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A Guide to Free Online Saxophone Lessons

A Guide to Free Online Sax Lessons

The days where saxophone lessons could only be done in person or through whatever books we could procure have come to an end. While there’s really no substitute for in-person lessons, there are many great resources out there for those looking to learn the saxophone for the first time, or those who want to break out of their normal practice routines.

Websites containing free online saxophone lessons offer us techniques and approaches that might have never occurred to us were we taking direction exclusively from our private teachers and personal collection of books.

The List

Rico’s YouTube Channel

Featuring incredible video lessons by saxophonists including Michael Brecker, Jerry Bergonzi, Walt Weiskopf, and even Kenny G among many others, legendary reed manufacturer Rico offers an amazing free online resource. Although some of the lessons are for clarinet (which will probably be helpful to many of you as well), there is a massive amount of great video content specifically for the saxophone.

Hirsch’s Jazz Nuggets

Created by saxophonist, composer, and educator Rick Hirsch, this is one of the best sax-related YouTube channels I’ve seen yet. Each well-produced video features Rick going over topics such as embouchure, overtones, reeds, and jazz improvisation. Rick’s lessons are taught in a very straightforward & easygoing manner which makes them a pleasure to watch and learn from.

Randy Hunter Jazz

Although access to much of Randy’s educational content is not free, there’s enough free material on this page to make the site well worth visiting. Covering a wide array of topics from saxophone fundamentals, scalar exercises, jazz improvisation, and composition, there’s a lot to keep you busy here. On top of all of that, you can download several transcriptions of great jazz saxophonists as well PDF & MP3 play-along sets.

Taming the Saxophone

Pete Thomas generously offers us an abundant plethora of saxophone exercises and detailed lessons mostly geared towards beginning to intermediate students. Subjects covered include fingering, scales, tone production, and even a section on playing rock and roll saxophone. One thing that’s quite rare about Pete’s lesson plan is that it offers day-1 instruction for those who have never even picked up a saxophone before including topics such finding as finding the basic equipment and assembling the horn.

MattOtto.org

Brilliant Kansas City saxophonist Matt Otto offers an impressive collection of mostly jazz improvisation-related lessons going teaching harmony and rhythm from a saxophonists perspective. The ear-expanding lessons are video-based with some accompanying text, and best of all, a downloadable PDF for each exercise. Matt’s teaching style is very easy to follow and many of the exercises presented sound cool and are a lot of fun to play.

RyanFraser.com

Classical saxophonist and educator Ryan Fraser offers a website packed with information on the fundamentals of proper saxophone playing. Topics such as posture, breathing, tone production, and equipment – to name just a few, are presented in Ryan’s entertaining yet descriptive writing style. Although the site hasn’t been updated in a long time, the information given here is timeless and extremely beneficial to saxophonists at all levels.

Casa Valdez Studios

Oregon saxophonist David Valdez’ blog is jam-packed with incredible information technical exercises, a rare audio masterclass with Joe Henderson, improvisation techniques, and much more. Although there are a few posts that are music reviews and not actually saxophone lessons, the quality and depth of the lessons that comprise most of the blog make this site definitely worth frequenting.

Tim Price’s Lessons Page

Renown jazz saxophonist and educator offers a gaggle of downloadable saxophone, improvisation, and music theory exercises mostly in PDF format. Due to all of the theory and improv-related lessons, I would say that these are more geared towards the intermediate to advanced player. All of the lessons are on a single page, which makes it easy to grab everything you need quickly.

SaxLessons.com

While being a bit difficult to navigate, Alastair Ingram’s intuitively titled website is a great resource mostly geared towards beginning students. With helpful descriptions of basic musical concepts coupled with useful exercises, this site is a great starting point if you’re new to the saxophone, or if you’re a saxophone teacher looking for additional materials to offer your students. One notable offering is the Jazz Webcasts page which features a downloadable mp3 recording of an interview with John Coltrane.

Kelly Bucheger’s “Daily Grind”

Although Kelly’s lessons here are only 2 pages, this collection of invaluable warm up material is a compact and ultra-useful tool for anyone looking for a solid warm up routine.

You Can Play Sax

Consisting of user-submitted videos, this site offers quite a bit of free instructional content. Since just about anyone can submit their videos, the quality of the videos may be inconsistent, but there does seem to be a good amount of useful information.

DanChristian.net

Saxophonist Dan Christian has an impressive collection of videos geared more towards the beginning player. The nice thing is that the videos and the site in general are well organized so it’s easy to get a sense of what’s being offered.

The Wrap Up

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro looking to break out of a stale practice rut, these online resources are here to help kick you up to the next level.

Happy online lesson…ing(?).

Category: Best of the Blog, Best Saxophone Tips and Techniques

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About the Author

I've been playing the sax since the late 80's, but my musical journey has run quite the gamut. The musical rap sheet includes tours with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and reggae master Half Pint, center stage at the L.A. Music Center, cozy cafes, raucous night clubs, gear-drenched studios, and the pinnacle of any musician's career - playing weddings in New Jersey! (duh). There's a lot of other stuff too, but you should be reading these blog posts and leaving comments instead. Now off you go!

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Comments (18)

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  1. Rick Hirsch says:

    Doron,

    What a fantastically useful list. I’ll be sure to send it to my students! And, I’m thrilled and honored to have been included on it.

    Thanks, and keep up with this good stuff!

    best from Pennsylvania,
    ~ Rick

    • Doron says:

      So glad you found the list useful, especially for your students. We’re so lucky to have as many resources as we do today.

      Will indeed do everything I can to help my fellow saxfolk out, and thanks so much for the kind words of support.

      Best wishes from LA,

      Doron

  2. [...] (To learn more about Matt’s musical journey, hop on over to mattotto.org to get both his free and for-sale albums, as well as some super-cool free online lessons.) [...]

  3. [...] Joe Henderson. I figured I’d leave the bio to Wikipedia and instead offer you some virtual sax lessons from the master [...]

  4. George says:

    Is there any website to learn Sax playing by my self

    • Hello George,

      To have a structured program that takes you through all of the beginning stages of learning to play, you’ll almost certainly have to spend a little bit of money.

      Randy Hunter is a great teacher and offers some courses you can purchase through his website: http://www.beginningsax.com/Beginner%20Sax%20Lessons.htm

      There are also a lot of great teachers, Randy included who teach via Skype, so if there are any players you admire, you can always ask if they’d be willing to teach you via online lessons.

      Of course, in-person lessons are the best option if you’re willing to commit some time and money, as that will be your quickest route to making progress on the horn.

      Thanks for stopping by, I hope all of that helps,

      Doron

  5. [...] 3) A Guide to Free Online Saxophone Lessons – one of my favorite online friends and part of my panel discussion on social media during the NASA conference next month, I love Doron’s site. This is a great article – it’s nice to have all those resources in one place! [...]

  6. giulio says:

    Hey Doron, thanks for your Best.Ever.WebSax.
    I had visited already everybody of your above list while searching for free infos online and whatever else one could learn from, but never yet “Daily Grind”.
    (I will check it). And I agree with your choice and classification.
    Only I think you could/should include also Jazclass by Michael Furstner which has quite a lot to offer for free and it is actually the first I came in contact with in my search.
    I keep exploring your site/blogs/post and try to apply tips and ‘leaks’.
    thanks. until next. Giulio.

    • Hello Giullo,

      Very happy to hear that you’re enjoying the website, and thanks for sharing the Jazzclass website.

      I hope to keep providing you helpful information, my friend,

      Doron

  7. [...] A Guide to Free Online Saxophone Lessons (BEST. SAXOPHONE. WEBSITE. EVER.) [...]

  8. Hey Doron,

    I was wondering if you’d consider adding my site to the list? http://danchristian.net

    I have over 40 free Saxophone video lessons up there at the moment and I’m trying to dedicate as much time as I can to keep expanding them. Thanks for taking the time to put up this list, really useful resource!

    Kind regards and happy Christmas,

    Dan Christian

  9. Thanks for the information!!! When I started teaching saxophone 10 years ago there was a limited supply of online resources for teachers. I decided to create my own lesson plans, and I posted them on my website for free. All of my postings are PDF’s…. I especially had trouble finding transcriptions of songs by rock/funk/punk/reggae artists!! Therefore, I created “Saxophone Tabs” of some common songs along with other lessons. They can be found here:
    http://saxophonestyles.yolasite.com/lesson-plans.php

  10. Sax Guru says:

    Saxophone Guru http://www.saxophoneguru.com/

    is a great online resource to help beginners learn how to play the saxophone by themselves. It has great 1-1 help, video tutorials and members forums.

    Check it out

  11. Sax Guru says:

    Hey Doron, would you mind adding my site to the list? http://www.saxophoneguru.com/ we have a paid members area but the first lesson is absolutely free!

    • Your course looks great, but unfortunately I am only including sites that have a fairly wide selection of free materials, so one video would not fit the bill for this particular article. But thanks for reaching out, best of luck with your course!

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