The children are often using in my class of saxophone Yamaha 4C, Yamaha 5C is too open for a beginner. One reason is because when they buy instrument Yamaha 280 (student model) or 480 (semiprofessional model) and the mouthpiece is coming with the instrument.
Why I recommend to buy Yamaha instrument, because I do have long experince about: Beginners first instrument is ALTO SAXOPHONE (not plastic!)
1) saxophone resistance in time – quality of material, every year washing, regulation and new oil – you keep it like a new instrument!
2) what is saying Master of reparation, I mean, how often he needs to do the reparation work on Yamaha? Answer is SELDOMLY! It means good value for money!
3)tuning is correct,
4)the mouthpiece that comes – 4C- is good for several years and if you break it, you can buy the new one for 25 Euros,
5)the position for the little hands is good, although the 5-7 years they can play untill F(Fa) or E(Mi) and I let the play on the CHAIR, not on the neck or shoulders!
6)Easy to blow, actually all student instruments are easy to blow. Professional models have a thicker metal body, so you could develop more personalized sound. Personal sound is not easy with student models instrument, although saxophone as instrument herself has a capacity to cooperate with everybody’s individual physics and CAN OFFER the possibility of YOUR SOUND. All is possible.
7) Please buy a saxophone STRAP, NEVER EVER NECKSTRAP (bad for vertebral column – do not brake it with saxophone), BG or Lemark or Jazzlab (jazzlab is not suitable for bony children!!!).
INSTRUMENT FOR 5-7 YEARS OLD
As being Teacher of many many years, I have noticed and thought about LITTLE INSTRUMENT for the 5-7 years old children. Yanagisawa Curved Soprano Saxophone has been one possible version for so little ones. Saxophone teacher needs to transpose many repertory, but it could be also a good experience. i do not recommend Plastic Saxophone and neither Nuvo JSax – and the reason is simple, the touch of saxophone buttons is NOT THE SAME as the REAL SAXOPHONE INSTRUMENT HAS. There is a big even HUGE difference, so I know a lot of inventors try to solve the problem for the little ones, but the change is too much.
So I do like more next solution in my saxophone class:
1) Yanagisawa Curved Saxophonne S-991 or S-992
2) Yanagisawa or Yamaha Alto Saxophone and we are playing on the chair of the piano. I repeat, children do not carry on the shoulders. you place it on the chair you can move up and down, because children do grow fast!!!
Wooden or Plastic REEDS?
I often play with Vandoren Blue Reeds, beginner from number 1-2. Also Gonzales Reeds and D’Addario.
Plastic Reeds: Légère. I have tried others (fibre, half fibre etc) and they became so quickly soft and impossible to play longtime like I do with Légère Reeds (the sound is the same like canned or wooden reeds!!!!), especially when the price is between 25 – 30 Euros! Wooden reed is between 2,5-3 Euros!!!!
When I especially need a plastic reed, is when I need to change saxophones and I will not have time to wet the reed again! Or I play outside or in other difficult situations – then I always play with plastic reed.
Wooden Reeds need to be wet before you can start to play!
Advanced students from number 2,5. Of course playing on the hard reeds does not make you an advanced saxophone player!
Jazz Students on Rico Reserved and Vandoren Jazz reeds.
DO I NEED A REEDCASE?
Probably you need a reedcase when You live in a dry climat, where you constatnly need to wet the reed! But you need to be aware of that the moisturising material in reedcase needs to be UPDATED, otherwise it is just a plastic reed case with no longer extra quality. Rico has a REED VITALISER, which makes reeds last longer because they have kept your reeds in good and stable consitions.