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As a seasoned musician (!) I have decided to attempt to learn Tenor Sax. I have purchased one and a beginner book! I want to be able to play a gig by Feb. 2013 (not a 4 hour full-out gig, just play some on a song or two with embarassing myself).
Get yourself signed up for some lessons with the best teacher you can find. You want to develop proper habits instead of correcting bad ones later.
You'll want a good supply of reeds.
Listen to as many tenor sax players as you can find. It'll be tough going at first, but you need to have some kind of sound concept in your head when playing. I've noticed that players who don't listen tend to have flat, sterile sounds.
My son has been playing tenor sax for about 10 years and is pretty good . I also have a daughter who is beginning alto sax. After watching them it seems that starting out with a good sax is very important. Student grade horns can actually be harder to play than an advanced level horn due to intonation problems and resistance .Also generally cheap production methods make them hard to keep adjusted. I hope you got a god one. We got lucky and found our son a 1948 Conn 10m that plays perfectly and is a very sturdy ,solid sax. Sure it has some wear to the laquer but that gives it charecter. A good teacher and a good sax.
practice arpeggios. If you want to be able to improvise on sax quickly then practice scales and arpeggios. Most important is to practice long tones and I would suggest doing it with a tuner. Just start on the bottom of the horn and play the notes as evenly as possible for 4-8 beats and move up the horn.
to reach a better level o playing the saxophone, you have to practise every day, and every moment that you are able to.. And don't worry, you'll have to buy a lot of reeds, that's totally normal, at least for me!!
Find an ensemble to play with is about my only additional tip. I play it, but as a marching band instrument. Not anywhere close to the best. I play with large dynamics and decent tone and that's about it.
https://www.facebook.com/thelongblackveilsRock-stew from Central California. Debut album now available'62 Hammond A-100, '65 Conn Caprice 432, sampled Mellotron, '73 Rhodes MkI 88, Flutes, saxophones, melodica, mandolin, and whatever else I can lay my hands on.