#100 How To Play Winter Wonderland On Any Sax

beginner christmas Dec 13, 2020

Another Christmas Cracker! Nothing says Christmas like Winter Wonderland, and you're gonna learn the whole song, which you can play with the free backing track to impress your friends and family. If you love these festive songs, then make sure you check out my Christmas Playlist, which has a rapidly expanding library of Christmas classics. There's some really cool versions of songs that I'm sure you're familiar with.

Be sure to pick up your free PDF sheet music for Winter Wonderland here, which has got the melody written out for alto AND tenor, plus the chords for the solo section. Here are the Q&A topics covered in this lesson, with video time stamps (min:sec). Clicking on the time stamp will take you straight to that portion of the video on YouTube (in a separate tab). Full Time stamps for the video and a complete transcript are available at the bottom of the blog.


Is it easy to play Winter Wonderland on sax? (2:23)

  • Winter Wonderland is pretty easy on sax, although there's a few extra notes to watch out for in the bridge
  • all the notes (for the main A sections) are from F major for tenor, or C major for alto


Is there sax on the original version of Winter Wonderland

  • there's no lead saxophone part on the original - this is a cover version
  • however, it's such a melodic song it works really well on sax


How do I solo on the middle bit of Winter Wonderland? (5:27)

  • you can play a solo using only one scale - the major pentatonic scale
  • for alto, the notes you can mix up are C - D - E - G - A
  • for tenor, the notes you can mix up are F - G - A - C - D
  • if you know you're stuff you can also try blowing over the chord changes, but that's a bit more involved
  • You can find out more about blues scales and pentatonics here


What are the sax notes for Winter Wonderland? (3:08)

For the full part, get your free PDF sheet music for Winter Wonderland here. These are the notes for each phrase.

* = second octave

__ = a longer note

  • phrase 1 - tenor (3:49): C  C  C__C  C  A  C__C  C  C__C  C  Bb  C__
  • phrase 2 - tenor (4:08): C  E*  E*  E*  D*__D*  C  C  C  Bb__
  • phrase 3 - tenor (4:21): A  A  A  A  G  G  G  G  F__
  • phrase 4 - tenor (4:36): E  E  C#  C#  F#  F#  D*  D*  C#  A__
  • phrase 5 - tenor (4:51): E  E  C#  C#  F#  F#  D*  D*  C#__
  • phrase 6 - tenor (5:03): G  G  E*  E*  A  A  F*  F*  E*  C__
  • phrase 7 - tenor (5:18): C  E*  E*  E*  E*  D*  D*  D*  D*  C__


  • phrase 1 - alto (3:49): G*  G*  G*__G*  G*  E*  G*__G*  G*  G*__G*  G*  F*  G*__
  • phrase 2 - alto (4:08): G*  B*  B*  B*  A*__A*  G*  G*  G*  F*__
  • phrase 3 - alto (4:21): E*  E*  E*  E*  D*  D*  D*  D*  C__
  • phrase 4 - alto (4:36): B  B  G#*  G#*  C#  C#  A*  A*  G#*  E*__
  • phrase 5 - alto (4:51): B  B  G#*  G#*  C#  C#  A*  A*  G#*__
  • phrase 6 - alto (5:03): D*  D*  B*  B*  E*  E*  C*  C*  B*  G*__
  • phrase 7 - alto (5:18): G*  B*  B*  B*  B*  A*  A*  A*  A*  G*__


Where can I find a backing track for Winter Wonderland? (9:37)

  • there's a backing track that you can play along to, here!


So that's it for this week, I hope you enjoyed learning this Christmas classsic. If you wanna sax up your Christmas there's plenty more where this came from, just go to my Christmas Playlist. Don't forget to get your free PDF sheet music for Winter Wonderland here, lovingly transcribed as always for tenor and alto. Next week there'll be another Christmas corker, but until, practice smart and I'll see you later! 

Jamie :-)


Video Timestamps

0:00 - Intro performance

0:51 - intro and titles

1:09 - about Total Tone Mastery

2:23 - about Winter Wonderland

3:08 - the notes








5:27 - the solo section

6:06 - song structure



12:24 - sign off

13:33 - end music and bloopers



Video Transcript

Hi i'm pro saxophonist Jamie Anderson. You're watching Get Your Sax Together, and on this week's special Christmassy free online saxophone lesson you're gonna learn how to play the Christmas standard “Winter Wonderland”.


