Instruments: Saxes, Clarinet, Flute, Piano
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What is a Sax?
A saxophone or sax is a conical-bored transposing musical instrument considered a member of the woodwind family. Saxophones are usually made of brass and are played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. The saxophone was invented by Adolphe Sax in 1841. He wanted to create an instrument that would both be the loudest of the woodwinds and the most versatile of the brass, and would fill the then vacant middle ground between the two sections. He patented the sax in 1846.
There are several versions of saxophones varying in sizes and alternating in transposition. The series pitched in Bb and Eb, designed for military bands, proved extremely popular and most saxophones today are from this series. The most popular versions of saxophones are the Eb Baritone, Bb Tenor and Eb Alto as well as the Bb Soprano which isn’t used much in ensembles, but is a very popular solo instrument.
While proving very popular in its intended niche of military band music, the saxophone is most commonly associated today with popular music, big band music, blues, early rock and roll, ska and particularly jazz. Big bands becoming popular in the 1930’s and 40’s general had sax sections of alto, tenor and baritone saxophones which formed the main harmonic texture of the big band and still do. The sax also became a huge solo instrument in all types of rock and roll and blues in the 50’s, 60’s and later. Famous jazz and pop saxophonists in the past and present are Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, David Sanborn, Clarence Clemons, Kenny G., and King Curtis.
Souce: “Saxophone.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
Sean Wright teaches saxophone students at the Fabulous School of Music starting at age 9. Teaching methods and materials will vary depending on the age and experience of each student. The overall goal for students is to develop an expressive yet analytic style of playing. Students are encouraged to constantly think and make musical decisions about their playing using all of their senses so that they may develop an independent and responsible approach to listening, analyzing, and also performing their music.
For saxophone, either classical and/or jazz styles can be taught depending on the student’s preference. There is an emphasis on the fundamental skills necessary to create music that is proficient in sound, technique and creativity. Every student learns to play the notes, but each student is unique with regard to their own personal sound and expression. Listening helps students to play in a way that is in line with their own personal style. For this reason Sean will use professional saxophone player CD’s as listening exercises for the student, that he will provide.
Some of Sean’s method books used will include the “Rubank’s Saxophone (beginner-advanced) Method”, “Take the Lead” edited by S.Cook, and “Jazz Conception for Saxophone” by L. Niehaus. More advanced students can learn to play from Real Books (the industry standard of jazz tunes) where they can learn the methods of improvisation, transposition, and jazz musicianship. Each lesson is meant to be a fun learning experience where the student grows as a player, learning to create expressive and unique music built upon the fundamentals.
Below is a list of teachers that teach the Sax at the Fabulous School of Music. Click on a profile to learn more.