Online learning resources, be it courses, videos, written content, one-on-one coaching, apps, et cetera, provide fantastic opportunities to learn (and teach) how to play the saxophone and understand music more generally. Though nothing truly beats dedicated in-person saxophone lessons, there are plenty of excellent alternatives online.
Note that by “resources,” I'm not only referring to video tutoring and full-length courses (though these are arguably the best options). I'm also considering masterclasses, applications, videos and articles, and other online resources for learning how to play the saxophone.
Though obviously subjective and prone to biases, I've done my best to list out these resources based on the following metrics (in no particular order):
- Reputation of the saxophone learning resource
- Quality of education in technique, theory, and learning real songs
- Organization and depth of learning, including the types of saxophones taught (soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and more)
- Adaptability of teaching to individual students (one-on-one lessons are best here)
- The resource must be currently available
With all that being said, let's list out the learning resources.
The top 11 best online resources to learn how to play the saxophone are:
- Sage Music
- Better Sax
- Taming The Saxophone
- Cambridge Saxophone
- Sax School Online
- Music Professor
In this article, we'll go through each of the above-mentioned resources to get a stronger idea of what makes them great for learning the saxophone. Whether you're a complete beginner or a successful professional, there is always something to learn! I'll include links to check out each option for yourself to learn more about saxophones. We'll also consider a few “honourable mentions” worth considering.
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ArtistWorks was founded by Patricia and David Butler in 2008. Currently, the headquarters are in Napa, California.
ArtistWorks is one of the biggest online platforms to learn how to play musical instruments in the world. As such, the professors' roster they handle is as big as it gets and includes some of the best in the world in their discipline. For example, in the case of saxophone lessons, ArtistWorks offers the services of Grammy-Award winner jazz saxophonist Eric Marienthal.
He is not only a top-notch teacher but a player of such calibre that he was recruited by no other than Chick Corea to be in his Elektric Band. As a member of that band, he got 2 of his 5 Grammy Award nominations. The other came from his 13 solo albums and his work with Elton John, Stevie Wonder, and Barbara Streisand, among many others.
But how does Eric pour his knowledge into a course that can help you become a stat saxophone player? Well, Eric not only put into ArtistWorks a comprehensive archive of video lessons but can also work with you through the platform's video exchange tool so you can learn scales, and modes, get ear training and also get backing tracks and charts.
Finally, with your subscription, you get unlimited access to the video library, the video exchange tool, and several music theory workshops.
TrueFire was founded by Brad Wendkos in 1991. Currently, headquarters are in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Having four Grammy Award Winners in your artist roster is not something every online teaching platform can say. Although it is a guitar player-oriented site (with names such as Steve Vai, Robben Ford, Joe Bonamassa, Tommy Emmanuel, Larry Carlton, and Pat Martino, among many others), the sax teacher on the platform is no other than the great Bill Evans.
In case you don't know who he is, he is a two-time Grammy Award nominee who was chosen to play the saxophone by Miles Davis in his band. Now, after over 15 solo records, he joined this platform to bring all his secrets oriented to blues and jazz through video lessons.
If those are the styles you want to learn about, and Bill Evans is a player you admire, check out TrueFire.
8notes Saxophone Lessons was established by Red Balloon Technology Ltd in 2001. Currently, the headquarters are in St. Albans, England.
8notes is a site dedicated mostly to music sheets, so those who are well-versed in reading music will find this site a goldmine of knowledge. The site is divided into styles, including jazz, classical, rock & pop, wedding, Christmas, and many others. Also, the platform offers many introductory lessons for those taking their first steps with the instrument. Finally, the play-along jam tracks, licks & riffs section, improvisation pieces, and chord charts are great to get the mojo going with the instrument.
But that's not all since the 8notes covers alto, tenor, baritone, and sax duets, so whatever your taste in tone and instrument choice is covered when you subscribe for members-only content. That being said, there is also a large, comprehensive section with free sheet music so you can get started without paying one cent.
If you are well-versed in reading music and want a one-stop solution for your saxophone education, 8notes saxophone lessons is a must-check.
Sage Music was founded by Jason Sagebiel in 2012. Currently, the headquarters are in New York City.
Sage Music was founded by an MTNA-certified music teacher with a Bachelor's Degree in Music from Loyola University in New Orleans and a Master's Degree in Music from the City University of New York.
With that technical background, Jason Sagebiel put together a one-of-a-kind method he named Arpeggio that is applied to every instrument the school teaches, including saxophone. The idea of these lessons is that you don't learn a specific song but give the student the tools needed to play any song on the saxophone. This way, the platform empowers the player rather than filling a gap.
The same Arpeggio system can be applied to all tiers, so, regardless of your playing skills (beginner, intermediate, or advanced), this school can take your playing to the next level utilizing the school's proprietary teaching system.
Finally, Sage Music teaches children and adults alike, so there are no excuses not to check their website out. Furthermore, you can take a free, anonymous quiz that will tailor the page to your exact needs.
Better Sax was founded by Jay Metcalf in 2014. Currently, headquarters are in Nice, France.
Jay is not only a saxophone teacher; he is also, and primarily, a professional musician who has been touring the world for the past 20 years. Although he enjoys a brilliant present with his instrument, it wasn't always the case since he found the resources that taught him to play back in the day were lacking, too complicated, or just plain inefficient.
Moreover, he found that 90% of his playing was outside what he had learned at school regarding classic and jazz playing.
