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Saxophone Sheet Music

By November 30, 2012September 20th, 2013saxophone exercises, Saxophone Tips

Whenever I found some saxophone sheet music  for a pop song I really liked, it always seemed like a joke. The way it was notated was just so simple and uncool and and really straight, no soul at all.

Still, sheet music like this was helpful for at least giving you the right notes of the melody, but as I soon discovered, the rest would be up to me.

As a singer or instrumentalist you have the opportunity to do a song any way you hear it in your head, and are limited only by your imagination and technical ability of course.

I can’t help you too much in the imagination part of this but I may be able to help with the technical side of things as far as your saxophone is concerned.

Musical Expression

The greatest thing about playing a musical instrument is being able to express a musical idea or your own rendition of a song that other people know. This can be something subtle or it can be Jimmie Hendricks’ version of the Start Spangled Banner!

You Need a Bag of Tricks

Tricks might not be the perfect word but you need some tools and techniques to use for making musical expression stand out. So, just exactly what are some of these tricks and tools?

It’s things like:

  • trills
  • swoops
  • bends
  • growls
  • dynamics
  • articulation
  • phrasing
  • Falling off a note
  • glissandos

It’s these type of things that can help you embellish or add ornamentation to an otherwise very simple piece of music

Because of the time of the season I chose to demonstrate this with the very popular White Christmas. Hopefully you’ll have a chance to pull your sax out at a family gathering this year and play it. With a little work and practice you can pull off a very nice version of this song.

What I’ve done is record a very straight “exactly as written” version and then another version using these ornaments or embellishments to show how just a few can make a big difference in making a simple piece of music more entertaining and expressive.

Check it out in the Repertoire Section of this site:



  • Lou Canning says:

    Hi Johnny love the site I no u are a busy man & I have bought most of your songs & sheet music u put up love the Blue but I find it frustrating when u go up to the higher octave to p,ay the tunes & it’s off putting trying to mimic you when you do this,I would love u to do a few lessons on the Ornaments & embellishments u talk about & do in sons like Fly Me To The Moon,wonderful world & mack the knife,night train & Ain’t no Sunshine I’m sure I would have no problem paying u for that lesson or vid u would put up, I asked this of u b4 but u said u were to busy,I can c that the site is getting bigger especially the new part were guys & girls are putting up there own vids,the songs I mentioned above are very well known sing & if u put it out there I think us beginners would pay for your time,just if u could slow down things in a video as how to do the little things that matter.i need to ask u a ? About mack the knife I bought last night from ur site as I said I contribute to u as I love what u do.will get the sheet music & ask the ?s if u don’t mind please respond to my ? Thanks Lou

    • john says:

      ya Lou I hear you. Let me know exactly what you mean about the Mack the Knife music, I’m not sure I understand your question regarding that.
      As for your other comments, regarding the higher register, it takes time to get strong up there so keep working on supplying lots of air into your horn, that with a strong embouchure and they will come eventually.
      The embellishments are a subjective thing… we all have different tastes and so will use them differently and there are quite a few as I mention in my post above. Start with a simple trill on a couple notes here and there and then maybe work on a scoop.

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