Playing Aids

Polyrhythms Explained

In this episode of his series New Horizons in Music, bassist, composer and music educator Adam Neely discovers that literally everything is rhythm as he investigates the connections between synaesthesia, the Harmony of the Spheres, Isaac Newton, pitch and polyrhythms.

Saxophone Hand Position
Check out what Nick Mainella has to say about how to properly access all of the keys on the saxophone.  Practice these important fundamentals to get yourself racing around the horn!

Saxophone Hand Position Video

Reference Tones
Use the reference tone mp3s provided to practice playing in tune. First use them to play in unison with each tone, striving to match them exactly. They play each note of the major scale in long tones, also striving to match each pitch exactly. Consistent use of these reference tones will help you to develop a great sound and a much better sense of intonation.

Bb Concert Reference Tone

F Concert Reference Tone

Intonation Sheets
Print a copy of the intonation sheet for your instrument. Play each note on the sheet while a friend records the number of cents flat or sharp you are for each note. Record the total number of cents flat or sharp at the bottom of the page and turn it in to Mr. Crystal.

Intonation Sheets

Scale Construction Help Sheet
The scale construction worksheet below explains everything you need to know about using the chromatic scale to build your major scales, how to use major scales to build major chords, and how to derive the Circle of 5ths (one of the most important patterns in all of music). Please print a copy of this sheet for your reference if you need help learning how to build scales.

Scale Theory and Circle of 5ths Study Guide

Scale and Arpeggio Test Key
This is an answer key to the scale and arpeggio tests that we have been doing in Concert Band.  If you are having trouble passing this test, use this as a study guide or to check yourself on a practice test that you do on your own.  The goal is to get 100% correct answers to all 12 keys in under 3 minutes.  The only missing ingredient is repetition.  Good luck!

Scale and Arpeggio Test Key

Circle of 5ths Worksheet – Answer Key
If you are working on the Circle of 5ths Scale assignment, this key will help you figure out where it went right (or wrong…)

Circle of Fifths Worksheet Answer Key

Just Intonation Info Sheet
Here is a page that explains how to adjust the intonation of every note of the chromatic scale so that it matches the root of the scale. As funny as it may seem, playing two different notes perfectly in tune does not mean that they will sound in tune with each other; you have to intentionally play one note slightly out of tune so that the two notes will match each other better; this is called “Just Intonation.” If you would like more in depth information about all of the different kinds of tuning systems, Google these terms: Equal Temperament, Just Intonation, Pythagorean Tuning

Just Intonation Worksheet

Building Chords and the Scales That Go With Them
This packet will teach you everything you need to know about how to get started using major scales to build chords. This is very important information if you want to be successful in learning how to play jazz or just be a mature musician.

Chord Types and Construction

Learning to Recognize Intervals Aurally
A really important part of being a great musician is training your ear to hear the intervals that make up the music you play.  Here are some simple songs to help you learn what all of the chromatic intervals sound like.  Memorize these and learn to recognize them by ear and you will be well on your way!

Interval Recognition

Practice without Playing!!
This is an article that talks about several ways that you can get better as a musician without having an instrument in your hands. (Not an excuse to not practice!!)

Practice without Playing Article

Using Altered Sounds
The altered scale is a very colorful sound and a great way to make your solo ideas sound more sophisticated and interesting.  Here is an article that shows you how to use just a couple of altered tones (with examples) to take your ideas to the next level!

Approaching Altered Sounds

Rent Party Practice Track

Practice using the Bb Bebop Dominant Scale to this track.

Rent party practice changes