Saxophone lessons on life

It occurs to me occassionally, I should save my current manuscript-in-process on a jump drive. That thought flutters marginally prior to another fleeting butterfly, jump drive should be stored separate from laptop.

Loss of an expensive piece of equipment I could shrug off, in a teeth gnawing sort of way, but lose current manuscript? That would be cause for major eruption of emotion.

For the above reason, I sit in the cool, dimly lit interior of Ape Over Music while daughter receives her first saxophone lesson. Why saxophone? Good question. I have NO idea.

At age five I began piano lessons and continued through college. Somewhere in-between I took accordion lessons, and still love the blast of the bellows every few years or so, (whether anyone needs it or not). I tried to teach myself the recorder and the ukulele, and I’ll admit to picking up the guitar and the violin with intense longing, but no perseverance. My musical taste is quite eclectic. My talent is not.

Saxophone. Hm. Assembling fragments of ideas suggest my daughter was drawn to the saxophone because cute guys inhabit band. This idea scattered at the first concert. All the really cute guys are in the advanced class, including ‘The Magician,’ the blond boy everyone has a crush on, except my daughter.

I carefully download part one and part two of the current manuscript and store on the jump drive that’s been bouncing around my laptop bag. I consider wearing the jump as jewelry, then pause and listen for the sound of the sax.

My daughter took piano lessons for a year and a half. No break. I usually took summers off. She wanted to keep going. Unfortunately, she hit the wall of burn-out, plunked the cover down on the piano keys, and took a year and a half off. Her desire to receive instruction from a different teacher has not met with success. I can’t find one!

Enter saxophone lessons. At first meeting the teacher, Mr. Gregorio, spent five minutes talking to me about the student who had just left, five more minutes on my kid’s school and their over emphasis on jazz. I blew out a breath and eyed my watch. A third of the lesson gone, I jostled check book, coffee and pen in an effort to move this forward. Check in hand, he showed no signs of slowing the chit chat, so I interjected a formal introduction to my daughter, and extracted myself to laptop-land.

I tap my fingers around the keyboard, piddle-play with words, moving sentence parts, piecing, re-threading. Five minutes before the predicted end of the lesson, I hear the sound of the sax. Hmm. I think we have a talker here. I hope we also have an avid listener.

My mother dropped me off for umpteen-thousand lessons. Shelled out cash for good teachers, one bad-smelling, but well dressed old lady, and a few exceptional professors who drove me toward muddy goals. First stop for me was to look pretty playing the piano, just like mom. Next stop: to play better than my sister. Third: to play better than anyone I knew. That worked well until higher education. Some of my co-keyboardists make a living at performing, composing and recording. They were tough competitors. (The First Carol waves at Michael and Jim).

The guys behind the counter serenade my keyboard tepid clicks with a mix-tape from a friend’s band. It wafts over gently tugging and pulling out feathers of feelings and mixed images.

Music-and-men. In my twenties, I chased many musical crushes and thankfully never landed one. Artists should be admired not married. I spent a long summer on the road as a singer in a group. That grueling experience insured I would never be lured by a career in the music entertainment industry. Not everyone is nice climbing a career. It’s not the glamour we fantasize. You can get really sick of restaurant food when that’s the only choice you have.

The coffee is not kicking in, and Moonrat’s challenge to write your @$$ off is drowned in reminiscing instead of productive effort. Sigh.

The lesson continued past the allotted half hour, sneaking up on the hour. Quality sound intermixed with sophomoric pulses burst past the less than sound-proof teaching rooms. Teacher and student emerged. Triumphant. Smiles. New plan.

“Your daughter will progress quickly,” Mr. Gregorio, predicts, and I notice his right eye waters and appears cloudy. “I’ll help her skip a year and advance to the next level.”

Ahhh, I comprehend. Skip forward and sit next to those cute guys in advanced band. So, that was the push for saxophone lessons.

It’s not always easy to be a parent, but sometimes it’s kinda fun, like playing a grand detective game, and I think I may have figured this one out.

So what’s your gig: musician, misplacer of valuable assests, detective, or prying parent?


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One thought on “Saxophone lessons on life

  1. “Artists should be admired not married.” Where were you when I needed that advice?!!

    Well, Teresa is the 3rd generation of women sax players in our family. My mother and I played alto. It’s a 1963 Selmer Mark VI, which is an awesome horn, much better than anything I deserved. Based on this history, Teresa chose saxophone. My dad’s brother was also a sax player, so Teresa inherited his Selmer Mark VI tenor–best for jazz. Whenever we take our horns to Wally’s Music in Oregon City for repair, they alway exclaim over them–they’re both fairly rare instruments and thought to be the best. I love that Teresa understands that quality is not always shiney and new.

    Nik specifically did not want to play sax, so chose trumpet. He’s played longer than I ever expected–3 years–but this is his last year. He has so many other art forms still to explore and wants to focus in MIA.

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