A music lesson all about the saxophone

Studying instruments in your music class? The saxophone is a great one to include.

Saxophones are a very popular instrument, having uses in many genres of music, from Classical to Jazz and Rock. Saxophones are often featured in “big band” music.”Big Band” music often features the saxophone. The typical “big band” sax section consists of two altos, two tenors, and a baritone. Players typically double on other woodwind instruments in the saxophone section.

Learning the names of the saxophone family is easy with these ideas. Divide students into groups of four. Distribute any remainders into other groups to make a few groups of five. Ask students to arrange themselves by height within each group, and then make cards or labels for a saxophone corresponding to their size – baritone, tenor, alto and soprano saxophone (continuing on to bass saxophone for groups of five). Therefore the tallest student will be the baritone or bass saxophone, the next largest the tenor, etc

This activity could be repeated with other attributes like shoe size, length of hair and birthday if you wished.

If the students can read notes, distribute pieces of paper with single notes on them, and ask the students in each group to arrange the notes from lowest to highest and match them to the appropriate saxophones.

For an extra challenge and a quieter classroom, have the students complete some of these tasks without speaking. This is a great aspect to a music lesson plan.

Suggested Listening:Maurice Ravel, Boléro. This work features a tenor saxophone solo at about 5:15 (seventh repetition of the melody) and a soprano saxophone solo at about 6:05 (eighth repetition).