Saxophone Forum


by Dalebob
(1 post)
9 years ago

Soprano Sax for grandaughter

I recently purchased a Heimon soprano sax at a tag sale, for two hundred dollars. I got it for the sole purpose for my ten year old grandaughter to learn to play. She had expressed an interest in playing the saxophone, but was told to take up the clarinet by a teacher because everyone wanted to play the sax. I figured if she had her own sax the teacher would have to let her play it and that she would be the only one with a soprano. What can you tell me about this sax and will it be a good instrument for her. I sterlized the mouth piece and played the scale on it in all octave's, and thought that it had a good tone. I was suprised that I could still do it as I have not played for a very long time.

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  1. by Sax Mom
    (964 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Soprano Sax for grandaughter

    Sorry, Dalebob, but Soprano Saxophone is not really a band instrument. Score writers don't usually write parts for the Soprano, especially for young bands. It is used more for Jazz and as a solo instrument. However, your grandaughter can still play the soprano alongside whatever instrument she plays in band. Alto Sax would be the closest match, as the embouchure (how your mouth fits on the mouthpiece) is very different between clarinet and saxophone. If the director insists that she not play saxophone, my suggestion would be flute rather than clarinet, so as not to confuse the embouchure. However, it is possible for your grandaughter to insist on saxophone. If she does, she should know ahead of time that she will need to practice extra hard and be the best in order to prove to the director that saxophone was the right choice for her. Good luck!

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  2. by johnsonfromwisconsin
    (767 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Soprano Sax for grandaughter

    Hello Dalebob, I agree with saxmom, there are a few reasons why this would not work: 1) The soprano saxophone isn't an instrument that finds instrumentation in a school band. Honestly, if I were the band director I would have to refuse allowing such an instrument in due to voicing concerns with other instruments in the same key and range (ie trumpet, clarinet) being that one might potentially read along with other such Bb instruments. A soprano saxophone just doesnt sound appropriate to sub in for other voices. 2) A soprano of obscure make that cost merely $200 is likely to be mechanically insufficiant to the point of being self-defeating for a budding musician. I see this type of horn on ebay constantly having been warned by technicians of their poor construction in general. I feel for your daughter not being able to take the instrument she wants, but I agree with the Band teacher's decision to balance the instrumentation on hand. I mean, what is she going to do with perhaps 8 clarinets and thirty saxophones. It's a common occurance that there would be over-interest in playing the saxophone. Starting clarinet isn't such a bad thing. It gives you a lot of tools that would eventually transfer to saxophone.

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    1. by Sax Mom
      (964 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: Soprano Sax for grandaughter

      I agree with the instrumentation decisions a band director needs to make, but I guess I read into the first post that there might be more behind this than just "wanting to play the saxophone." It's what her grandfather played, and maybe he can help her out with that particular instrument in practicing, etc. Also, you do need SOME saxophones, and I don't know how the band director is choosing who really gets to play the saxophone. My daughter was originally discouraged from playing saxophone (for much the same reason), but since she did already have the instrument (mine, a Conn 6m), she was allowed to play it. Last year as a freshman she received the "best at site" award for her solo at contest. Therefore, my previous post was colored a bit by my own (and my daughter's) experience. There was a time when I was the ONLY saxophone in band (very small school), so I switched from Tenor to Alto because the Tenor part was commonly dubbed by the Baritone Horn. THAT was an experience!

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      1. by connsaxman_jim
        (2336 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Soprano Sax for grandaughter

        NEVER let a band director tell your kid what to play. It's your kid who has to take the time to learn the instrument, not the director! Let THEM pick the instrument that is the most comfortable for them....within reason. If you have a sax, sure, try to persuade your child to play it, but if the kid wants to play trumpet....buy a trumpet! Don't force them into playing something they don't want to play! They'll never stick with it. This is one of my pet peaves! Soprano saxophones have never really been a school band instrument, this is true. BUT, many modern high school bands are accepting a couple soprano saxes. Often they read clarinet charts, which are in the same key, Bb. The nice thing about having the soprano is that she can practice with it at home, and work on the fingerings, which are the same for all saxophones, and she can also work on her embrochure. Learning on soprano will make her a better alto or tenor player, because the soprano requires a lot more embrochure control. I would definately keep the soprano. It sounds like you got a pretty good deal on it, even though I am not familiar with that brand. It's hard to buy a quality sax new for less than $800, but it may be of adequate quality for a beginner. I would invest in an alto saxophone, if she really wants to play sax; probably either a Yamaha student-intermediate model, a Keilwerth ST model, or something like an older Conn Director's model, or Buescher Aristocrat in good condition.

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