Yes, I Quit Playing the Saxophone…But Not For Reasons You’d Expect
When I was a freshman in college I went to the Reno Jazz Festival in Reno Nevada. I wasn’t serious about the saxophone yet, but I wanted to be a good player; I wanted to improvise effortlessly. That sounded like a lot of fun to me! The whole event was a great experience, until I heard the top high school band play.
They played an uptempo tune that was burnin’. Then, two saxophone players stood up and began to improvise (incredibly fast I might add). I had expected them to struggle at that tempo. They were high school students after all. They surprised me- they were amazing! I couldn’t believe it. How could they be so much better than I was, and younger too! I was bummed out and felt like quitting. I didn’t quit though. I loved playing too much to quit.
However, shortly after this experience I didn’t pick up a saxophone for 2 years. I didn’t stop because of the experience at the jazz festival, I stopped to serve a 2 year mission. I grew up a lot during that time (that tends to happen when you focus on other people rather than yourself), and I returned home a different person.
Reno Jazz Festival- Take 2
I went back to the Reno Jazz Festival that year and had many positive experiences, as I did the previous time. What about the negative experience you ask?
It was completely different. I listened to some high school jazz bands at the evening concert (they played incredibly well and fast too), but this time I had a different response. My thoughts went something like this:
If they can do it, I can too. We are all human. Five fingers on each hand. I’m not any different than them. I just need to find out the secret, find out how to do it, and get practicing.
This changed how I felt too. I was inspired and motivated by these kids and I was ready to succeed. I knew if they could do it, I could too.
Is Comparing Good or Bad?
At the 1st festival I became depressed because I was comparing myself to people who had the right instruction and had been working harder than I had. At the second festival I was motivated because I realized these 2 points:
- They were simply at a different point along the journey of playing the saxophone
- They’re human, I’m human… so if they can do it I can too. I just needed to get the right tools and direction
Can You See the Future?
Don’t get bummed out by comparing yourself to others.
You’re just at a different point along the path. Instead of saying, “I can’t do that”, look at what other people do as the future. Let it motivate and excite you, because you’ll play like that someday.
You Want It? You Can Have It!
It’s up to you to put in the work (it’s a fun work), and I can promise you that I can provide the proper direction. It’s exciting to know that you’ll get better every time you sit down to practice.
Have you ever had an experience in life where you didn’t think it was possible to accomplish something? What about the time you received proper direction and succeeded? What made the difference? I would love to hear your responce in the comment section below.
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