I signed up to take a creative writing class. I'm super excited about it! I think it's exactly what I need to get my creative juices flowing, and to help me get focused. Before the class begins there are optional prompts sent out each day to help us prepare and get warmed up. I'm very grateful for that especially since I haven't done a whole lot of writing for a while. The title says what this one's about. Here goes:
I had to think about this for a couple hours. What is my one thing? Being a mom? Being there for Jon? Relationship manager? Artist? Traveler? Writer? Lover (and I mean that in so many more ways than just sexually)? Adventurer? I am all those things and more, but the thing that kept coming back to me was something I started when I was 15 years old. Nearly 14 years ago. Playing the Saxophone. This is my story of the journey I have taken with saxophones. I'm the star and Bari is the co-star.
As a young child I had always longer to play a bright, shiny instrument. I really wanted to learn the trumpet for a long time, but then when I watched the video of 'Riverdance' and listened the guy play the sax while 2 guys tap danced I knew that I had to learn the saxophone. It was calling me. My parents helped me out and were able to afford a cheap soprano sax. I then joined a middle-school band that welcomed homeschoolers. My dear friend Mirenda who was just learning the clarinet joined as well. She's the only reason I had the guts to set aside my pride and sit with kids younger than me and learn to play. Best. Choice. Ever. I picked it up pretty quickly, thanks to a wonderful band director, and after playing there for a year the director invited me (and Mirenda as well) to come play with the college band that he also directed. I was beyond thrilled! Playing in that college band was such a wonderful experience for me. I learned so much from the director and from those around me. I sat in the trumpet section and played the 1st and sometimes 2nd trumpet part along with one of the trumpets. The soprano sax is in Bb, same as trumpets, and doesn't usually have it's own music for a wind ensemble. It's more of a solo instrument because it is really difficult keep it in tune and not go off pitch. That worked out for 1 semester, then the director told me I needed to play the school's baritone sax, as the wind ensemble really needed a bari, and the soprano sax wasn't really helping out. I was not a happy camper at first. I took the bari home and set it up. It was huge! I set it on the floor and it came up as high as my waist. I sat down and picked it up. Carefully put my mouth on the mouthpiece and blew. Squeeaaaakkk! Ack! That sounded awful! I tried again. Squeeaaaak! I hated it. It was heavy, hurt my neck because of the neckstrap it dangled on, and I was terrible at playing it! I didn't give up though. brought it to band rehearsal and told my director that all I could do was make it squeak. He told me to relax my embachure and try it again. I did, and out came a low growl. Well that was better than a squeak! I finally managed to figure out how to get a lovely deep sound out of the thing, and from then on it was true love. Bari and me. We were going to conquer the world! I joined the jazz band (another dream come true) and played my heart out! I practiced 5-8 hours a week, and slowly got better and better. I lacked a lot of self-confidence, which definitely held me back when it came to improvising in jazz band. I wish the me now could have the opportunity that the me then did. I'm not lacking as much in the self-confidence department. Kinda helps when you're not a teenager anymore, who's trying to find her place in the world.
Somewhere along the way I fell in love with someone who was not made of metal, and I married him. He supported my bari obsession, but soon I got pregnant and one night after playing in a jazz concert I came home to discover that I was bleeding. Was I loosing my baby??? No!!! This can't happen! I set Bari aside then and there. I don't know if that was the cause. There are so many reasons you can bleed in early pregnancy, but I wasn't taking any chances. The pregnancy went full-term and I was blessed with a chubby red-headed baby girl. All my time was now spent learning how to be a mom. My daughter was my teacher. I listened to her and she told me her needs in her own little way. I sometimes thought of Bari, and missed him. He wasn't mine though. Someone else played him since he belonged to the school. I did actually get to go back when Lacey was a little over a year, I think. My little brother would come over and watch her while I walked down the road to play in the wind ensemble again. It was nice, but it wasn't the same. I didn't stay long. I didn't feel like I belonged anymore. It was probably about 5 years later when I finally got the opportunity to get my own Bari. I was so excited!!! It worked out! We were able to pay for it in payments, so I took it home right away. Not long after that (we had moved during that time) I found a local community band to play with. I enjoyed that very much. Still wasn't quite the same as my college experience. The music was somewhat boring, but it was good practice for me to get back in the swing of things. Well, we moved again and I haven't played in a band since. We just keep moving around, and bari sits at home, untouched. I miss him. I miss that outlet. I get nervous if I try to sing a solo in front of people, but if I am playing bari and not singing, then I have all the confidence I need. He's like a shield and a channel all at the same time. When I play it's like "listen, world. This is me and Bari, and together we're beautiful and strong." Listen to the music. It can take you anywhere. Someday, somehow, I will be a part of a jazz band. And I will be bad ass when it comes to improvising. You'll see.