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. Any of the saxophonists may double on other woodwind instruments

Here are a few ideas for learning the names of the saxophone family. Students can be divided 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 – soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone 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

Repeat the exercise with other attributes – birthday, shoe size, length of hair, etc.

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. This can take a large part of your music lesson plan for a saxophone lesson.

Students may respond to completing some of these tasks without speaking for a quieter classroom and an extra challenge.

Suggested Listening: Duke Ellington, Three Suites album. Sony / BMG Custom Marketing Group 723866. This Contains a big-band jazz arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s beloved Nutcracker Suite.