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Teachers Taster lesson

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
2,970
Location
The Malverns, Worcs
#1
If you were going to teach a taster lesson to an adult who has never played any instrument (and doesn't read music) what would you teach?

Would you attempt to teach a well know tune using a few notes?

Obviously, the first challenge is to get any notes out of the sax (alto), but I am trying to decide what is the best outcome; what would inspire the pupil to come back for more etc.

I have been asked to give a trial lesson, but it's not something I've done before and I want this one session to inspire.

Thanks.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
10,578
Location
Burnley bb9 9dn
#3
For a complete novice. How to put the reed on the mouthpiece. How to put the mouthpiece on the crook. How to put the crook on the body. How to attach and adjust the sling. How to hold the instrument. Where to put your fingers. Which end to blow (kidding). How to form an embouchure. Lets try a note. Finger positions for G major scale. Lesson over. Home work for next lesson. Learn G major and 3 blind mice.
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
2,970
Location
The Malverns, Worcs
#4
For a complete novice. How to put the reed on the mouthpiece. How to put the mouthpiece on the crook. How to put the crook on the body. How to attach and adjust the sling. How to hold the instrument. Where to put your fingers. Which end to blow (kidding). How to form an embouchure. Lets try a note. Finger positions for G major scale. Lesson over. Home work for next lesson. Learn G major and 3 blind mice.
I agree with all of this. But there is no guaranteed next lesson. This is just a one off trial. It is a birthday present to the adult pupil from their spouse. I would just like to get far enough to hang together an opening few bars to a tune they know / recognise, with the hope that they feel inspired to get an instrument and keep learning.

(I know instant gratification is unlikely in a 30 minute session, it took me weeks to even get a decent note out of the thing, but...)
 

jbtsax

old and opinionated
Subscriber
Messages
5,714
Location
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
#5
30 Minute first lesson
  • Teacher select the proper strength reed and put it on the mouthpiece
  • Have the student work on the mouthpiece + neck till he/she can hold a tone at the proper pitch 8 counts
  • Assemble the saxophone and show how to finger B, A, and G in the first octave
  • Have the student play each of those notes starting the tone with a "tu" syllable.
Tell the student to go home and practice what was shown in the lesson and figure out how to play as many 3 note songs as they can.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Cafe Moderator
Messages
20,550
Location
Just north of Munich
#7
Given the circumstances. I'd think fingers, single note. Then if time a simple tune would be best. If there are more lessons, then do the more academic stuff and assembly etc.
 
Messages
185
#12
Speaking from the receiving side… As long as it's not Three Blind Mice or Row Your Boat (aargh!), a tune. And if it fits the person's musical taste, so much the better. But what would make the lesson very special is if you played with them. They only need to get one note and you can give them some sort of rhythm to play, then you can make music together, it's what it's all for.
 

brianr

Senior Member
Messages
850
#14
I think learning a tune is the way.

stay away from scales/too much theory, its far too early.

start with getting a sound on one note. talk embouchure, teeth position ie how much mouthpiece to take. bottom lip over teeth etc etc
talk about two ways to get from one note to the other . ie tongued or slurred . show both/difference

demonstrate a lot.

then on to a tune. I find God Save the Queen is good, starting on a low G, as you can get quite a recognisable lot of it done within the range of low f sharp to middle c. ie no higher octave stuff to worry about .

30 minutes isnt long. dont rush/confuse by trying to cram in too much

good luck
 

nigeld

festina andante
Subscriber
Messages
2,877
Location
Bristol
#16
What a nice birthday present!
I also feel that 30 minutes is rather short.

I presume the student doesn't own a saxophone, so I wouldn't spend any time on how to assemble or look after the instrument - have it ready for them beforehand, with the reed soaked in a glass of water.

The 2 goals I would set for the lesson are:
1. Getting a sound. I think it's easiest to start with just the mouthpiece and neck. Then a G. Try loud and soft.
2. A very simple tune.

A friend of mine just had his first lesson and managed a full G major scale. But he has played guitar, so he knew what a scale is. He is now completely hooked!
So be ready for questions about how to continue.
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Cafe Moderator
Messages
10,233
Location
Sunny Southampton
#17
I might initially teach the A minor scale, because then they can play either Summertime or the Snake Charming tune (one of my favourite for beginners).

It also provides notes for part of C major, C to G so they can the play Oh When the Saints go Marching In.

I'd be carful to balance a teaser lesson though, a bit of scale (obviously they need to learn some notes) a bit of tune, and a bit of all purpose how to put the reed on etc. An initial lesson should possibly be best as a longish lesson, at least one hour maybe one and a half.
 
Messages
313
Location
Home is Aberdeen
#18
I think everybody is being a bit too sensibly constructive - Mandy just wants the "pupil" to get the hook. I would suggest NO theory, just get the notes to play the first two (maybe four) bars of "Oh when the saints" ....... sure to be "honky" but very recognisable. And it's not a nursery rhyme!!! They'll be back for more, and more.
 

GJ77

Senior Member
Subscriber
Messages
560
Location
Dunmow, Essex.
#20
Teach g, a and b; put on a funky backing track and do some call & response phrases based upon those notes. No theory, just a little creative music making.