A Guide to Saxophone Lessons

Music is a wonderful skill to have and it not only enhances your quality of life (and that of those lucky enough to hear you play!) but it has been proven to enhance learning abilities, social skills, and be a great form of stress relief! I have written a brief guide to saxophone lessons to give you an idea of what to expect and how you can maximize your progress.

Attending weekly saxophone lessons is only one part of learning to play an instrument. It takes commitment outside of the music lesson, hard work and lots of support and encouragement from family and friends to achieve success.

I encourage you to take notes on what you have learnt each week in your lesson and note your practice goals for the week. You can stay in regular contact with me via email or SMS.

99.7% of the week is spent outside of the saxophone lesson. This means that the great leaps forward don’t usually happen during lessons – they happen between lessons, because that’s where the students are most of the time. Help make learning an instrument exciting with informal home concerts, listening for improvements in pieces and technique, and celebrating successes!

Learning music can seem like a very solitary endeavor with all those hours of practicing alone in a room. Playing music with friends adds a social aspect to music as well as creating opportunities for a whole new range of musical styles and instrument combinations. Practice pieces with friends and look for local community bands and music camps to make music with great people.

A regular practice routine is one of the most beneficial things for your continual development. Instead of seeing it as a chore, encourage a routine with an achievable amount of practice each day. It is much more effective to spread out practice sessions over multiple days than to attempt a marathon cram session the day before a lesson!

Every instrument has periods in the learning process that will be difficult. Perseverance is critical in overcoming these challenging periods as well as communicating difficulties and supporting one another. I am here to help and a timely phone call can help pull everyone together to solve a problem.

There are some additional costs outside of the weekly lesson fee. Students will require a working instrument, at least 3 reeds (in good condition) and music books. I expect students to purchase their own copies of music that we will focus on throughout the year and I can provide advice on the best places to source print music from. I will provide supplementary materials from my own library.

Saxophones need to be kept in good condition and, like a car, require a service usually once a year. This is best done over the holidays and can make a huge difference in how your child is able to play. As they progress I will recommend upgrades to the reeds, ligature, mouthpiece or instrument if required. I am happy to give advice on any purchases. Musical instruments are not toys – they are very fragile, precision instruments. Care for your instrument by cleaning after each practice and packing it away safely in its case.


10 top tips on how friends and family can help!

  1. Offer encouragement regularly.
  2. Provide a regularly scheduled time for practice.
  3. Provide a quiet, well-lit area for practice.
  4. Provide a music stand.
  5. Listen to your practice and acknowledge improvement.
  6. Attend concerts, recitals and a wide variety of recorded music. It is especially valuable to listen to recordings of music for your instrument.
  7. Be encouraged to play for family and friends
  8. Be on time and prepared for lessons and rehearsals
  9. Be patient! Learning an instrument is hard work and cannot be accomplished overnight (but the rewards are well worth the effort).
  10. Bring your support team to studio concerts to cheer you on and celebrate your success.

Public music examinations offer a chance for students to gain an external perspective on their progress and reward them for what they have achieved. They can also be a motivation to broaden playing technique and an understanding of music. At my studio I offer preparations for AMEB and ABRSM jazz exams as well as preparing students for classroom music requirements including VCE, VET and IB.

Consistency is the key with a lesson schedule. I teach on Sunday afternoons and together we will negotiate a regular weekly time. I would encourage you to keep this time sacred and avoid having appointments and events that will conflict with your lessons. If you foresee an immovable event, let me know in advance so that we can plan around it. I am 100% committed to providing a high level, well-rounded curriculum and sequential instruction is an absolute necessity to maintain progress.

I require 24 hours notice for the cancellation of a lesson, otherwise the fee will still be required. I will do my best to reschedule any missed lessons and are usually available for lessons over the holiday period – particularly when music exams are near.

As your saxophone teacher, I want you to succeed. Let’s work together to have a positive musical experience and please let me know if you have concerns so that we can address them.

Shannon Ebeling
MMus, BTeach(hon), BMus(hon), LMusA(dis)