Main Subject Saxophone Jazz & Pop 1

Module code
Curricular domain
Practical Classes
Group size
Number of course weeks
Class duration
One 50-minute lesson per week
Total contact hours
25 hours
Study load
283 hours

Form / content / level

Admitted to the ArtEZ Jazz & Pop Saxophone main subject year 1.
See Competencies Matrix.
Acquiring the technical basics required for the student's musical development. Students will be able to apply the acquired instrument skills and and theory knowledge in their improvisations, demonstrating their ability to work creatively with the studied material. They will be able to play 20 standards or self-chosen pieces by heart and to improvise over them.
Relation to other modules
The level of instrument proficiency corresponds to the contents of the band (EnsEmble) and theory modules.

Scales: major, melodic and harmonic minor, harmonic major, whole tone, octatonic over the full range of the instrument; using thirds and triads/tetrads common to the scale; arpeggios of major, minor, augmented and diminished triads and tetrads; selecting a number of II-V licks and memorizing them in all keys.


Study material with a musical complexity level similar to:

Lennie Niehaus: Jazz Conception 2 (intermediate/advanced)

Lennie Niehaus: Jazz Duos.

Bob Mintzer: 14 Easy Jazz, Blues and Funk Etudes.

Big band parts, e.g., Nestico: Wind Machine, It's So Nice, You Gotta Try; Ferguson: Fireshaker, Omaha, Marketplace.


Jerry Coker: Patterns for Jazz; or similar textbooks, either chosen by the student himself or because of a change in the instructor's plans; other Patterns may also be used; applying these Patterns during improvisation.

Jamey Aebersold: Play-a-Longs vols 3, 21 and 24.

II-V-I progressions in all keys: diatonic melodies incorporating licks and patterns; using leading tones.

Building blocks of improvisation: developing motifs, guide-tone lines, timing and rhythm.

Composing original solos.

Transcribing solos, e.g., by Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Johnny Hodges, Ben Webster and Lester Young, or musicians of the student's own preference.

Improvising by ear over simple chord progressions.

The relation between rhythm, melody and harmony.


Jazz standards in different tempi and styles with modulating chord progressions, e.g., Stella by Starlight, Beautiful Love, How Insensitive, Misty, Lullaby of Birdland, There Is No Greater Love, Mr PC, Au Privave and My Funny Valentine;

and/or: pieces in other genres as selected by the student, or his own compositions.

Learning ca. 20 jazz standards or self-chosen pieces by heart and improvising over them.
Mode(s) of instruction
Individual lessons and (as agreed with the instructor) big band lessons, group lessons and section rehearsals.
Material & Tools
Real Books; Jamey Aebersold: Play-a-Longs, Band-in-a-Box Software, Bob Mintzer: 14 Jazz and Funk Etudes, Lennis Niehaus: Jazz Conception for Saxophone 2 (intermediate) or 3 (advanced), Jerry Coker: Patterns for Jazz; recordings of the pieces to be played.
Student activity
Organizing a short performance (band, repertoire, rehearsals) as part of the annual Jazz & Pop saxophone student concert; independently organizing a performance (five pieces) as part of the propaedeutic audition.

Examination and assessment

Mode(s) of assessment
Assessment by the main subject instructor at the end of each semester.
The student should have mastered the elements described under Aims. Specific criteria are: creativity, expression, improvisation, technique, sound, intonation, timing, reading skills, repertoire knowledge, progress, self-reflection, session participation, attitude and lesson preparation.
Pass requirements
The student has completed this module if he is awarded a minimum grade of 5.5 at the end of the second semester.
Examination procedure
At the end of both semesters the instructor fills out an assessment form designed specifically for this module. Assessment is comprised of a verbal evaluation and a concluding grade. The instructor reviews this assessment with the student during the first subsequent lesson. Assessment at the end of the autumn semester is formative and expressed in terms of satisfactory/unsatisfactory. It indicates a student's progress in this module. No ECs are awarded and there is no resit. Modules can only be absolved, and ECs awarded, after the end of the spring semester.
Resit options
See the Education and Assessment Plan.

Module summary

This module is intended to prepare students through weekly lessons for the practical part (audition) of the propaedeutic exam Saxophone Jazz & Pop. The student learns to play pieces in various genres, in part chosen by the student himself (jazz, fusion, Latin, possibly including original compositions by the student), and to improvise over the pieces. During this process, attention is paid to technical facility and stylistic awareness with respect to rhythm, harmony and melody. A number of additional subjects will also be addressed, including but not limited to: jazz/pop phrasing and articulation, harmonic coloring, and different approaches to rhythm