Well, as I hit my 100th video today, it’s absolute carnage right now, here at Get Your Sax Together HQ, as I’m finally launching my long-awaited saxophone sound production course, Total Tone Mastery. That’s right! The build up is on, and the cart officially opens on Friday December 18th 2020. After two years of work, I can’t believe it’s actually finished. So Exciting. Look, if you’re frustrated with low notes, palm key notes that keep sounding like Mary & Joseph’s donkey, or you just want a more even, pro sounding tone across the whole range of the horn, then this comprehensive online course is gonna be one Christmas cracker you just can’t afford to miss. I’m super passionate about you getting the sound you’ve always imagined, and my mission is to let you all know that having a great, reliable sax tone isn’t just for pros - you can achieve it too - you just need the right specialised information and exercises. Anyway, all of that aside, Christmas MUST go on! So let’s learn how to play one of my favourite Christmas songs - Winter Wonderland. Hey - this isn’t a ground shaking video - nothing particularly sexy this week - just a good ole Christmas song to learn and play. And what’s wrong with that, I ask ya! As always, go to the description of this video to get a bunch of awesome free goodies, like my deluxe finger chart, my free one hour masterclass, and of course, the free PDF for this song, written out for alto AND tenor sax. Hey, and if you love these Christmassy sax songs, check out my Christmas playlist linked above, as that’s got a whole load of awesome songs to play - all with backing tracks and everyfink. So, without further ado, mix yourself an egg nog and let’s learn this timeless Christmas classic, shall we?

[STING: The Notes]

This is another good one for beginners as the main part of the song is all on an F major scale for tenor, or a C major scale for alto. Happy days! I’m not gonna talk about the bridge yet, cos that changes key twice, but if you’re a beginner on saxophone and you haven’t got much time to practice, just kinda bluff that bit, or sing it instead! I’ve broken it down into manageable chunks, which I’ll teach you in slow motion, then, once you’re up to speed, you can play along with the backing track at full tempo. I’ll teach you the seven phrases, then I’ll show you how they all fit together. By the way all the tenor notes will sound down the octave. Here’s the first phrase in slow motion.

[phrase 1 slow]

Here’s the second phrase now.

[phrase 2 slow]

Phrase 3 rounds out the A section of the song.

[phrase 3 slow]

Right, this is where we change key, so hold tight! This is the “In the meadow we can build a snowman” bit

[phrase 4 slow]

Phrase 5 is exactly the same as phrase 4 except without the last note.

[phrase 5 slow]

We’re changing key again now! Here’s phrase 6

[phrase 6 slow]

Phrase 7 is the last phrase of the bridge and takes us back to the A section again.

[phrase 7 slow]

[STING: The Solo Bit]

I’ll re-cap the song structure in a sec, but after you’ve played the whole melody, there’s an 16 bar solo section for you to blow over. You can either use the simple major pentatonic shown onscreen during the backing track (that’s a C major pentatonic for alto or an F major pentatonic for tenor), or, if you know your jazz, you can blow on the chord changes. That’s what I did, but, you know, if you don’t want to take a solo at all, then you can just play the A section again, twice, that's phrases 1,2 and 3, repeated. If you’re interested in a transcription of my alto solo then leave me a comment. If there's enough interest I’ll take it down for y’all.

[STING: Putting It All Together]

So you’ve now got all the phrases you need to assemble the whole song. If you go and get your free PDF transcription for Winter Wonderland, you’ll see how the structure works. This song has an A A B A song form, so play the A section twice (that’s phrases 1, 2 and 3 repeated), then the Bridge (phrases 4, 5, 6 and 7) and finish with one more A (phrases 1, 2 and 3). After that you can either take an 16 bar solo, or repeat phrases 1, 2 and 3. Then it’s back to the bridge (phrases 4, 5, 6 and 7), and one more A to finish (phrases 1,2 and 3). Just before I demo it all, remember that this is a vocal melody, so you can add your own little variations wherever you want. Remember - after I’ve played it through the backing track will run for you to play.



[STING: Before You Go]

So that’s it for this week, remember to check out my Christmas Playlist from the description, and watch your inboxes for the big news about Total Tone Mastery. I’ve already had countless people email me, hyped about the launch so it’s shaping up to be an epic launch. Don’t forget to pick up your free PDF using the link in the description, and if you wanna learn some more in-depth sax stuff go to Get Your Sax Together dot com, forward slash masterclass, to get your free one hour lesson with me. You can help me out my subscribing, click the bell icon for notifications when I upload or go live, and give me a thumbs up and a comment. If you wanna contribute even more, you can buy me a coffee using the link in the description, and thank you SO much if you’ve already done that - you guys are so generous, and it means the world to me. There’ll be loads of free lessons on sound production coming your way this week if you’re on my mailing list, and as always I’ll be saxing up your sunday next week with another festive winner, but until then, practice hard, practice smart, and enjoy your music. See ya later!


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