reader, is hopefully a helpful answer to how is the saxophone played.



P.S.  If you are looking for a bit more guidance in regards to how the saxophone is actually played, then I can help you with saxophone lessons in our membership area.  Let me help you learn how to play the sax, quickly and easily !

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