This is me:
This is my saxophone:
This is me and my saxophone making sweet, sweet music together:
Well, sweet music.
More or less.
All right, so I blow into it and sounds that are more or less like notes come out of it. No, you can’t hear me play. Not yet.
My rhythm and timing stink, but are improving. You can hear me breathe, but that’s improving. I’ve more or less got the fingering down for the primary octave, and that’s improving, too. I’ve figured out just enough that I know how little I know.
Yes, I’m teaching myself. I have a couple of books and You Tube is handier than you might think, if you’re willing to dig a little for the right material.
I played saxophone as a kid. As in grade school. As in two thirds of a lifetime ago. Alto first, then tenor when my hands got a little bigger. The saxophone my utterly amazing wife got me for my birthday is a tenor, which is what I wanted. I’d been thinking about it for a long, long time. Probably since not long after we got married. I wished I hadn’t given it up when I went to high school, and every couple of years my fingers would get itchy enough to start pricing instruments, which would make the itch go away. Saxophones, generally, aren’t cheap.
But the world changes, and prices do come down eventually, and if you want to play but aren’t interested in a two thousand dollar instrument just to try out, you can find something much more reasonably. It’s a beginner’s instrument, but that’s okay because I’m certainly a beginner and will be for a really long time.
What really surprised me is that when I first picked it up, I could still remember the fingering for Mary Had a Little Lamb, the opening theme from M.A.S.H., and the snake charming song. I can do them without the squeaks and squawks now, too.
Now I’m learning to read music, which I never bothered with as a kid because I could just play the notes, right? And I’m learning what tempo and timing really mean, which is good too. I’d probably make faster progress, but I’m only willing to practice when the house is empty of other people. That will probably change sooner or later, but for now, I’d rather make noise by myself.
My ultimate (initial) goal is to be able to play Maneater by Hall & Oates. And now you’ve got the song stuck in your head. It’s okay, so do I. That’s going to take a while, and that’s okay. For now, there’s joy in learning to play. Joy in actual playing comes in tiny, growing bursts.
I’m forty-one and it’s never too late to learn something new or pick up something old. Anyone else?