If you have the desire to play the saxophone, you can do it! You can play your favorite songs on the radio and get that beautiful tone that attracts you to this instrument. Last week I shared the idea that this is possible because you’re human. The “greats” are human just like us, so if they can do it, you can too!
I’m a professional saxophone player, but this was not always the case. In this post I want to share my journey with you, so you can see how I went from a struggling piano player to someone who earned their Doctor of Musical Arts degree in saxophone performance (by the way, the doctoral degree was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life!)
I began playing music, the piano specifically, at 6 or 7 years old. I took lessons, but I had little interest in playing or practicing. As a beginning piano player I didn’t take the time to figure out how to read music, so I played all my exercises by reading the numbers above the notes. After some time my mother realized that this was not a good fit, so she let me take some time off before music started at my elementary school, in 5th grade.
Band or Choir?
In 5th grade they asked us, “Would you like to be in band or choir?” I chose band for a couple of reasons.
- In my young mind, singing was for girls and I would be made fun of if I joined the choir.
- Band sounded cool to me, especially the drums!
“Choosing” The Saxophone
“Not in my house,” my mother said referring to the drums. Then she suggested the saxophone. I was pretty easy going, and I agreed. Yes, that is the great story of how I first picked up the saxophone. I still tease my mother that I could be a billionaire rock star drummer right now, but she changed my destiny 😉
My experience with the saxophone was completely different than it was with the piano. I practiced everyday (a huge key to my early success) and finished the method book they gave me within the first month. Then they took me out of the beginner (5th grade) band and placed me in the 6th grade band. Yes, the saxophone was a good fit and I took off at the beginning.
If you could go back to your youth and fix a few things, what would you choose? I’ll share a few of my regrets with you.
- I would have practiced more often, and searched out a teacher who could help me improvise
- I would have joined the high school golf team. The first time I played golf I was 19 years old, and I loved it!
Because of my 1st regret, I slowly progressed through middle school and high school. Then, I decided to become a music major at Brigham Young University. To help you understand that I didn’t exactly start off on the right foot, I only need to share my audition experience with you. I stepped onto campus and…
Next week I’ll share how I went from being one of the least skilled players at Brigham Young University, to earning a D.M.A. in saxophone performance. I’ll also share how my “low ranking” at the beginning of my higher education is a huge benefit and advantage to your playing!
What do you think? Do you like this type of post, or would you prefer “how to” posts every week? I love your feedback. This way, I can create content that you want. Feel free to use the comment section so we can all jump in on the conversation.
Have a great time playing!