How To Play Tenor Saxophone?

For instance, you have a tenor saxophone. You know about saxophone but don't know the differences of playing various types of saxophones.

Then what is the necessity of having a tenor? You have to know about tenor saxophone and how to play that one.

The tenor saxophone is used in jazz groups, in a concert or marching bands. The tenor saxophone is a unique one.

purchasing tenor saxophone

It has a larger pitch than alto and smaller than hulking baritone. The tenor is similar to another instrument clarinet.

​It's a bit tricky to play, but with proper instruction, you can play correctly.

For helping you, here we are providing a guide on playing tenor saxophone.

Playing Guideline For Tenor Saxophone


An accurate instruction is the first most thing for playing a tenor. Step by step guidance is given here.

# Step 1:


First, borrow a saxophone from your nearer music shop. You can buy a secondhand one, but it should be good. Also, purchase other parts:

MouthpieceIt is not attached to the instrument. Buy a non-professional one for your learning. You better buy plastic or rubber made a mouthpiece.

Ligature: Metal one is ok. But leather one is better, but for this, you have to spend more.

Reed: Buy the branded one. Go with the one who needs less effort and produces the best effect.

Neck strap: ​Purchase the cheap one and which will not hurt your neck.

# Step 2:


The first thing to do is attach the neck to the body of the instrument. Place ligature on the mouthpiece, secure with screw.

Attach the hook with the neck strap, then file it with the instrument.

# Step 3:


The next step is about holding the tool in a correct way.

Place your left hand on the top and right hand on the bottom, right thumb under the curved thumb, left thumb on the round piece.

holding the tool

Your index, middle and ring finger of right hand should be on the mother of pearl keys.

Index on the second key, middle and ring finger should be on fourth and fifth key.

# Step 4:


When you are forming the embouchure, curl the lower lip and slightly cover your bottom teeth by lower lip.

Then hold your mouthpiece by you top teeth. After doing this, you need to adjust the placing.

# Step 5:


Blow into the saxophone without covering or placing holes or keys. You will hear a concert B.

If not then change your embouchure, which will help you to improve the tone. This can hurt your top teeth so that you can buy a mouth pad.

# Step 6:


First, uncover all the keys and press the second key down on which you have placed your middle finger.

Then press the first key with the left index.

These produce a C and a B respectively. Then press first and the second key, this develops an A. Continue covering the holes.

You can face trouble with lower notes, but practice can remove this problem. Add the metal or octave key to produce same notes.

# Step ​7:


Then buy a music sheet for practicing and practice more and more to develop your skill.

​Here is an amazing video on playing tenor made by Randy Hunter. Have a look for more idea...


Tips & tricks

  • ​When buying mouthpiece doesn't buy the cheapest one.
  • Don’t forget to use swab because saxophone needs moisture at the time of playing.
  • Stay away from putting fingers on the tiny key when holding sax.
  • Use grease on the neck area of the instrument.
  • Don does not press the neck too hard when assembling.
  • Be careful when moistening the ligature.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the easy tone for playing a tenor saxophone?

Ans: Songs with very few notes are the best one because playing tenor is a little tricky. So start with rhyme type songs like "Mary had a little lamb," "Jingle Bell" etc.

Q. Can you play a tenor sax having dentures?

Ans: Yes, of course. Because the maximum time you are not using your teeth and playing doesn't arise more problems of teeth.

Q. How to play long notes consistently?

Ans: This is a matter of practice. As a beginner, breathe in air and do this again and again. Gradually you can bring improvement.

Q. What will you do after losing the ligature screw?

Ans: It makes the sound change so modify the embouchure. You can find this at the music store.


​Final Words

The saxophone is a very melody instrument.

You can find difficult playing tenor sax, but we think when you are interested in something, how much tough it can't affect your desire.

If you are used to using another saxophone, then you can feel hard playing a tenor.

But you know better to learn musical instruments, so this is an advantage for you.

Last, of all, you need patience when learning tenor.

 Happy Music!

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1 comment
Teko khumalo says February 20, 2019

Hi I’m interested on playing tenor saxophone but I cant get the relevant person to teach me but I’m interested.

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