This week’s TLB Music Smock Rock project theme is Jazz music! We’re creating a Charlie “Bird” Parker-inspired saxophone collage! While they craft, our students are listening to Benny Goodman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing”, Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean a Thing”, Louis Armstrong’s “Basin Street Blues” and Charlie Parker’s “Ornithology”!

Student Materials:
a sturdy sheet of white paper
tissue paper in a variety of colors cut into small shapes (mine were rough squares, some pieces I ripped!)
1 yellow paper saxophone (get the saxophone & mouthpiece template here)
1 paper saxophone mouthpiece (can be any color, use about template)
small 1/2” circles for saxophone keys (can be any color)
1 paper oval for saxophone bell (can be any color)
Charlie Parker sheet music (printed 4 per page, links below)
Ornithology Sheet Music | Yardbird Suite Sheet Music
black music notes confetti or small paper music notes
glue stick, scissors

Teacher Materials: scissors, 1/2” circle hole puncher, bird hole puncher

Teacher Prep: -cut saxophones -print sheet music 4 per page and cut
-punch 1/2” circles for keys -cut mouthpieces -cut bell (kids can help cut an oval here if you’d like)

*view hole punchers, music notes and tissue paper used at the bottom of post!

Project Intro:
Today, we’re going to listen to Jazz music while we make a collage inspired by a very famous Jazz musician, Charlie “Bird” Parker. Show picture. What instrument did he play? Does anyone know its name? Now, can kids find the saxophone in the classroom? We’ll include a bird in our collage because Charlie’s nickname was “bird”- isn’t that funny? Several of his compositions reference birds: “Yardbird”, “Ornithology”, “Bird Gets the Worm”, and “Bird of Paradise”.

Pass out piece of tissue paper, glue sticks and white paper. Let’s make a beautiful background by gluing pieces of colorful tissue paper on the paper. Layer the different colors, noticing how the areas where you overlap make new colors!
Step 1 (create background): Using a gluestick, glue your piece of tissue paper on your paper, covering the entire paper. It’s ok if you go over the edge: adults can help children trim the excess by turning the paper over to see where the extra paper is!

Creating the Background

Decorating Materials

Pass out small sheet music. Charlie Parker wrote these songs! What do kids see on the paper? (Notes, words, symbols!) We’re going to decorate our collage at the end with lots of music notes!
Step 2 (sheet music): Glue sheet music to your background.

Adding Sheet Music to Background

Pass out saxophones. Ask children to help you identify which is the top and the bottom. Look at real saxophone to see which way it goes!
Step 3 (saxophone body): Glue saxophone to background. (I let mine overlap the sheet music a bit)

Saxophone Body

Our next step is adding the bell’s hole.  This is where the sound comes from!
Step 4 (saxophone bell): Glue bell on saxophone.

Saxophone Bell

To change the pitch on a saxophone, musicians need to press the keys to cover the holes on the saxophone! Show with real saxophone. Pass out small paper circles for keys.
Step 5 (saxophone keys): Glue keys on the neck of the saxophone.

Saxophone Keys

To make a sound, saxophone players need to blow into a mouthpiece attached to top of the next. Show saxophone mouthpiece. Let’s add a mouthpiece to our saxophone!
Step 6 (saxophone mouthpiece): Glue mouthpiece to saxophone.

Saxophone Mouthpiece

Time to add our bird in honor of Charlie Parker!
Step 7 (bird): Choose a bird and glue it to your collage.

Adding the Bird

Our last step is adding the music notes! Notes are symbols that tell musicians what to play. It can tell them to play a low note or a high note and tells them how long to hold the note.
Step 8 (music notes): Glue music notes to your collage.

Music Notes

Finished Collage!

End of class activity, if time:
Let’s play along with Charlie Parker on our own wind instruments! Pass out a recorder for each child. We play our recorders very similarly to our saxophone: we need to blow to make a sound and move our fingers over the holes to change the pitch. First, warm up with a simple song like “Mary Had a Little Lamb” then jam out along with a recording of Charlie Parker!

Materials Used:

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