Last Updated on June 3, 2020.
There are more and more websites teaching online courses on almost any instrument you can think of, and online saxophone lessons are certainly a part of this trend.
While I still believe that actual one-on-one lessons with a real teacher are far better than enrolling on an online course, the advantages of online lessons can’t be denied:
They are more affordable, you save time by not having to travel, and you have access to a lot more lessons from the comfort of your own home; be it on a certain genre, music theory, the kind of sax you want to learn, etc.
This is why I’m writing this post, to help you find the best online saxophone lessons that suit your needs.
Let’s get started!
The Best Websites to learn to play the Saxophone are:
|Website||Price||Level||Mobile App||Free Trial|
|Taming the Saxophone||Free up to £16.95||All Levels||No||No|
|Skillshare||Free up to $96||Beginner||Yes||Yes|
|Randy Hunter Jazz||Free up to $69.95||All Levels||No||No|
|BetterSax||Free up to $259||All Levels||No||No|
|Derek Brown Sax||Free up to $150||All Levels||No||No|
|ArtistWorks||$105 up to $279||All Levels||No||No|
|Udemy||Free to $10.99||All Levels||Yes||No|
|McGill Music Sax School||Free up to $230||All Levels||No||No|
|8notes.com||Free up to $20||Beginner||No||No|
|How to play Saxophone||Free up to $25||All Levels||No|
|Cambridge Saxophone||Free up to £145||Beginner / Intermediate||No||No|
Taming the Saxophone (Free up to £16.95)
Taming the Saxophone will not just teach you how to play the saxophone, but also about jazz theory and improvisation, as well.
Not only that, but on the site you will also find a lot of varied information about saxophones, like what type of reeds to use, what saxophone you should get, and you will also learn about the different mouthpieces, etc.
And all of this information is completely free!
There’s a free guide on “how to play the saxophone” which is fairly short and to the point, and this one should at least help you get started.
Additional free of charge information about fingering, warming up, technique, scale exercises, diminished patterns and licks, and more, is also available.
However, if you truly want to access all this site has to offer, then you will have to buy a course/lesson, such as the “Beginner Starter Pack”, which range from beginner to advanced and from £11.00 – £16.95.
Skillshare (Free, $14/mo., $96/year.)
I’ve always been a fan of Skillshare since they let you sign up for a 2-month free trial that gives you access to all the courses they have to offer.
Skillshare is all about learning new skills, and playing the saxophone definitely falls into this category.
Now, if you’re an intermediate or advanced player, then I wouldn’t recommend the courses on this site simply because they are geared towards beginners and will teach you the fundamentals.
Beginners should find the courses very helpful since they take all the guesswork out of how and what to practice to improve quickly.
If you want to learn the Alto Saxophone, then you can choose between three courses:
- Alto Saxophone Lessons for Beginners
- Beginners Saxophone Lessons – Alto Saxophone
- Saxophone Essentials: Mouthpiece
And if you want to learn the Tenor Sax, then the Tenor Saxophone Lessons For Beginners course might suit your needs.
With Skillshare you don’t need to pay for each individual course, but rather a monthly or yearly subscription, which cost $14/mo., and $96/year respectively.
Like I mentioned, you can sign up for the 60-day free trial; They will ask you for payment information, such as credit card or PayPal, but you can cancel the subscription before the 60 days are up and won’t have to pay a thing.
Randy Hunter Jazz (Free up to $69.95)
Randy Hunter is a private instructor, jazz clinician and performer, who has decades of experience in teaching jazz improvisation and the fundamentals of saxophone playing, and currently holds the jazz instructor position at Emory University.
On his site you will find a lot of free information, such as improvisational lessons, etudes, duets, transcriptions, scale sheets, and more.
You can also get the Introductory Etudes in Jazz Comprehension book 1 and 2 on his site, which consist of a series of twelve etudes and 10 duets respectively, designed to provide challenging and enjoyable material for advancing students.
Additionally, he also offers online courses at his other website, “beginningsax.com”, that are designed to appeal to all levels; from beginner to advanced, as well as jazz improvisation courses.
The prices of these courses will vary quite a lot since you can purchase the full courses or separate lessons, but they range from $7.95 to $69.95.
If you’re seriously interested in learning to play Jazz, then learning from Randy Hunter might be one of your best bets.
Lastly, you can also check out his YouTube Channel here.
BetterSax (Free up to $259)
BetterSax offers extremely high-quality content for all saxophone players, no matter the level.
What is so interesting about BetterSax is that Jax Metcalf, who is the owner of the website, and is the teacher as well, also runs one of the most successful saxophone related YouTube channels out there.
On his channel you will find varied information about saxophones, such as; what reed to choose, how to play over backing tracks, how to record a saxophone properly, what the best/most affordable options for beginners are, and even how to repair your sax.
Of course, he also offers free lessons on how to actually play the saxophone, both on his YouTube channel and Website.
What can you get for free on his website? A beginner course, backing tracks, lessons, pdf files, and a “Play by Ear” crash course.
Note: You will need to subscribe to his email newsletter in order to get these freebies.
As far as the paid courses go, there are a bunch to choose from; from whole bundles designed for beginners, to specific courses about blues, pentatonic patterns and more.
The pricing on these courses ranges anywhere from $29, for the Pentatonic Patterns course, up to $259, for the BetterSax Mastery Bundle.
And lastly, no matter what course you buy, there’s a 30-day money back guarantee if you didn’t find it useful.
Derek Brown (Beatbox Sax)
Playing the sax is already cool, but beatboxing while playing the sax is just on another level.
Derek Brown is absolutely fantastic at doing this; just watch some of his YouTube videos and you’ll see what I mean.
On his YouTube channel you’ll find a couple quick lessons, but not too many, at least not when compared to other YouTube channels such as BetterSax.
As far as the courses go, he actually teaches some via a conference call, and the dates and time vary.
At the time of writing this post, there are three courses in total that cost $40 each; The BeatBox Sax 101, Percussive Tonguing, and 3 Ways to Double Tongue.
So, make sure to check the dates and reserve your seat in time!
Additionally, he offers one-hour long skype lessons for $150.
The reason I included Derek Brown’s site on this list, despite it not having that many courses or lessons, is because he teaches such a unique way of playing the saxophone that I just couldn’t let it pass, and I haven’t found any other site that teaches that style.
Website: Derek Brown Sax.
ArtistWorks ($105 up to $279)
ArtistWorks is a website that has a pretty wide variety of courses regarding musical instruments (link to a post I wrote about websites that teach musical instruments), like guitar, piano, mandolin, and even saxophone, and I mention them in both my posts about online piano lessons, and online guitar lessons.
Now, sadly they only offer one saxophone course; the Jazz Saxophone, taught by Eric Marienthal.
However, it’s a course that caters to all levels and styles, which means that no matter if you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned player, you will be able to learn new things.
This course offers over 100 lessons, mostly about jazz, and all the video lessons can be slowed down or even set to loop, making the learning experience far more enjoyable.
Additionally, everyone who enrolls in this course will have access to backing tracks, sax jazz charts, and studying material.
Now, as far as the price goes, you can pay for the three months access, which costs $105, the six months access, which costs $179, or the one-year access for $279.
Sadly, one would assume that this subscription would give you access to all the courses available on the site, like the piano courses, for example, but no… You purchase course-specific subscriptions.
However, there’s one feature that sets ArtistWorks apart from most other online music teaching sites, which is being able to submit videos to the teacher to get personalized feedback.
This means that even if it’s an online course, you’ll still get that one-on-one interaction with the teacher.
Here’s an hour-long video lesson of Eric Marienthal on YouTube, if you want to see this course’s teacher in action.
Udemy (Free to $10.99)
I mention Udemy in some of my other posts, such as “the best online music production courses available”, and it’s definitely a great site to learn any skill you want.
One thing I like about Udemy is that, compared to most other sites on this list, each course is rated by the users and you can see the rating they gave it, as well as how many people did so.
This is obviously a great way of finding out whether or not the course is being well received by the students, and therefore, if it’s any good at all.
Most of the courses on Udemy are not free and will set you back around $10 each; however, there is one free course about the sax fundamentals, which every beginner should check out.
Now, most of the paid courses/lessons are aimed at beginners, or maybe intermediate players.
If you’re more advanced and want to learn from an online course, then it may be a wiser choice to look on some of the other sites I listed.
Here are some of the best courses available on Udemy:
- Learn to Play Saxophone: Beginner to Pro in Under Four Hours
- Beginner Alto Saxophone Lessons
- Tenor Saxophone Lessons For Beginners
If you’re just tipping your toes into this whole sax world and don’t want to pay for a monthly or yearly subscription, then Udemy may be a fantastic way to go about it, since you can just enroll in one of the courses, complete it and be done with it.
McGill Music Sax School (Free, $29/mo., or $$230 per year)
Sax School offers over 600 lessons in over 60 courses for all levels, no matter if you’re a beginner or advanced player, and you can access them on any device.
Not only that, but it even features monthly live group online masterclasses where you can get all your questions answered, as well as play for your instructor, Nigel McGill, and get direct and personalized feedback on where you need to improve.
Additionally, this site is always adding new weekly courses; basically, they give you a reason to stick around.
