Over the years I consistently hear from my students, “I know all my triads” and, “I know all my major scales”. After closer examination, it turns out that, for many developing sax players and musicians, this often means root position triads (or 7th chords) and Ionian modes. This exercise should really help improve both your harmonic knowledge of the major scale (in every key) and your ability to hear, play, visualize and spell all the diatonic 1st inversion triads found within a major scale.
I always encourage singing these melodies first and than playing them but of course you can tackle the material however you see fit. My argument for singing first is that you will learn to hear the melodies quicker and in a deeper way than by simply playing them on your instrument. The singing will also help you avoid learning the material mostly by muscle memory (playing by hand) and encourage you to play more by ear, where I believe true musicality can be found . I also encourage the memorization of the material. Even memorizing the example in one key is far better than reading it in all the keys. Every lesson on this blog I have learned and played by memory and as a result, I’ve developed a lot while sharing this material.
Below you’ll find both a PDF of the lesson and an mp3 for singing along, playing along or listening to, as well as the standard youtube clip.
Mp3 of the melody: