I’ve never been the sort of person to simply do things half-heartedly, so I found a teacher and started formal lessons. What appeared to be a relatively easy, inexpensive hobby has turned out to be quite different!
I started listening to a variety of different music genres that included the saxophone and found that it has formed a part of some great modern bands – from jazz to pop, and also used extensively in classical music.
About six months into playing my son’s student saxophone, I realised I needed to make a choice – get serious about this and get my own saxophone, or give up. I’ve never been a quitter, so off I went to a great sax shop and bought myself a beautiful Yanigasawa WO 10 alto sax. Of course, this was way over the price I had planned on paying!
What a difference this has made to my life! At that stage I had built up my playing ability to about 30 minutes per session, but now was inspired by a great instrument, an inspirational teacher and a determination to succeed.
At times struggling with sadness and sorrow, I found that playing a musical instrument that requires total focus – breathing, tonguing (‘articulation’ I hear my teacher saying), fingering, reading, listening, timing and rhythm (‘use the metronome’) – only allowed time to focus on the present and future possibilities, not on the sadness of the past.
I have pretty much played every day since I bought my sax and often up to five hours per day on weekends and during holidays. At first, I was embarrassed at being so loud and untalented, until recently when I received a lovely compliment from someone walking her dog in the park over the road from my house – she though it was a YouTube clip!
I recently was awarded the great privilege by my sax teacher of moving from a beginner level player (AMEB Grades 1-4) to an intermediate level player (AMEB grades 5 – 8). A challenge indeed! Pieces I am currently working on include a classical piece by Eugene Bozza – Aria – composed for alto saxophone and absolutely beautiful. I am also playing some great jazz pieces – including my late husband’s favourite My Way and a country tune Always on my mind. My teacher tells me he would like me to perform this Aria. It’s a terrifying thought, but more focus will see it happen!
Just in case I may not find all of this challenging enough, I decided to go ahead and buy a tenor saxophone – the sound being so attuned to jazz and pop music. Next step, find some musicians to play along with in my spare time.
The possibilities are endless.
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