Songs First or Scales First ?

When learning the saxophone it can be tricky to know where to start.

Notes ?  Which notes ?

Scales ?  Which scales ?  What are the notes in the scales anyway ?

Songs ?  What songs ?  My favourite song is too hard !!  But I really want to play <insert song name here>….

The best place to start learning a musical instrument – including learning how to play the saxophone – is with easy songs.

Hot Cross Buns is a classic old favourite that everyone knows.

Next on the list is Mary Had A Little Lamb (sometimes known as “Merrily We Roll Along”) – again, many people in the world know this song.

These songs can be played in several fingering positions on the saxophone – and indeed on any other musical instrument. This means there is ample opportunity to quickly learn different notes and different fingering positions.

These songs are also ingrained inside peoples minds – certainly in the so called western world. If you can sing it, or hear it in your head, then you can play it….perhaps not immediately, but it makes things MUCH easier if you know the song you are trying to play – hence the little nursery rhymes being a fantastic place to start.


Scales are the vegetables of music.


You need to eat your vegetables, otherwise you won’t grow up to be big and strong.

Saxophone Lessons

Songs First Or Scales First ?

It is the same with scales and musical instruments. You do need to dedicate a few minutes to scales, because they will help you master your instrument, get your fingers working, help with the muscle memory and engage your ears.

However, songs are both the main course and the dessert of music. You will get much more satisfaction and personal reward from playing songs !

Play the kind of music that YOU want to play. Play the songs that YOU want to play.

Just remember to eat some of your vegetables.




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