Today I have a new really fun 15-Minute Music Lesson for you!
15-Minute Music Lesson on Charlie “Bird” Parker
Charles Parker, Jr., also known as Charlie “Bird” Parker is an American jazz saxophonist and composer who was born August 29, 1920 and died March 12, 1955. He is also sometimes called “Yardbird.”
Parker was a leading figure in the development of Bebop Jazz.
What is Bebop Jazz?
It’s a type of jazz characterized by:
- fast tempo (speed)
- virtuosic technique (meaning you have to be a highly proficient player)
- advanced harmonies
Unlike earlier jazz styles, like swing, Bebop Jazz was not intended for dancing. Parker was an extremely good saxophonist and could play very fast. Listen to how fast he played in this video of a composition called “Confirmation”:
Charlie “Bird” Parker’s Nickname
Parker had the nickname “Yardbird” and the shorter version of it “Bird.” The nickname actually inspired the titles of several of Parker’s compositions, such as “Yardbird Suite”, “Ornithology”, “Bird Gets the Worm”, and “Bird of Paradise”.
Listen to “Yardbird Suite” here:
Learn more about the Saxophone
The saxophone is a woodwind (not a brass instrument) because you produce the sound by blowing through a reed, just like in a clarinet. This video teaches about musical scales and shows you how to play it on the saxophone.
Take a look at this next video to see how a saxophone is made:
Free 5-Page Printable Pack
- Lesson Plan
- Questions about Charlie “Bird” Parker
- Label the Musical Scale
- Saxophone Coloring Page
- Listen and Draw
If you liked this 15-Minute Music Lesson freebie, you will love the full course called 20th Century Music Appreciation. See the free previews here.