The way these lessons are taught is by following a structured learning pathway, which gives beginners and even seasoned players, a way to follow challenging step-by-step guides that should help you improve quickly.
Now, as far as pricing goes, you have two options; Paying monthly or yearly.
Like 99% of websites that offers these two different payment methods, they will give you a significant discount when paying yearly.
But they also throw in these three bonus courses that you won’t have access to if you pay monthly; The blues Mastery, Horn Section Workout and Blues BT Collection, and each of these courses is about 10 hours long with roughly 40-50 lessons extra.
Now, of course there are a couple freebies as well, however in most cases, you’ll have to sign up to their email newsletter to have access to them.
These free resources are; The Saxophone Tool Kit, 20 Warmup exercises, and the Sax School Course, which you can get for free for 14 days.
Lastly, they also offer a member community where you can interact with other members of the course to ask questions, learn new things, etc.
Website: McGill Music Sax School.
8notes.com (Free to $20 per year)
8notes offers a couple free lessons for the alto saxophone which are specifically geared towards absolute beginners; intermediate and advanced players won’t really have anything to learn on this site.
Here’s what this beginner’s course is all about; How to set up the mouthpiece, correct mouth position, breath control, basic music notation, and how to play single notes and three note tunes, as well as how the dynamics work.
There is also an Alto Saxophone fingering chart where you will learn how to play specific notes, and you can also hit “Play” on the note to actually hear what it is supposed sounds like.
Additionally, there is a whole course dedicated to music theory, ear training, note training, and more, that you can use to improve your overall music knowledge.
Lastly, free sheet music and play-along jam tracks are also included, as well as a couple of Licks & Riffs lessons.
However, subscribing to the premium membership, which is only $20 per year, will give you access to close to 80 extra songs that you can learn.
Like I said, this one is strictly for beginners, and if you are one and are on a tight budget, then absolutely give it a shot.
How to play Saxophone (Free up to $25/mo.)
How to play the Saxophone is a website that I think can really help beginners.
It’s also aimed at intermediate and advanced players; however, you can get free access to a couple lessons that are definitely best suited for beginners, which is why I mainly recommend it to newer players.
To access the free lessons, you will need to register, and after this you will receive an email with the links to the lessons.
These free lessons are going to cover all the basics, like how to assemble the saxophone and use it safely, how to breathe properly, getting your first sounds out of it, proper tonguing, and more.
Then you will learn the C Major scale, as well as some exercises for it, and then the D scale.
These lessons are all part of the “How to pay the Saxophone” course, that sells for only $9.99.
In the email you will also get an “Advanced Beginner course”, which is aimed at people who have been playing for a little while, and also the “Intermediate Course”, that goes over basic improvisation, and all of this for free.
In addition to the “How to Play the Saxophone” Course, there are four more paid lessons on his site about Blues, playing the Alto Sax, How to Improvise using the Major Scale, and daily practice routines for beginners.
However, if you want access to all the courses, then you can opt for a monthly subscription of $25/mo., which will also give you access to backing tracks that you can use to play over and practice.
Lastly, there is a lot of additional and valuable information on the YouTube channel where the teacher, Johnny Ferreira, will teach you songs, do product reviews, tell you which sax you should get, and more.
Website: How to play Saxophone.com
Cambridge Saxophone (Free up to £145)
Dan Forshaw is the guy behind Cambridge Saxophone; he’s an award-winning saxophonist currently teaching saxophone at Cambridge University, The Guildhall School of Music and to private students across the world.
Here’s a link to SoundCloud where you’ll be able to have a listen to his Jazz Trio.
On his website you’ll find Online courses, as well as an option to request Skype lessons, and even WhatsApp lessons!
As far as free lessons go, you can sign up to his email newsletter and get four of them completely for free, and you can get an additional 10 or so free courses as well at the courses section of the website.
Now, as far as the paid courses go, there are a lot; but if you’re a beginner, then I’d recommend checking out the “Beginners Course” that sells for £10.00 and covers all the basics; such as putting the sax together and learning to play your first notes.
Each course/lesson can be bought independently for £4 to £60, and there’s about 50 courses at the time of writing this article.
However, if you want access to all the courses and lessons for life, then you might want to invest in the Platinum Membership, which will set you back £145 and give you access to absolutely everything he offers on his site, for life.
Dan Forshaw also has a YouTube channel, where he will teach you a couple exercises, give you some tips, and more.
Website: Cambridge Saxophone.
I personally love Derek Brown’s beatbox sax style; I think it is extremely groovy and sound fantastic!
However, if you want to learn more traditional ways of playing the sax, then any of the websites on this list should do the trick.
I hope this information was useful.
Have a wonderful day!