Children are never too young to become interested in music and playing instruments, but some instruments work best for older students—are saxophones one of them? When is a good age to start learning the saxophone?
Saxophones are a larger, weightier instrument making it a better fit for children at least seven but ideally nine to eleven. The saxophone can be challenging for younger children to handle and maneuver properly, which can affect playing. Older children are able to play the sax more effectively.
If your child has shown interest in playing an instrument or the saxophone specifically, it is important to learn more about the instrument and what age group it works best for. We will further discuss how to know when your child is ready to play and options for even younger children. To learn more, keep reading!
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Is the Saxophone Too Challenging for Kids?
One issue that many run into when it comes to the saxophone is that it is more challenging of an instrument for younger children.
While many students can begin learning at a very young age, saxophone is a more advanced instrument. However, most children between nine and eleven are ready for the instrument, while seven or eight is a minimum age.
A regular alto saxophone is much too heavy for a younger child. This is due to the weight, which can make it more challenging for a student to learn. However, there are smaller saxophones that children can use that are smaller and lighter, making them easier to utilize.
Besides weight, the saxophone is a relatively complex instrument—but plenty of children have had success learning it despite this. In reality, the complexity of an instrument like the saxophone can be frustrating for some kids, but spark engagement with others.
Even if your child is physically able to hold and use the saxophone, you should try to understand their interest level, ability, and even their emotional fortitude when dealing with frustration and endurance. We’ll discuss all of this below.
When to Know Your Child is Ready
Beyond the child’s ability to maneuver the instrument, it is actually very important that your child is musically and emotionally ready. It is important that you weigh your child’s readiness and decide if you think they are prepared to take on the responsibility of learning an instrument. This process should start as a simple introduction and then progress into more formal lessons.
Assessing Musical Readiness of a Child for Saxophone
There are a few things to consider when it comes to your child’s musical readiness. If your child is younger, it can be difficult for them to listen to music and play or sing on tune. However, once your child is able to match a rhythm singing, they can more than likely to play more effectively.
Some things to keep in mind are:
- Does your child sing on tune to familiar songs? Can they copy a tune?
- Do you believe that your child could use his or her ears to determine if they are playing the correct notes? This will help your child progress more naturally when playing.
- Assess your child’s fine motor skills, as this is also a major factor. If your child’s fine motor skills are not as developed, this can hinder their playing skills.
Overall, assess if your child is musically and physically ready to play a saxophone.
Assessing Emotional Readiness
This perhaps is more important than musical readiness and it is critical for your child to be emotionally prepared to take on learning how to play an instrument. This is not an easy task and is something a child should be interested in.
If your child is not interested in playing an instrument, it is best to wait until they are without forcing them.
Some ways to weigh your child’s emotional readiness are:
- Do you believe your child could practice the instrument regularly? Do they seem committed to learning?
- Does your child complete homework and other responsibilities easily? Do they feed the family pet? Pick up their room? Take on other responsibilities?
- Has your child played a sport? Do they enjoy practicing and go to practice without excessive complaint?
- Does your child want to learn an instrument? Is this something they have expressed interest in?
Essentially, if your child is not interested or does not seem that they will want to complete lessons, this may not be the time to begin learning the saxophone.
What is the Best Saxophone for Kids?
One of the most important parts of learning the saxophone is ensuring you get an instrument that fits your child’s size and needs. It is really important to consider the physical restraints that your child may have, such as their size and arm span.
A major reason why some younger children cannot learn the instrument is because they do not have enough physical strength.
The Alto Saxophone
For most younger players, the alto saxophone is the instrument of choice. Most seven- to eight-year-old children can handle this instrument well, but it can still be large for some smaller built children. The alto saxophone itself is around two feet in length and is a lower weight.
The best way to ensure that your child can use this instrument properly is to allow them to hold the instrument and practice moving their fingers on the keys. If they seem to be struggling with the weight or size of the instrument, it may be best to wait on lessons. However, there is one option for smaller children that are interested called the Alphasax.
What is an Alphasax?
Traditionally an alto saxophone is used in most sax lessons for children. Since the instrument goes around the child’s neck, it can be very challenging for smaller seven-year-old children or those a bit younger. The Alphasax is an altered saxophone that is made to be smaller in size and weight.
This Alphasax is a newer innovation and allows much younger children to learn the saxophone. Comparatively, this sax is 33% lighter than a traditional sax and much easier for children to use as a starter instrument. Of course, it is still best to assess your child’s readiness, but a younger child can use this instrument to begin learning sax.
Saxophone Lessons for Teens and Adults
While children can learn how to play instruments quite effectively, a saxophone can be a bit more challenging of an option. Many preteens and teens take on learning the sax and can often be a better fit. The weight of the sax, key distance, and other physical considerations actually make preteens and teens a great option for this instrument.
Often it is easier for children to learn new things, such as playing instruments. However, you are never too old to begin learning an instrument and sax is great for all age groups. If you have an older child such as a teen or even young adult, they are still a great fit for learning this instrument.
What Is The Best Age To Start Saxophone? Final Thoughts
While it is truly never too young for your child to begin loving music, the saxophone is one instrument that works best for older children who can more properly hold the device. The ideal age for the instrument is not set in stone but most children under seven struggle with the size and weight.
However, it is always best to assess your own child’s musical, emotional, and physical readiness for learning the instrument.