Saturday, March 21, 2009

singing with an old friend

I picked up my saxophone for the first time in months today.

Wary of how awful I would sound, I dusted off the case and headed over to the music building to secured a practice room. I had forgotten how heavy a tenor is; no wonder I abandoned all fear of embarrassment and started simply practicing in my dorm room last year.

But the moment I opened the case, everything returned. My fingers felt light and dexterous; my mouth formed around the reed. It required no though; my muscle memory whipped through all 12 major scales, as if I had practiced them yesterday. I was shocked years of training those responses would remain so readily available. Minor scales proved only slightly more difficult, followed by dominate 5ths, 7ths, arpeggios, etc., musical jargon ad-nauseam.

Of course, I only remained impressed with myself as long as I stayed within the realm of the disgustingly easy. As soon as I attempted a song from my former level, my sharp decline showed itself. Also counted among the missing was my stamina. After 40 minutes, my mouth ached with discomfort and became like rubber.

But I remained happy with the aesthetic of the experience. The play-along track coming from my crappy computer speakers evoked an old gramophone, howling in concert with my sax the grit of the blues. It's true; I suck. But, as I ran through the changing scales of nostalgia, I didn't care. Playing for yourself, for simple self-gratification, holds a purer sort of reward. In this respect, that's enough for me.

No comments: