How to improve your saxophone technique

One of the many questions I get asked is, “How do I improve my saxophone technique?”

Technique, when playing any musical instrument is extremely important in order to play your favorite pieces and also express a message you are trying to say through your music.

Of course, if you don't have a beautiful tone to match your great technique, your audience will tune you out. (If you really want a rock solid, full tone throughout the range of the horn, you must check out my Get a Killer Saxophone Tone course.)

Think about all the conversations you have with your musician-friends…

You talk about your favorite player…you talk about how amazing their tone can they sound so full in the altissimo…how can they sub-tone so easily….how do they sound so effortless…

The you talk about technique and your favorite licks you want to figure out…how did your favorite player play so fast…how did they know what notes to play…

That leads to the next most popular question I get which is, “Do I need to just play scales to improve my technique?”

There are a ton of ways to improve one's saxophone technique in addition to playing scales.

But….if you really want to increase your vocabulary on your instrument, you need to know and understand a whole bunch of scales.

Look at it this way…in order to be able to speak any language, you need to learn all the letters that form the words. The more words you know, the more eloquent you will speak.

The more scales you know, the more technique you will be able to build and the more music you will be able to play. 

Of course, scales aren't the only way to build technique.

Find out what I mean by checking out the videos below for tips and resources to build your technique with, and without scales.

Other Resources to Build Your Saxophone Technique


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  1. I am not exactly a beginner but I have been able to skip learning all the scales and doing long tones.. What would you suggest I concentrate on to get better? Thanks! Michael

    • I would honestly suggest that you do study your scales because they are a fundamental part of music language, and also practice long tones to build up your embouchure strength, hearing and muscle memory. My course, Get a Killer Saxophone Tone, provides different ways of approaching long tones, as well as exercises to build up your range and fill up your tone.

  2. dan Jacobson says

    I am not exactly a beginner either but I have become obsessed with trying to learn to play a good sounding vibrato. Any exercises you can recommend ? I do sustained vibrato on higher notes as well as scales on the lower end. I use the metronome . My control is fair…but not awful. Any other suggestions?

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