About the Saxophone
Types of Saxophones
Alto Saxophone - This is the main saxophone that students begin on. It is a medium size and is the most widely used saxophone in the saxophone family. When you are searching for reeds and instrument equipment, make sure you get it for the correct type of saxophone.
Tenor Saxophone - This is another common saxophone that is played in middle school and high school. It is slightly larger than the alto saxophone and plays lower notes. When you are searching for reeds and instrument equipment, make sure you get it for the correct type of saxophone.
Baritone Saxophone - This is largest and lowest saxophone in the saxophone family that is played in middle school and high school. When you are searching for reeds and instrument equipment, make sure you get it for the correct type of saxophone.
Soprano Saxophone - This is the smallest and highest saxophone in the common saxophone family. It is not used in middle school and rarely in high school. When you are searching for reeds and instrument equipment, make sure you get it for the correct type of saxophone.
Soak your reed.
Loosen neck strap, and place it around your neck.
Grab the body of the instrument by mostly gripping with the right hand on the bell, and then place the body on your right leg.
Connect the neck strap on the back of the body of the saxophone.
Loosen the neck screw on the top of the saxophone where the neck would be placed.
Assemble your mouthpiece (refer back to assembling a mouthpiece section) and gently do a back-and forth twist onto the neck cork. The table of the mouthpiece will be facing downwards. Apply cork grease if needed. *Note: Be careful when gripping onto the octave key vent when putting the mouthpiece onto the neck.
Connect the now assembled neck to the body. Watch out for the octave pin that sticks out a bit from the body. This pin goes under/inside the octave key mechanism found at the curve of the neck.
Gently tighten the neck screw. Then slide the neck strap so that the mouthpiece aligns with your embouchure when sitting in a relaxed, upright position.
Wash your hands and rinse the mouth to remove any food debris before each time you play the saxophone.
Swab every time you are finished playing. Remove the neck and swab the body and the neck separately. The purpose of the swab is to get rid of all the extra moisture in the instrument. *Note: Do not leave your swab or pad saver inside the instrument.
Dissemble the rest of the instrument in reverse order. Remember to put on the end plug on the top of the body to protect the octave pin.
Wipe the extra moisture of the reed and place it in the reed case/guard.
Brands: Vandoren, Rico Royale, La Voz
Sizes: 1.5 for beginners, 2 - 2.5 for intermediate, thicker for more advanced
Saxophone pad saver (do not leave it in the instrument when done cleaning)
Plastic mouthpiece cover/cap instead of a metal one
Swab, preferably silk (remember to not use one that has exposed metal to not scratch the inside of the instrument)
Reed case/guard to hold multiple reeds (optional)
Mouthpiece cushion (optional)
Buying (or Renting) a Saxophone
Buying a Saxophone
Buying your student an instrument is the best way to get them involved in the school band program. There are many options and instruments can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Make sure you look at user reviews and find an instrument that will work well. Spending extra money on better quality now will prevent you from spending hundreds on repairs later. Below are a couple of good resources for finding instruments. Please contact the band director to make sure the instrument you purchase is the right model and a good fit.
Renting a Saxophone
If you are unable to purchase an instrument, local music stores normally have some that you can rent. There's normally a monthly rental fee of $25 - $35 (or more). You will want to contact multiple music stores to see if they have any available. Please contact the band director if you have questions. Below are links to some local music stores.
Borrowing Instruments from School
Gridley Unified School District has a select number of instruments that can be loaned to students. Normally these instruments have been donated or well used by previous students. There is a limited number available. When students first start on their instrument, it is normal for them to borrow from the school; however, after 1 year the school hopes that students will be able to rent or buy their own instrument so that incoming students will be able to play on school instruments. The holiday season (November and December) is a great time to buy an instrument - especially if there are holiday sales. Please contact the band director if you have questions.