It all began about 10 years ago…
Long long ago, when I was around 8 years old, I was introduced to music by my primary school headteacher and I am forever grateful. However, I did not think that at the time.
Anyone else remember those embarrassing assembly’s, singing songs from a pull down white board and thinking we were going to become pop stars? This is what most mornings consisted of for me. I even got roped into the school choir. (I don’t know how as I’m tone deaf). We were encouraged to sing, and even had class lessons. One year we were all playing the violin, the next, a cornet.
For me, I stuck with the recorder. It was easy(ish) for 8 year old me to play and I was also doing it with one of my best friends.
Every week, for around half an hour, we were pulled out of class for our recorder lesson and it was the best feeling ever. While everyone else was stuck learning about maths, we got to make music.
I began to want more from the recorder and progressed to the clarinet. This is a big step up from the recorder and I struggled at first, but then it became quite interesting. The Sonata Student Bb Clarinet is a great design to get you started on your musical journey.
Naturally, the next step was to join the primary school band and so I did. We played for assembly’s, school shows and even mini concerts.
I felt like royalty.
Not long after beginning the clarinet, I also started playing the piano. This definitely helped me musically and challenged by abilities. If you fancied giving this a go yourself, the Axus D2 is an popular starter piano which includes features such as recording and built in metronome. If your budget doesn’t stretch this far, i’d recommend the Casio CDP-130. Unlike the clarinet, you often play two separate lines at the same time and although it seemed impossible at the time, I eventually mastered it. (I’m sure this is supposed to develop some part of your brain and makes its easier to multi-task!!)
However, some things were easier on the piano. For example, scales were a lot easier. They are much more visual and for me, I could remember the patterns which helped me immensely. Even now I struggle with scales on woodwind because I cant actually see what I’m playing.
In the last year of primary school, even though I was already playing the clarinet and piano, it wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to play the saxophone. It was so much ‘cooler’ than the clarinet and that must’ve been what motivated me. You should always play something you want to play!!
Again, I worked my way up the grades and this has now become my main instrument. For a beginner, I would recommend the Alto Saxophone by Sonata due to its reputation within the education sector, with a durable design and manufactured by a brand specifically with beginners in mind. This sax has everything you could need; cork grease, reed, pad saver, neck strap and much more.
Joining a band
Whilst I was in the waiting room for a piano exam, me being nosey as I am, I found a leaflet for a music summer school during the school holiday.
As parents do, they pushed me to go. I was so nervous. It was a week long course with people I’d never met before (but that’s the great thing about the music world; meeting new and amazing people!!). However, I had the best time, so much so that I joined the band and started going to weekly rehearsals. It was a new world to me. Before, I had only ever played with roughly 5 five other people. I was now playing with a band at least 3 times the size.
This helped my musicality so much. I learned to sight read better, work together as a group, and listen to other people while playing. I also expanded on my genres of music. Unlike in school music lessons, I was playing a bit of jazz, rock, and even ballads. I worked my way up through the ‘ranks’ (there were multiple bands, all with different abilities) until I got to the top band that everyone aimed to be in.
Where am I now?
It still shocks me, but I have now been playing with this band for 10 years now; over half my life. I have travelled the world with music, playing in places such as New York, New Orleans, Paris, Venice. I have also met some of the most incredible musicians on the way. Some closer to home than you would think.