Day 34: Saxing it up!
Some people enjoy spending hours and hours practising the piano. They repeat scales until they can do them perfectly, and learn any number of tunes to add to their repertoire. Anyone can sit down in front of a keyboard and make a noise – the art is in getting the notes in the right places.
The saxophone is a bit different as an instrument. The actual act of producing a sound is relatively difficult. You need to get your embouchure correct, and expel the right amount of air – different levels of breath enable you to jump to another octave – and know which keys you need to press to make which note.
This feels to me to be a slightly different type of play. Rather than working to get really good, you’re working just to get started. It appeals to me in a different way (and I was once one of those who spent, well, not quite as long as I should have, practising the piano), and scratches a different itch.
It’s been a long while (a shame) since I’ve taken my saxophone, bought as a bargain in those early days of ebay when such a thing could be had, out of its case. Some things come back to me easily – how you hold the instrument (though I never felt completely without awkwardness: it’s a large object!); the positions of some of the notes; the tingle of the reed in your mouth, which is a slightly strange feeling.
But I’m not easily able to play a tune, and there is fun to had simply in rediscovering what the instrument can do. And producing a sound that is at times really quite pleasant.
I am reminded of enjoying getting to grips with the sax, and will certainly be getting it out of its case again soon!
Don’t play the saxophone. Let it play you. – Charlie Parker