Thus, while touring, he started to think of a method that could help other players in their journey to mastery in an easy, fun way. Soon after, the “Pentatonic Foundation Course” was born. This method could work as a bridge between the classic and jazz formations giving the student the tools to play the instrument in whatever style he or she chooses. This way, Jay filled a huge gap that has affected sax students for decades.
If this sounds like the kind of formation you would like to receive with your instrument, checking his website is a must.
Taming The Saxophone
Taming the Saxophone was founded by Pete Thomas. Currently, the headquarters are in Southampton, England.
Pete Thomas is a world-class saxophone player and teacher who worked with artists the size of Fats Domino, Elton John, R.E.M., Bill Haley & His Comets, PJ Harvey, and The Proclaimers, among many others. Moreover, he's a producer, videogame, film and TV composer, and recording artist.
After seeing the world with his saxophone in his hands, he was invited by Virgin (one of the world's largest record labels) to create instructional DVDs for aspiring saxophone players where he could pour all his knowledge, experience, and unique talent.
On the Taming the Saxophone website, you can find a plethora of resources, all of Pete's music, his beginner's course for free download, and the rest of the volumes for intermediate, advanced, and expert students, including resources like riffs and licks.
Another great resource this site offers is the “Saxophone Café,” a virtual hangout venue where you can connect with like-minded musicians. Finally, Pete Thomas also makes his own brand of mouthpieces available on the site.
Dan Forshaw founded Cambridge Saxophone. Currently, the headquarters are in Cambridge, England.
Dan Forshaw is, before anything else, a sought-after musician who has played with some of the biggest names in the world. Moreover, he has been teaching how to play the instrument for decades, covering a wide variety of techniques and styles such as jazz, pop, soul, dance, rock, and classical music.
Cambridge Saxophone is a platform that works mainly in three different ways: with a blog of video lessons, one-on-one lessons through Skype, and personal lessons for those who live in Cambridge or near.
The philosophy behind the school is Dan's lifelong motto which is relying on passion and motivation to find the right path. In this vein, he says that what most call talent is a mix made of 95% perspiration, 3% inspiration, and 2% confidence.
Therefore, he aims to motivate and direct his students to find the passion that will take them to practice enough and build the much-needed confidence to be stars. The rest, that 95% of perspiration, is what he expects from his students.
If you'd like to have personal or Skype lessons with an accomplished teacher who can navigate several music styles, Cambridge Saxophone is worth checking out.
Sax School Online
Sax School Online was founded by Nigel McGill in 2014. Currently, the headquarters are in Huddersfield, England.
Sax School Online has helped over 10,000 students reach their musical goals. Moreover, Nigel's YouTube channel, created in 2011 to offer fellow saxophone players advice and teaching, has surpassed 8.5 million views.
This powerful teaching style has not only gathered a legion of students around Nigel, but it was also a pulling force for some of the most talented teachers in the world to join the school. These six outstanding tutors were handpicked by the man himself to help students in their journey.
Speaking of which, the school offers a plethora of options to accommodate beginner, intermediate, and advanced students through three plans under the name of Lite, Pro, and Accelerator, which include an increasing amount of features and have different costs.
Nigel and his team of notables have helped thousands of fellow saxophone players in the past decades; perhaps they can do the same for you.
Jeremy Trezona founded Sax Tuition in 2018. Currently, the headquarters are in Perth, Australia.
Jeremy Trezona is a sought-after musician who has blown his instruments on stages such as The Hyde Park, Coachella, the Milan Fashion Week, and the Greek Theater, among many others. Additionally, he has played in X-Factor, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Conan O'Brien, and The Today Show to name just a few.
On the academic side, Jeremy also holds a Master's Degree in Music for Jazz Saxophone from the University of Southern California and is a published academic author for cross-gender saxophone performances.
With this curriculum and a successful YouTube Channel currently helping fellow players and aspiring players around the world, he created a single website where he could pour all the knowledge long study hours and that many stages have given him.
The knowledge and experience were poured into chapters that range from beginner to expert and are not interactive but material you can instantly download and use at your own pace. So, if you are a self-disciplined learner and want to manage your schedule, Sax Tuition can be a great way to learn how to play the saxophone.
MusicProfessor was founded in 2015. Currently, headquarters are in Los Angeles, California.
Music Professor is a resource that offers learning paths for students, teachers, and parents. This platform offers a comprehensive list of well-crafted lessons divided into topic groups that can help students get started, learn specific skills, or be proficient with their instrument by going through only the lessons wanted.
Moreover, the team of notables handpicked by the Music Professor to teach how to play saxophone includes David Wilson (New Zealand), Noelle Fabian (USA), and Blaise Ferradino (USA). They have distinct profiles which give the offered content a welcome variety that pushes students into different directions making the classes dynamic and easy to follow.
Finally, the library for saxophone resources offers 5 courses, 318 lessons, and 15 hours worth of video to help you propel your playing career forward. Plus, you can try it with a 14-day free trial.
Dan Christian founded SaxCasts. Currently, the headquarters are in Barlborough, England.
Dan Christian is not only a successful music teacher with over 15 years of experience; he is also one of the most important saxophone YouTube teachers active on the internet today, with over 4.5 million views and more than 10,000 subscribers.
Although he is an accomplished player who has toured the world and Europe, he is first and foremost a passionate teacher and pedagogue, always trying to find a better way to teach new students.
You can have a free taste of what the courses on this page look like through the 7-day free trial and can also join in for the unlimited yearly subscription.
- Beginning Saxophone: The Jazz Approach
- Derek Brown Sax
- Randy Hunter Jazz
- Dan Christian
- Hello Saxophone
- Sax Academy