No Sound From My Saxophone ?

Recently I was asked the following question from one of my online saxophone lessons students:
Thank you Matthew for the encouraging words!!  My question is I am blowing on the mouth piece as you show how in your lesson, however, no sound is coming out.  What am I doing wrong?  Please!  I so want to do this, but I ‘m somewhat discouraged today not being able blow out sound.
Thank You!
Sandra

I thought this was a great question from a beginner saxophone perspective – from someone who has never played saxophone before – so I thought that I’d share my answer.

 

8 helpful tips for how to get a sound out of your saxophone 🙂

 

It is actually quite easy to NOT get a sound out of a saxophone !

 


 

Hi Sandra,

Excellent question !

A few suggestions:

1.  Make sure that you have some new reeds – preferably size 1.5, preferably Rico or Rico Royal reeds.  Quite often the reeds that come with a new saxophone are cheap and nasty planks of wood that are ridiculously hard and therefore difficult for a beginner saxophonist.  Here is a blog post I wrote about Saxophone Reeds for Beginners which may help.

2.  Try blowing into just the mouthpiece (with the reed attached) – don’t put the mouthpiece onto the saxophone itself.  The result should be a high pitched sound/note.  This might help make it easier to get your mouth and embouchure used to the weirdness that you are forcing upon it.  It might take a few tries, but don’t stress !

3.  Keep your cheeks tight.  Keep your lips tight.  But not too tight !!  There needs to be a perfectly airtight seal between your lips and the mouthpiece itself, yet air still needs to be able to flow through between the mouthpiece and the reed.  The combination of lips and cheeks and face muscles is called your “embouchure”.  Your face will initially be unused to this.  Just like if a person who has never run a marathon before, if they tried to do so they will get very tired very quickly because their muscles are not used to running for so far and so long….it’s the same concept with face muscles – but only at the very beginning !  Here is a blog post I wrote about having the correct Saxophone Embouchure, which explains this tip in a bit more depth.

4.  Make sure your bottom lip is folded over between your bottom teeth and the reed.  Make sure your top teeth are resting gently on the mouthpiece itself.  Don’t bite !!!

5.  Experiment with how much mouthpiece is actually in your mouth.  Perhaps try to put the mouthpiece into your mouth just a little bit further.  The natural tendency for beginners is to not put the mouthpiece far enough in between their lips.  We are not kissing the mouthpiece gently, nor are we shoving it all the way into your mouth – there is a happy mid point that may take 10 or 20 or 30 seconds worth of experimenting with.

6.  Use a bit more air / lungs / oomph power.  Try blowing harder, without biting down or tightening your mouth.

7.  It could be one or some or all of the above suggestions that may be the cause and reason for you not getting any sound out of your saxophone.  No sound from your saxophone is an EXTREMELY temporary issue that affects people who are brand new to the saxophone.

Saxophone no sound

No Sound From My Saxophone

8.  Don’t stress or worry.  Have a glass of wine.  Eat some ice cream.  Indulge briefly in your vice of choice.  Go and check the letter box to see if the postman has been today.  Pat the dog.  Put the saxophone down, wander off for a few minutes and then come back and try again.

Does this help ?

Keep going – you’ll get there !!!

🙂

Thanks,

Matthew


 

P.S. So, there are my 8 tips for how to get a sound out of your saxophone.  Please feel free to share this blog post if you have found it helpful, using the social sharing icons below.

P.P.S.  If you would like simple step by step instructions to help you learn how to play the saxophone:

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