|posted: 8/7/2008 at 9:35:00 AM ET|
The best way to understand transposition is this:
When an instrument plays its name, it sounds a C.
For example, when a Bb clarinet plays a Bb, that Bb sounds like a C. Therefore, in order to hear a D, the clarinet must finger a C. When it wants to sound an E, it must finger a D. If the student wants to play a Bb concert scale, it must play its C scale. Same goes for other Bb instruments such as trumpet and tenor saxophone.
Alto saxophone is an Eb instrument, therefore, when it plays an Eb it sounds a C.
The best way to understand this is to make a chart with the concert pitch on top and the instrument's pitch on the bottom and study how they correlate.
Good luck to you and your student!