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Anne McTighe

Lesson Plan – First Saxophone Lesson

• 30 Minute class
• Class of five 5th grade students
• No prior saxophone experience
• Elementary school general music education experience
• The goal is for students to become more familiar with the saxophone
• They will learn:
o How to assemble the instrument
o A correct embouchure and problems resulting from incorrect embouchure
o A few basic notes
o How to take instrument apart and store it
• At the end of the lesson students will be expected to be able to:
o Put the instrument together and show the teacher
o Explain the steps for a correct embouchure and how to recognize an incorrect
o Demonstrate a correct embouchure for their teacher
o Play the different notes they have learned
• Yamaha Advantage Saxophone
• Vandoren Reeds Strength 2 and 2.5
• Mouthpiece and Ligature
• Cap, case, and neck strap
• Music stand
• Chair
• Sheet with basic notes and fingering

Time Sequencing Assessment

1 - Demonstrate how to open the case. Have the group place the Students open the case.
min. saxophone on the floor with the label facing up. Correct them if they do
it incorrectly.
1 - Show the students the reed and have them take theirs out. Have Make sure students
min. them put the reed in their mouth to soak it. Make sure that it is flat follow directions.
side down on their tongue. Correct them if they
5 - Take out the neck, mouthpiece, and ligature. Model putting the Students will assemble
min. mouthpiece and neck together. Instruct students to put theirs the neck and
together. mouthpiece. Walk
- Demonstrate how to place the reed on the mouthpiece (in the around to make sure it
center, with just a bit of the mouthpiece visible). Make sure is correct, and help
screws are on the right side, and then tighten the ligature. Have the them if it is not. Show
students do the same. the students how to
- Demonstrate how to adjust the neck strap. Explain that it should swing the saxophone
be high enough so that the saxophone can swing and be placed in into their mouth. Help
the mouth. It is too low if the mouthpiece hits the chin, and too them adjust their neck
high if it hits the upper lip. strap if is too high/low.
5 - Teach the 4 steps to an embouchure, and have them repeat the Students should be able
min. steps: to repeat the steps and
• Roll bottom lip form the proper
• Place mouthpiece on lip (1/2 inch from tip) embouchure. Walk
• Top teeth on mouthpiece around to make sure
• Close mouths (think “ohhh) they are following the
- Demonstrate the steps, and then have the students follow the 4 steps and making a
steps as you say them. Make sure the mouthpiece is not at an correct embouchure.
angle, should be almost parallel to the floor.
- Check their embouchure.
3 - Demonstrate playing the neck and mouthpiece (approximately Each student should be
min. G). Have the students play the mouthpiece and neck combination. able to play the F# with
- Go individually to hear each student. If they are unable to play the mouthpiece and
the note help them with their embouchure. barrel.
2 - Explain problems with an incorrect embouchure Students should be able
min. • Squeaking to recognize when their
• Lip farts embouchure is incorrect
• Incorrect sound or pitch by identifying the
• Inability for note to sound mistakes.
• Puffing cheeks
- Demonstrate these concepts so they know what happens.
1 - Have the students take out the body and connect it to the neck. Students should be able
min. Demonstrate how to assemble the instrument. Make sure the neck to assemble the
joint is loosened. Show them how to line up the neck joint. sections. Make sure it is
Demonstrate and then have the students follow. done correctly.
10 - Have the students play without any fingers down. This should be If an incorrect pitch
min. C#. Go around and have each student play. Review embouchure if sounds while the group
necessary. plays stop and go
- Then teach the student to play B (one finger down), then A (two individually to make
fingers down), and then G (three fingers down). Go one at a time sure that each student
and demonstrate the fingering, play the note, and have the students can play the 4 notes.
play the note as a group.
- Play a game and ask them to the notes that you call out. Make
sure that they can do this. Review the notes and fingerings after
each time.
2 - End by teaching the students how to take apart and store their Check the instruments
min. instrument in the case. Demonstrate and then watch to make sure as the students put them
they are putting their saxophone away correctly. away.
• At first some of the students had trouble with the embouchure. Many didn’t have their top
teeth on the mouthpiece, or were not thinking “ohhh” (creating too much pressure). However
after reviewing the steps to embouchure they were able to understand and correctly form an
• The students were able to correctly play the notes.
• If the students move quicker than expected, teach them how to play D, E, and F then teach
them how to play a simple song such as Hot Cross Buns through call and response.