How to Find an
Exceptional Saxophone Teacher

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Saxophone Instructor

By Rose Park    2/15/23 • 4 min read

When you look for a saxophone teacher either online or in-person, sometimes it’s just quite hard to tell whether the instructor is professional, friendly and suited for you. 

Which saxophone instructor should you ultimately choose? How can you tell if instructor A is better at teaching saxophone than instructor B?

You should actively shop around and choose an exceptional saxophone teacher for you because they may have a huge impact on your learning journey. Students learn a lot from watching and imitating the way teachers play saxophone, think about music, level of technique, expression and musical nature.

Table of Contents

Get an Expert Saxophone Teacher From the Start

The sooner you meet an expert saxophone instructor, the faster you will excel in saxophone with a solid technique. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pay extra to hire someone with impressive teaching and educational backgrounds. Whether a saxophone teacher teaches online, in-person or hybrid, you should make sure that your potential teacher will:

  • tailor your learning curriculum
  • inspire a love of music
  • motivate you to challenge and grow 
  • give accurate and detailed live feedback

Many saxophone learners make mistakes by trying to start with an ordinary teacher who charges less, and then switching to a more experienced instructor. One thing to note in this shifting process is that you will likely experience confusion in learning, which can take up to years to get rid of any bad habits including posture, breathing, technique and tone.

Every saxophone teacher is unique and puts a different amount of emphasis in terms of lesson curriculum. Some instructors focus more on the technical side of saxophone playing and work on one song at a time, whereas as some might encourage you to play a multiple songs at once and explore musicality.

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Check the Teacher's Educational Background

Degrees in Saxophone Performance

Where possible, make sure to check the potential teacher’s degree they received during college. The best saxophone instructors will hold at least a Bachelor’s degree in saxophone from top music schools. They are also able to demonstrate a high level of performance through live performance recordings and frequency of touring and performance opportunities. Here are some suggestions for questions to ask related to degrees:
  • Are you majored in saxophone performance or non-saxophone fields?
  • Do you have at least a Bachelor’s degree in saxophone?
  • Did you take any courses in composition, music education, music theory or music history?

For Parents: If you’re looking for a saxophone teacher for your child, you can also look for someone who majored in music education with a focus in saxophone. These instructors can teach basic skills like reading music, theory and general foundation of saxophone playing. They also have some performance experience from performing in the band or orchestra. When your child is ready to advance, possibly within a year or so, you should start thinking about switching to a saxophone instructor with advanced degrees in saxophone.

How to find a saxophone teacher - Lesson With You Saxophone Lessons Guide

Recording and Touring Experience

When finding an ideal saxophone teacher, it’s best to see if the teacher has listed any performance related accomplishments. This includes live performing, touring with US and international musicians, participating in the studio recording sessions and productions.

The first thing you should do is to go to the saxophone teacher’s professional website and read their bio. If there are any live performance recordings uploaded, take time to watch the recordings.

Your potential saxophone teacher should at least put several descriptions of performing in the woodwind ensembles, competitions, touring and participating in recording sessions for popular musicians and bands. 

Teaching Experience in Saxophone

Besides checking the teacher’s college degree, it’s also important to look for a saxophone instructor with at least 3 years of teaching experience. The best saxophone teachers will almost certainly teach a variety of styles such as the Classical, Pop, Jazz and R&B.

Make sure to check which saxophone type your teacher can teach. There are 4 most common types of saxophone: soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone. It’s also important to know which type of saxophone the instructor is specialized in teaching and performing.

Background Check

Not every saxophone teacher lists this online, but you should check if the teacher has done and passed a comprehensive background check, especially if the lesson is for your child. Some live online lesson websites, such as Lesson With You, offer free trial lessons with expert saxophone instructors who are fully background checked.

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Questions to Ask When Choosing a Saxophone Teacher

Once you’re done with narrowing down a number of potential saxophone teachers, the next step is to talk with the instructors. Here are some recommendations for questions to ask:

  • How many students do you teach? What ages and levels?
  • How do you build a lesson plan? Is the curriculum customized?
  • Do you expect students to participate in recital, jury or competition? 
  • What are your practice expectations for beginners and advanced students?
  • Do you use saxophone method books? If not, what music will the student work on?
  • How to do motivate students to practice saxophone and improve?
  • Do you give daily or weekly assignments?

Take a Trial Lesson First

When contacting saxophone teachers, make sure to ask if they offer trial lessons. Taking a trial lesson will give you fresh insights on a couple of things: 

  • Does the teacher speak clearly and ask appropriate questions to the student? How does the teacher respond to the answers the student provided and vice versa?
  • How does the teacher initiate and lead the lesson? Is the lesson engaging and fun? How frequent does the teacher play saxophone and show the technique to the student?
  • What’s the teacher like? Happy, quiet or rather moody? Is the teacher likeable?
  • How often does the teacher give feedback? Does the teacher pay enough attention to detail and correct the student? It’s also important to see how the student responds to the compliment and criticism.
  • How does the instructor end the lesson? When the instructor gives assignments or homework, does the student leave the lesson clear on what to work on next?
How to find a saxophone teacher - Lesson With You Saxophone Lesson Guide

Choosing the Right Saxophone Teacher After a Trial

Take plenty of time to choose the right saxophone instructor for you. Besides evaluating the trial lesson and teacher quality, consider these following aspects before making a decision.

Lesson Costs

According to our recent saxophone lesson cost guide, the average cost is $30 for a half hour saxophone lesson. Live online lessons using video chats typically charge between $20-40 for a half hour lesson. Local private saxophone lessons averages $40 per half hour lesson, while in-person group lessons can cost $18 per half hour lesson.

Saxophone instructors without music degrees will charge as little as $25 an hour, and professional saxophone teachers with advanced degrees charges between $40-$70 per hour lesson.

Flexible Scheduling

Your ideal saxophone instructor should offer a flexible scheduling and rescheduling option. Of course, it’s not a good sign when a teacher (or a student) cancels or reschedules lessons too often, but knowing the teacher offers a rescheduling option without a fee can be a plus.


When finding a saxophone teacher online or in-person, you should always check and read the lesson reviews. If you’re particularly looking for a live online lesson, you will notice the reviews left in the teacher profile. If 8 or 9 out of 10 reviews are positive, that means the teacher is great and able to teach a high-quality saxophone lesson. 

If you want to get local in-person lesson recommendations, you can ask friends, neighbors or even find a saxophone teacher online and ask if they offer lessons in person. 


Not many saxophone lesson providers require long term commitment or contracts these days, but you’d still want to make sure if there’s a contract required before setting up the first lesson. It’s also recommended for students to check the type of payment the teacher prefers and when to send the payment.

Need help with Finding a Potential Saxophone Teacher?

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Rose Park

Rose Park

Rose Park is a graduate of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University where she studied Piano Performance and Arts Administration, receiving both Bachelor's and Master's degrees before co-founding Lesson With You. As a pianist, Rose was a prizewinner in many international piano competitions and performed at  various summer programs and festivals across the United States, Italy, and Japan.