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Saxophone Ear Training using the Pentatonic Major Scale

Saxophone Ear Training using the Pentatonic major Scale

Part of the Improvisation Tutorials for Hey Jude

Tutorial Video #1

In this first video tutorial you’ll learn:

  • about the pentatonic major scale
  • how and where it’s derived from
  • practice improvising riffs with interactive ear training exercise

Later we will learn how to use it for improvising over an actual piece of music, which in this case will be the long outro in Hey Jude.

The Pentatonic Scale – Why Does it Work so Well?

If you’ve been focused on saxophone improvisation or even just started to look into it you’ll most likely heard about this thing we call the Pentatonic Scale.

You might also know that other types of scales like the major, minor, harmonic minor and others can have 7 notes and even more. The Pentatonic scale has only five.

The reason it works so well (it’s pretty much fool-proof), is because all the notes are the strongest notes of the scale (key) of the song so no matter which one you play, it’s gonna sound good and work over the song. Our job now is to find riffs and licks using those notes. This is what improvising your own solos is all about.

Coming next is the follow-up video which will continue with the Pentatonic Major Scale. Practice the ear training exercises in this above video so that you can follow along better on the next video when we will do it to the Hey Jude backing track. You can check out the Hey Jude music video by clicking the previous link.

Tutorial Video #2

In this second video tutorial:

  • continue ear training with the Hey Jude track
  • learn to play along with the backing track
  • expand your improvised pentatonic scale licks

Make sure you go through the first video tutorial before jumping into this one!

No Music Sheets Needed!

Once you learn the Pentatonic Major Scale (from video #1) the rest is all about starting to put some licks together.

In this second video you will get a feeling for how to play along with an actual backing track. The secret here is to copy the licks along with me and eventually memorize them.

Once we feel comfortable with a few of these simple 3-4 note riffs it’s time to do it on your own so follow along, learn them and move on!


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