Tuesday, July 12, 2011

30 Songs in 30 Days, Day 26: A Song That You Can Play on an Instrument

Song: "Ming Court"
Chinese Folk Song
Book: Standard of Excellence Enhanced Comprehensive Band Method: Book 1 - E-flat Alto Saxophone by Bruce Pearson

I am currently teaching myself to play the saxophone. During the first nine years of my music teaching career, I have been a choral/general music guy. But at the end of this past school year, our band director came up with a crazy yet wonderful idea: the two of us co-teaching fourth grade band next year! He has taught 4th grade before in another district but never in ours. I, on the other hand, have never conducted a band except in the emergency situations when he's been called up for National Guard duty (not kidding). So, I will be very much the apprentice. He did lend me an alto sax to practice with for the summer.

In truth, I can't say I've even had a meaningful association with a band instrument since high school trombone days. I did pick it back up briefly for what we unofficially called our Band for Singers class in my certification program but that's it. My experience with the saxophone is bare minimal: three months of lessons some 25 years ago. But it's been fun learning. I'm still working at not feeling self-conscious about it with other people in the house. "Ming Court" is the song I have most recently mastered. No, the player heard in the video is not me.

Of course, a search for "ming court" on youtube also brings up the following. This one's for you, Mock!

If there are any sax players or instrumental music teachers out there, I am having an issue with which you may be able to help me. I'm suddenly squeaking on D (fourth line, treble staff) whereas I was not before. I tried changing reeds - didn't help. I checked the mechanism - nothing suspicious that I can tell. I've tried approaching the note from above and below - it's just that one. I can hit the note by tightening my embouchure but that seems like cheating. The problem seems to be the octave key. Any thoughts? My own high school band director is a facebook friend. I've got him on the case but I'm open to any and all suggestions. E-mail: armchairsquid@gmail.com.


I hope you'll join us for the "30 Songs in 30 Days" challenge, inspired by the tumblr list. Our 30 Songs roster:

Stay on target...
Marc Whitman's Blog
Haley says "Hello" To You

It's never too late to post your own. Tomorrow is...

Day 27: A Song That You Wish You Could Play


  1. My guess is that it would be a leaky octave key.

  2. Saxophone, awesome! I played clarinet in band and the saxophone was ever so much cooler.

    1. I love the clarinet, actually. After this post, I gave sax lessons at school for a year. None since - got busy with the drama program instead, quite happily.