Category Archives: Saxophone

Jazzin’ it up

As regular readers will know, I’m a grade 6 saxophonist. I don’t claim to be any good, but there’s nothing I like better than chilling out playing the alto sax (usually to an audience of one: me).

I recently started with a new music teacher when my previous one had to give up unexpectedly. I was rather disappointed as I’d got on really well with that teacher and with her expert guidance had passed my Grade 6 in July 2013. It was with some apprehension, therefore, that I had my first lesson with my new teacher in November.

I’ve only had 3 lessons so far with him, but have to say I’m really enjoying it. We’re tackling some different things to the work I did with all my previous teachers and this includes a move into jazz improvisation. This is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I first picked up a sax in 2008. It’s quite daunting and I have a great deal to learn but I know it’s going to be great fun and I’m loving it already!

In other sax news, I’ve been asked to play again this Christmas for the family. It’s very short notice as I was only asked yesterday so with just 2 days to dust off the Christmas sheet music I’ll have some serious practising to do before Christmas Day. Yikes!

Saxophone Grade 6

I started playing the Alto Saxophone in early 2008 at the age of 38. Quite late in life to start a musical instrument from scratch!

I was inspired to take up the instrument when I heard an interview on BBC Radio Five Live in the Autumn of 2007. It was about “Take It Away“, an incentive scheme that offers interest free loans to parents wishing to purchase instruments for their children. It’s a great way to get kids interested in music without having to splash out what can be a large amount of money for the required tools.

Listening to the broadcast driving to work that Autumn morning I was reminded of my interest in the saxophone and how I’d never quite got around to learning it. I just never seemed to have the time to do it. With 40 rapidly approaching on the horizon this was something of a disappointment. “Perhaps I’ve left it too late” I thought to myself.

I decided to do some internet research and discovered a local teacher with whom I tentatively arrange a lesson for early in January 2008. I was allowed to hire an instrument from her to see how I got on with it and had a number of lessons to teach me the basics.

I fell in love with the sax straight away. I knew right from the beginning that this was something that I should’ve done years earlier. I progressed quickly and took my first sax exam – Trinity Guildhall Grade 5 – in June 2009. I was delighted (and somewhat bemused) to pass with a Merit!

Fast forward to today and in the intervening years (despite changing tutor and taking several months off from playing because of a bout of sciatica) I have continued my love affair with the Alto Saxophone. In December 2012 I purchased a Yamaha YAS-62 – a step up from the John Packer 141 Blues student sax I’d learned the basics on. It was with my new musical instrument that on Saturday 29 June 2013 I attempted Trinity Guildhall Grade 6. Once again, I passed achieving a Merit. Something of a miracle and due in no small part to my wonderful music teacher Lesley.

I would urge anyone of whatever age to give music a go! If you’ve always wanted to play an instrument but thought, as I did, that you’d left it too late then think again… It’s never too late!