“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
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.
I 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.