When I was younger, I didn’t listen to music that much unless it was playing on television or in a movie. I didn’t willingly pop in a tape or CD to listen. The only time I listened to music was when my parents had it playing on the radio in the car. Even then I didn’t pay much attention to it unless it had a catchy tune or beat. For the first ten or eleven years of my life, music wasn’t a big influence on me at all. It wasn’t until my sixth grade year when I first picked up a saxophone and learned how to play when music started to become a big deal in my life. This is when I learned how music can connect me to other people, and influence me in many ways.
During my sixth grade year, there was a convention at a local middle school for all students to come out and try to play an instrument and even sign up for a band class in school. I was so excited to go to the convention. I remember my mom telling me that I was so wound up with joy that when I first blew on an instrument I was going to blow the roof off the school. When my mom pulled up, I jumped out of the car and ran up to the school with excitement racing through my body. I opened up the door with my mom right behind me. My eyes opened wide and my ears expanded to listen. I heard all kinds of noises. The banging of drums that sounded like thousands of people stomping and a group of trumpet players playing a scale to show how high they could play that became piercing when they reached the top note. I even heard a group of flute players playing a magical chord that seemed to echo for ten minutes when they released the note. I was so amazed that I didn’t move forward until my mom nudged me a little bit.
After a couple minutes of standing around in amazement, a tall skinny man with a thick black mustache approached my mom and me. He wore a nice blue suit with a matching blue stripe tie. He mentioned that he was the band instructor at the middle school and was impressed with the turn out at the convention this year and was excited to start teaching these young players. Then he asked me the question that I had been dreading, he asked me, “What kind of instrument would you like to play young man?” I stared with a puzzled look on my face because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to play. I remember telling my dad before I went to the middle school that I was going to be the next best thing after Louis Armstrong. The only problem was that I had forgotten what instrument he played. I was so dumbfounded that the first thing I said was, “I want to play the trombone like the famous Louis Armstrong.”
The band instructor laughed a bit and said “Don’t you mean the trumpet?” I smiled back and we walked over. The instructor gave me a mouth piece for a trumpet and told me to buzz on it to get a sound to come out. It took me about fifteen minutes to make any sound and when I did, it wasn’t the best. My mom and the instructor winced and told me that I should maybe try another instrument. That could have brought me down, but I was thinking the same thing, and plus I was so excited that I didn’t care what instrument I played as long as I played. We walked over to the table they had for all the woodwind instruments. He told me to look around at all the instruments like the clarinet, flute, and bassoon, and pick one out that I wanted to try. As I walked and looked at all the instruments, I began to think to myself that all of these seemed girly, until I walked up to this beautiful, gold and bronze instrument that caught my eye.
I told my mom that I wanted to play this. The instructor told me that this was a saxophone and if played correctly it had a really powerful sound. He handed me the mouthpiece just as before with the trumpet. This time instead of buzzing he told me to breathe deep and blow out a strong sound. I took a deep breath and tried to blow out the most beautiful sound I could make. Well, I tried but it didn’t come out like I wanted it to, but it was a lot better than the trumpet. The instructor told me and my mom that playing the saxophone will probably work better because I made such a big sound. I was so excited to know that I not only played a saxophone, a big part of soul music, but I was going to be in a real band that performed for many people.
I was so excited to go to band class to start learning how to play my saxophone. The whole week before school I was jittery. All I kept thinking about was playing beautiful music for thousands of people all over the world. The first day of band class was finally here and I was so excited I couldn’t sit still. My instructor came to the front of the class and introduced himself. Then he told the class that we were going to learn how to play beginner music and a few scales just to start. The greatest news was yet to come. He surprised the class by telling us that our first real concert was going to be in two months. This was the biggest shock I heard that day. I wanted to practice and practice to be the musical stand out.
A couple of months later the big performance day was here. Even though it was our first concert together as a band, I still felt excited to show everybody what I could do. We didn’t sound like the New York Symphony, but we still sounded harmonious together. I was so nervous that I thought I was going to forget how to play the saxophone when we stepped on stage. The concert went on smoothly, I didn’t forget how to play, but I did experience for the first time actually touching people with music like never before. We stepped off stage and all I could hear was the applause of the crowd. Twenty minutes or so later my mom came up to me with a smile on her face from ear to ear. She was so proud of me that she couldn’t think of anything to say but WOW! I felt so good and alive that day that I never wanted to stop playing my saxophone. I played for six more years and never regretted anything about it.
Music is complicated to master. Just like the style of writing, there is so many ways to expand or change what is expressed. This is what brings out the best of music. It is a special art form to me. It is used for spiritual meaning or the just relaxation. I really have grown to appreciate all kinds of music, not only the music I play. I enjoy listening to music no matter what kind it is. As long as it shows what the artist was feeling or helps me connect with the music. It has shaped me in many ways to become the person I am today and the world I live in. This is why I believe that music has a bigger place in the world than anyone can ever see. After playing in many concerts throughout my career, I have connected with a great deal of people which has made me a much better person. This is why I believe that the more people who connect to music can make the world a much greater place to live in.
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