Why Music, Why a Musician? One Man’s Story.

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” ~ Plato

DSC04150-1At one time, I thought I would, no should become a musician. Performing music was a magical experience for me, a two hour practice session seemed like five minutes. I couldn’t get enough of it.

Surrounded by talented people, people I respected, it was all about finding that sweet spot where all the hard work and effort came to fruition as a defining moment in my musical career. You lived for those brief moments when everything jelled and the audience knew it.

When I was in my junior year of high school, my Dad pulled me to the side and we had this career conversation that went something like this:

Dad: Do you think you would be as passionate about music if I had to do it everyday?

I had to think about that.

Dad pointed across the street and said: “You know John over there, he hates his job.”

I’m thinking, what the Hell?

Dad: “But they pay him so much money to do something called computers (this was in the 70’s) that he works for them 6 months a year. The rest of the time he spends on his hobby.”

So I decided not to major in music, but it remains a very big part of my life today. The same skills and work ethic that got me into music performance helped me succeed in other jobs: teamwork, listening, practice, and preparation.

SaxOneI traded my old sax in for a new one for my son in the 80s. In 2000, after a 27+ hiatus from music, I bought my dream sax, a Couf Superba I. I started working with a neighbor who was a professional saxophonist. But before the year was over he died; he died from basically drinking too much (liver failed). I asked his wife if I could play him off the stage and she said that would be wonderful.

So I memorized “Amazing Grace” and played it sans accompaniment at the funeral. I played it with some overtones, some vibrato, some emotion. I had gotten the music from an old hymnal and adjusted it to fit my instrument. To this day, some 16 years later, I still have that song memorized. Some of my friends were there and said they didn’t even know I was a musician. Playing for this teacher’s funeral made me realize that I really wanted to play music the rest of my life, as long as I was able to.

About Gandalfe

Just an itinerant saxophonist trying to find life between the changes. I have retired from the Corps of Engineers and Microsoft. I am an admin on the Woodwind Forum, run the Seattle Solid GOLD Big Band (formerly the Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra), and enjoy time with family and friends.
This entry was posted in Guides, Music, My World, Saxophone and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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