When you finish this course, you will know how to...

Play Sax by Ear!

Learn the method used by professionals to learn melodies by ear and improvise solos using the...

Pentatonic Foundation Video Course

Now Available on DVD!

Playing the saxophone can be extremely fun and rewarding. Everybody loves music (and musicians). However, the learning process can be confusing and frustrating for many. Most students don't really know what they should be practicing in order to reach their musical goals. When asked what they are working on, typical responses include:

"well, I play a scale or 2 and then play through some sheet music for band practice, what else is there?"

"I know I should be practicing more, but I don't know what I should be playing..."

"I would love to learn to improvise, but don't know where to start"

Or the all too common:

"Practicing is boring, I don't practice"

Learning To Play By Ear is Easier Than You Think!

My name is Jay Metcalf, and I have been teaching saxophone for over 20 years and playing professionally just as long. I had my own struggles along my path to learning the things I wanted to be able to do on my instrument. I have created the Pentatonic Foundation video course to share with students the information I wish I had known when I started out. Such as...

Things I've learned on the bandstand that aren't in any books out there

The right way to practice to get the most out of your time

Exactly what material you should be practicing to reach your goals

Practice sessions can be so much fun you won't want to stop (if you know how)

An approach to beginning improvising that gets great sounding results right away

and much more...

  • I must say I'm impressed. Less than a week and I was able to play along with Don't Worry Be Happy well mostly. When I joined I didn't know what to expect but it was money well spent. I have only been playing the Sax for a couple of months and you tutorials are perfect. By the first of the year I will be playing with my very talented friends. All anyone needs to do is follow your instructions. Thanks again!
    Name Gene F.

Watch this video to learn more...

The Pentatonic Foundation Course has 16 video chapters taking you through the steps of the Better Sax Play By Ear Method. These interactive videos are concise, to the point and designed for efficient practice and learning. In total there is over 90 minutes of concentrated well organised material divided into easy to manage chunks.

Enroll in my free Crash Course to learn the basics of how to Play Sax by Ear

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  • This is the best instruction on learning pentatonic scales and beginning improvisation I have come across so far! Your method is also good for improving finger agility on an instrument, too. Thanks for sharing! You're a great teacher!
    Name Judith B.

Course Description and Outline

Lesson Breakdown:


Pentatonic Scale Intro

How to build a pentatonic scale

Pentatonic Basics

Memorize the Pentatonic Scale and learn to practice it

Pentatonic Exercise 1

Learn to play our first exercise

Pentatonic Exercise 2

A new way to practice scales

Upside Down & Backwards

We develop our mastery of the pentatonic scale further

Pentatonic Exercise 3

New exercise played along with our first backing track

Syncopated Exercise 1

A syncopated scale pattern played along with a backing track

Minor Theory

We learn the music theory behind minor pentatonic scales

Syncopated Exercise 2

A new challenging scale pattern to play over another backing track

Pentatonic Skip Exercise 1

Learn to incorporate skips within the pentatonic scale

Melodic Ear Training 1

We learn our first melody entirely by ear and play along with a backing track

Melodic Ear Training 2

Learn another familiar song by ear using another backing track

Advanced Ear Training 1

I play a phrase, then you play it back by ear

Advanced Ear Training 2

Difficulty increased

Advanced Ear Training 3

Difficulty increased again

Introduction to Pentatonic Improvisation

Listen to my demonstration solo using the pentatonic scale

Solo Analysis

Learn the techniques and concepts I use in my improvisation

What You're About to Discover:

