Complete Jazz Styles Links


Learn how to play the saxophone with a jazz approach.
Free introductory lessons Include: Saxophone Assembly - Making Sounds - Getting Started - Saxophone Fingering Chart - Saxophone Scale Sheet - Saxophone Transposition Guide - Saxophone FAQ


We are just beginning to develop our new online jazz improvisation & saxophone lessons page.
Click here to see what it's all about.


I am in the beginning stages of creating a series of Beginning Saxophone question and answer videos based on some of the most frequent questions I've received. I'll post the videos on my Beginning Sax site ( and in a playlist on my YouTube channel:

Question: How do I stop all this squawking?


This lesson offers a method for combining and making sense of saxophone overtone, embouchure, and tone production practice. A procedure is outlined that will help you develop better control over your tone color, pitch, and intensity.


This jazz improvisation lesson by Randy Hunter was created for as a promotion for their series of online jazz play-along tracks. Visit the Homepage page of Randy Hunter Jazz to view a video demonstration of Randy playing George Gershwin's "Rhythm Changes." After viewing the lesson, please be sure to check out Randy's online Jazz Improvisation Lessons.


Free jazz improvisation lessons, etudes, duets, transcriptions, a saxophone embouchure article with exercises and all the free manuscript paper you care to print are all included on the Free Stuff page of Randy Hunter Jazz .

The lessons are designed to be student friendly with demonstrations, play-along sections and audio instruction included on each MP3 track. Each lesson is accompanied by PDF downloads transposed appropriately for a variety of instruments.

The play-along tracks used in each lesson are taken from either "Set the Stage Jazz Combo Arrangements & Instruction" or the "Complete Jazz Styles" etude and duet series of method books for wind instruments.

Currently a transcription of Arnett Cobb's solo on "Smooth Sailing" , from his CD entitled "The Wild Man From Texas" is posted through a link from this page. Be sure to check back periodically for new transcriptions.

No login or password is required to access this material. It's all obligation. If you enjoy any of the lessons or have comments or suggestions for future lessons, please drop me an email. I'll add your name to my personal mailing list for occasional updates, but will not share your email address.

Also, please check out the "Complete Jazz Styles" and "Set the Stage" downloads and info pages. I have worked diligently to create books that make learning to play jazz enjoyable for students (and teachers).

New: High school students auditioning for the Georgia All-State Jazz Band may wish to check out the free downloadable MP3 demonstrations of the alto and tenor sax etudes by clicking on the link below.







Becoming an effective jazz improviser requires developing the technical skills, working knowledge of harmony, and
creative ability needed to simultaneously compose and perform. Writing an etude, or musical study, affords the
student an opportunity to shape a simulated improvisation using harmonic and technical concepts that are being
explored in other aspects of practice.


"What' Up With II-V-I's: An Introduction to the Jazz Language" offers instruction in understanding, recognizing, and practicing the basic components of II-V-I chord progressions.


"FUNK By The Step" MP3



Blue By The Step, Pt. 1
Interpreting The Funky Melon, Alesson in funk articulatlon, style and phrasing



Understanding the role of the facial muscles, lips, and teeth in creating the sound is
essential to producing a quality saxophone tone. Most importantly, these components should work together to form an embouchure that controls the speed and evenness with which the reed vibrates, without inhibiting these same vibrations.

With this in mind, think of the lower lip as being a firm mattress upon which the reed rests.
The objective is to provide support for the reed without pinching or biting with the lower teeth. This means that the teeth should be pulled down while maintaining constant firmness with the muscles in the lower lip and corners of the mouth.

It is important that the muscles controlling the upper and lower lips be focused inward rather than stretched in a smiling position. This inward focus should result in a round or oval-shaped embouchure that seals around the mouthpiece. The difficulty is keeping the lower lip firm during this process.

One way of knowing that the teeth and facial muscles are in the proper position and
functioning correctly is that the chin should be flat when the embouchure is sustained. This
position may be achieved relatively easily at first, but students often have difficulty maintaining control over these muscles while playing. For this reason, I have included some exercises for achieving, strengthening, and playing with the correct saxophone embouchure.

A common saxophone embouchure exercise involves closing the teeth in a relaxed manner. Without biting, press the upper and lower lips firmly together. Keep the corners of the mouth
in place and the lips pressed firmly together as you separate the teeth as far as possible. Sustain this position until you feel fatigue, then rest and repeat the process. Done daily, this exercise
will serve to strengthen the muscles used in forming your embouchure.

A variation of the exercise described above is also helpful in setting the embouchure for playing. Close the teeth without biting. Press the lips firmly together. This time separate the
teeth enough that you can stick the tip of your tongue between them while keeping the lips pressed firmly. Retract the tongue and push the lower teeth forward (assuming you have a
slight overbite) into the lower lip. Keeping the teeth in this position, separate the lips and place
the mouthpiece into your mouth with the upper teeth resting on the top of the mouthpiece
and the lower lip making contact with the reed. Focus the corners of your mouth inward to
close securely around the mouthpiece. Be certain that the chin stays flat and the lower teeth down during this process.

Another important consideration in setting the embouchure is knowing exactly how much mouthpiece to place in the mouth. Hold the mouthpiece sideways so that you can see the
angle at which the reed and rails of the mouthpiece come together; then place your thumbnail at the intersection. This marks the approximate amount of mouthpiece that should enter the mouth. Listen to the tone when you play. If it is thin or dead sounding, you may need to place more mouthpiece in your mouth. If the tone has a duck or goose-like quality to it, chances are that you have too much mouthpiece in your mouth. By listening for the sweet spot, you will eventually learn to feel the right bite on the mouthpiece.

© International Copyright Secured 2007
Randy Hunter Jazz


Using The Mind's Ear, an article/lesson on learning to play by ear

I recently received an email from an adult student of the saxophone with a question regarding transferring his musical ideas to his instrument. He seemed frustrated because he felt that while he was able to whistle or scat his musical ideas, he was unable to locate these sounds on his instrument.

In reality I believe that many students are capable of hearing ideas in the mind's ear that they may or may not have the musical vocabulary to reproduce on their instruments. So, my suggestion for these individuals is to experiment with what they know they can play.

I've developed an exercise designed to help students make the connection between the mind's ear and their instruments. By working with this exercise, players with a vocabulary of just a few major scales can begin to establish that link between their ears and instruments.

Here's the exercise:

Play a major that you know very well and can play freely up and down your instrument. Next, learn to sing the same scale. Take your time, making certain to match the pitches exactly. You may wish to play and sing the scale several times to assure accuracy.

Beginning with a simple passage, vocally improvise a phrase using only tones from this scale. Next, locate your starting tone with your instrument and play the phrase. If you have difficulty locating your starting tone, try again by first establishing a starting tone with your instrument.

As you progress, try starting on different tones. You should also experiment with ascending and descending passages, note length and varying intervals.

Continue using this process as your musical vocabulary grows to include different kinds of scales (i.e. pentatonic, blues, minor, etc.). With a little creativity, you can even use this exercise as an aid in learning to hear and play chord changes.

Students often experience difficulty bridging musical the gap between the mind and instrument. Hopefully this exercise will provide students with a method for using their existing instrumental vocabulary to get in touch with the mind's ear.


Randy Hunter is an Atlanta-based freelance saxophonist and long term private instructor. He self publishes a series of educational jazz books entitled "Complete Jazz Styles." His series of etude and duet books have been endorsed by Joe Lovano, Randy Brecker, John Fedchock and a number of other world renowned jazz artist and educators.






Complete Jazz Styles Links