The alto saxophone is a single reed woodwind instrument invented in the 1800s by Belgian instrument designer Adolphe Sax. Other common saxophones include the soprano, tenor, and baritone. The saxophone is a versatile instrument, used widely in jazz, Latin, soul, Broadway, and wind band music.
Most beginning saxophonists start out on the alto sax, because it's more manageable in size than the tenor and bari, and easier to keep in tune than the soprano. Since the fingerings on all saxophones are the same, students can easily branch out to playing other members of the saxophone family during the course of their musical careers.
One of the most difficult challenges for young saxophonists is achieving a good sound on their instruments. It's very easy to sound loud, raucous, and out-of-tune on saxophone, so young sax players must work carefully to develop a strong embouchure and a pretty tone.