  • How to construct the Major Pentatonic scale, which is our most versatile collection of notes for any and every style of music. Learn why it's more effective to start out focusing on the pentatonic scale rather than other scales.
  • How easy it is to memorize this scale and develop technique across the full range of your instrument. Take the first step in doing away with sheet music.
  • How to practice effectively to develop solid time, flawless technique and a beautiful sound. I show you exactly how I and other professional sax players practice exercises.
  • Learn the key scale exercises that will transform your playing while being fun to practice.
  • How to use a metronome or backing track to establish your concept of good time and solid rhythm.
  • How to incorporate syncopated rhythms into your scale pattern practice, to get you practicing in the same way you will be playing improvised solos later on.
  • Learn the key elements of music theory. My explanations are concise and clear. I'm not preparing you to take some test. I'm giving you the most essential information in a way that you will understand and sticks with you.
  • How to practices starting phrases on off beats and not always on one. This is crucial to sounding like the musicians you listen to on recordings.
  • Develop your ability to play with melodic skips in your playing so you're not always just going up and down a scale.
  • How to learn a melody entirely by ear. This is where things really start to get interesting. I show you the process and give you a list of other songs you can try your hand (ear) at.
  • How to play what you hear in your head! We practice this along with a backing track by me playing a phrase and you playing it back. Replay the videos as many times as you need to.
  • How an effective solo is crafted. My example here is played only using notes from the pentatonic scale so you can see what is possible with just these 5 notes.
  • Learn what is going on in my head while I'm improvising a solo through my in depth and detailed analysis of the example improvisation.
  • I just wanted to take a moment and say thank you for putting together your course. I was very excited to come across your website. Knowing what to practice how to warm up has been extremely helpful and I will definitely be continuing forward using your methods and instruction. Thank you again sir for all the hard work and effort you have put into your courses.
    Name Lonnie G.
Enroll NowLifetime Access $79
  • I have been viewing  one by one the videos in your Pentatonic Foundation course and I am absolutely AMAZED at how the Pentatonic Scale works and what can be done with it.  My only problem is that I can’t learn the lessons fast enough.  I am dumbfounded that all this music can be produced from 5 notes.
    Name Denver L.

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  • Pentatonic Foundation Full Course
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  • Thanx for putting together a great sax tuition method. It is quite apparent that there has been a lot of thought and preparation involved in the crafting of this course.
    Name Hugh K.
  • q-iconI just started playing saxophone, can I take this course?

    I teach this method to beginners as well as experienced saxophone players that have been playing for years. The beauty of the system is that works for you at every level beginner to advanced. The techniques I teach hear are all accessible to beginners, and are the same techniques that I practice and incorporate every day.

  • q-iconCan I view the lesson content on my tablet or mobile device?

    Yes! The videos can be viewed on any device as long as you are connected to the internet. They are streamed from a private server in High Definition and can be watched an unlimited number of times for the duration of your membership.

    The pdf documentation and mp3 tracks, can be downloaded and kept forever.

  • q-iconHow Long Will it Take to Get Access?


    As soon as your purchase is completed you will receive a confirmation email. Please check junk and spam folders for this if you don’t see it right away. Add jay@bettersax.com to your contact list, to ensure delivery of all important emails.

    Follow the instructions in this email to set up your Better Sax user account and then visit the members area to access you course material.

    All of the videos can be streamed as many times as you want for the duration of your membership. The backing tracks and pdf files can be downloaded and kept for ever.

  • q-iconIs There a Guarantee?

    Yes. 30 days trial, 100% satisfaction guarantee.

    If you don’t find that the Pentatonic Foundation Course has helped you to become a better sax player, learn melodies by ear, and start improvising your own solos, just send me a message and I’ll refund your entire purchase price no questions asked.

    I’m that sure you’re going to love this…

  • I just wanted to say although I don't really know how this is so effective within a few days my tone and rhythm is so different almost beautiful. I have been playing for around 14 months, I am happy to put in 2 or 3 hours a day but playing without music is a weakness of mine. I feel that the way this course moves forward in so many areas it's subliminal, plus a bonus I finally mastered the circle of fifths or at least felt I had reason to. Looking forward to starting the patterns book. Once again thank you for a brilliant tool.
    Name Mark S.
Enroll NowLifetime Access $79