It Was A Sound Teaching Resources

Welcome teachers! This is the teaching resources and downloads page for 'It Was A Sound - A Tribute To Johnny Hodges.' Below you will find a selection of downloads for teachers to assist you in teaching the material in 'It Was A Sound.'

For saxophone teachers with jazz piano skills, you will find lead sheet versions of the accompaniment parts so you can improvise your own accompaniments in lesson time. There is also a full guide to help you use the material in 'It Was A Sound' to help your students develop a jazz vocabulary and learn to improvise, and a technical guide to performing the glissandi included in the book.

Download Lead Sheets for 'It Was A Sound'

Download Teaching Guides

Improvisation and Developing a Jazz Vocabulary

The composed pieces in 'It Was A Sound' were written to make the improvisatory style of Johnny Hodges available to students with limited technical abilities. The pieces were composed using actual melodic phrases that Johnny Hodges played in his improvisations. Students with an interest in improvisation are encouraged to first learn to play the compositions as written. Equally important is to study the audio recordings to develop an aural connection with the phrasing and articulation and where possible to play along, attempting to emulate the stylistic elements as closely as possible. Learning to play these phrases verbatim will help students to develop an improvisatory vocabulary in the style of Johnny Hodges.

Teachers may accompany their students’ improvisations with chord charts / available above. In this setting, students are encouraged to memorise their favourite phrases from the written music and deploy them in their improvisations. This will help them to develop an authentic jazz vocabulary.

When memorising the music for the purposes of improvisation, consider the following advice for students.

  •  First learn to SING the piece or phrase, try to copy the phrasing as much as possible when singing. Don’t guess the rests, make sure you know exactly which beat of the bar phrases start and end.

  •  When learning the solo on your instrument, listen to how it sounds in your head and try to use your ear as much as possible. Continually refer back to the recording to make sure you have the pitches correct as sometimes these end up being approximated when singing especially on chromatic passages. Only use the attached notation when you are stuck. The score will be useful later when analysing the solo.

  •  Practise slowly. This way you will learn to embody a relaxed feel. When you have the phrases down, play along with the recording and try to copy Hodges' articulation, phrasing and feel exactly.

  •   Try using a program such as Transcribe! to slow down the audio recordings so you can play along

  •  Practise the piece or phrases until you feel completely relaxed when playing, and know exactly which phrase is coming next. If certain phrases elude you when playing through the piece from memory, pick them out and practise the phrases and transitions from the previous phrases.

  •  Try starting and stopping in different places in the piece to make sure you are in control of the performance and not relying on muscle memory.

  •  As you achieve greater freedom when playing the pieces from memory, try to imagine how Hodges might have been feeling when he was playing these phrases. You are an actor and his phrases are your monologue, BECOME IT!