From a very young age I knew I wanted to play the alto saxophone and be in the marching band. However, when it came time to choose our instruments in 6th grade, I was told my fingers were too small and that I would have to play the clarinet and would likely never be able to play the saxophone. Bummer!
I did not let that stop me though. I played the clarinet for one year and did not enjoy it. The summer after 6th grade my parents and I decided that we weren’t going to let someone else’s opinion ruin my dream. So, we bought my very first saxophone. I was so EXCITED!!!!! (The image below is not of my original saxophone)
Due to the fact that I had missed learning how to play in 6th grade with my classmates, I was on my own to teach myself. Thankfully, my clarinet instructor was able to recommend a private lesson teacher to help me along the way. Little did I know just how good that instructor was and how he would change my life.
I wasn’t very good at the saxophone when I first started, but I really wanted to learn so I kept practicing. Unfortunately, my private lesson instructor was too busy and had to stop teaching all his middle school students. I was so upset but I continued playing on my own anyway. I still wasn’t very good and was placed at one of the last chairs in 7th and 8th grade concert band.
Now I was in high school and could finally be in the marching band. I could not contain my excitement!…..until I was made fun of by several other band members because I wasn’t any good. My 6th grade band director was right, I would never be able to successfully play the saxophone. My dreams were crushed. Thankfully, I had one fellow saxophone player who was kind to me even though no one else was, and he was the reason I decided to try again my sophomore year.
It was at this point we found out that my previous private lesson teacher was excepting new students again. I called right away and was able to schedule lessons with him. Chad Eby was arguably one of the best saxophone players in central Ohio and played in the Columbus Jazz Orchestra (and still does). A few short years later he was offered a job as the jazz instructor at the University of North Carolina. He also has his own group called, The Chad Eby Quintet and has several CD’s available for purchase. He not only taught me how to play the saxophone, but also taught me life lessons and helped shape who I am today. He gave me the confidence I needed and soon I was second chair in the symphonic band and Jazz band, had multiple solos, and was a saxophone section leader in marching band. He helped my dream come true and for that I am forever grateful.
Junior year when marching season ended and stage season began, my dad took me to the music store to pick out a brand new professional saxophone because I had worked so hard and made symphonic band. I had always wanted a silver saxophone and we found the perfect one. I got a black and silver Cannonball Big Bell Stone Series with marble keys and it was GORGEOUS!!!! (All of the images in this post are of this saxophone and were taken last week)
Senior year I finally got up the nerve to go to Solo & Ensemble and picked a super fun, but very difficult piece to play. I practiced several hours a day and received a 1 rating (the highest mark you can get). I couldn’t believe it!
Today I don’t play nearly as often as I wish I did and hope to someday soon play more often. Just last week I busted out my saxophone for the first time in awhile and even though it hurt, it felt so good to play again.