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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday Random 5: Why I love the Saxophone

So, last week's post was all about the music I love.  It was a really difficult task for me to narrow it down and I didn't even get to mention any of the instrumental music I love.  One of the things I looked forward to as a child was 5th grade.  5th grade was the year that band started in our school.  Actually, we technically walked to another school for band, because I went to a small town Catholic grade school and our band played with the public grade school's band.  My oldest brother played the baritone, the 2nd oldest played the trumpet, and my older sister played the clarinet.  I had my instrument chosen well before I was asked what I wanted.  The saxophone, specifically the alto saxophone was the instrument that I chose.

I loved playing the saxophone and I played it through my freshman year in college.  There are days that I really wish I could play it again, but it's been nearly 20 years since I last picked one up.  I would love to eventually resurrect that hobby, because I loved it.

What made me choose the saxophone?  Oddly enough, it was due to public television.  Yup, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and Sesame Street led me to play the coolest instrument in the world.  The Muppet Show also did to a lesser extent.  Below are the 3 videos that made me fall in love with the sax.

1.  Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, "How a Saxophone is made"

Mr. Rogers frequently showed a segment on how things are made.  Several of them stick out in my head, one being the segment on making crayons (they made orange crayons) and the one on making saxophones.  I was fascinated with the shiny keys and gentle curves of the sax, plus the noises it made, enthralled me.

2.  "Put down the Duckie" from Sesame Street

Those of you as old as I am will hopefully remember the cool owl from Sesame Street.  He wasn't on a lot, but when he was, I paid attention.  He played the sax.  Ernie wanted to learn, but couldn't figure out why it was making a funny squeaking sound.  Thankfully, not the same unnerving squeaking that occurs when your reed isn't moist enough or you don't tongue correctly.  (Ugh.  Just writing that made me start licking my lips.  Please don't ever lick a popsicle stick after the popsicle is gone around me.  Just don't.  *shivers*)

3.  Opening credits to The Muppet Show with Zoot

I love Zoot.  In fact, I love all of the Electric Mayhem.  Zoot is my favorite.  I couldn't find the opening credits that showed him at the end giving a final blast on his sax, but I did find this.  You should also look up the video for "Sax and Violence" from The Muppet Show.  So great!

Those three shows influenced me to choose the sax, but playing the sax is a whole 'nother level of falling in love.  I'll never forget junior high, when the sax player next to me, a friend and classmate, taught me how to play the theme from the Pink Panther, the ultimate sax tune when you are a kid.  We would play it A LOT while on breaks between practice.  Everyone that hears this song knows it, or at least recognizes it as a familiar song.

4.  Pink Panther theme

I also LOVED playing in pep band.  I played in pep band for my freshman year in college as well.  It was always so much fun to play the Star Spangled Banner, our fight song(s), and classics such as Johnny B. Goode and Eye of the Tiger.  The one song I didn't like playing as the saxophone?  Pomp and Circumstance.  Ugh.  So. very. booooooooooring.  I'll leave you with a video of some of the best saxophone solos and sax players in contemporary music.  This my friends is why I love the saxophone.


P.S.--Band is seriously SO GREAT for your kiddos.  Not only is it lots of fun, but learning an instrument or learning to read music and just being musical in general is proven to help kids be successful academically.  Band geeks are awesome and you can be a band geek and still play sports.  Trust me, I knew plenty of people that did both, including myself!  There are usually ways to pay a small rental fee for instruments through schools so that you don't have to invest a huge amount right away and I know several music shops around here that will allow you to basically 'rent-to-own' an instrument, but will allow you to return the instrument if your child doesn't love it.

1 comment:

Mlada said...

I can't believe I didn't know this about you! I loved the Muppets clips. What a great history of developing love for an instrument.