Describing they keys on saxophone can be tricky and confusing…

It seems like an obvious thing when you are an experienced player, but starting out on saxophone there are so many keys to learn, and it is a huge hurdle for most.

Did you struggle with this when you were first learning?

A better system for naming.

For our Sax School Weekender Live event this year I asked Carl Raven to come along as one of our tutors.

Carl is a legend in the UK classical saxophone world and a great educator.

In fact, Carl teaches at the prestigious Royal Northern College of Music so he gets to help all the best young up and coming players here in England.

Plus as a player himself Carl is a regular performer with the top orchestras in England, and a member of the award winning Apollo Saxophone Quartet.

He knows his stuff – his other lesson on the blog about Mouthpiece Exercises is brilliant too!

Anyway, one of Carl’s favourite subjects and one he mentioned at our Sax School Weekender was the French System for naming the saxophone keys.

This is something Carl teaches to all the best young players because it makes learning, communicating and remembering finger patterns much easier.

How does the French Saxophone Key Naming System Work?

This system for naming the keys is easier because each key on the saxophone is given a simple identifier name.

For example, the trill keys played with your right hand are simply named according the note they are used to alter. Rather than describing your “side C key”, it is simply named TC (or trill – C).

Much easier.

A lesson to help you learn this system

I asked Carl to come into the Sax School studio and record a lesson for our members about this system.

In this lesson Carl runs through all the key names, why these names are used and how to use this system to describe a finger pattern to someone else.

Plus there is a downloadable “cheat sheet” you can have in your practice room to remind you!

Ready to learn this system?

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Nigel McGill

After 25 years touring, performing all over the world, I setup Sax School to share what I have learned. Today thousands of players in more than 70 countries use the huge library of online saxophone lessons in Sax School. Find out how it can help you too! www.mcgillmusic.com
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