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) a GOLD sax quartet, 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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