Sax Appeal

Sax Appeal

I play the saxophone.

There. I’ve said it.

I’ve played it for years. In fact, at the risk of giving too much away, I’ve just entered my third decade of saxophonic delight.

Having tried a variety of musical instruments as a child, when I first picked up my saxophone I knew within minutes that this was a relationship that was going to last.

I find it very relaxing. I find it calming. I find it soothing. I find it enjoyable.

My saxophone makes me happy.Matt_Sax1

When I play I am transported away to another world. I can close my eyes and remove myself from my current existence. I can consciously open my saxophone case, pick it up, start to play and at that point nothing else matters.

If I am feeling unhappy, or stressed, or worried or concerned, music makes me happy. It calms my mind and soothes my soul. The stresses and unpleasant experiences of the day seem to wash away.

Zen and the Art of the Saxophone.

I am very promiscuous – musically speaking of course.

I will play anywhere, anytime, with anyone – even strangers who I don’t know, by myself or in a group of two or three or five or ten or fifty, and with musicians of any gender. I will play loud or soft, fast or slow, in any style or musical genre. I will confess to having played my saxophone with people I have not even bothered to talk to and converse with. I have played with people whose names I can’t remember and have not known to begin with anyway. And I love it.

To me, playing and listening to music is a form of meditation.Sax_Tile

Music allows my mind to become still. It allows me to turn off. It allows me to focus on the present moment, to think about nothing else but the instrument in my hands and the sounds happening around me.

I am fortunate in that sometimes I can feel an almost out of body experience, where I simply let myself be as one with my saxophone. It sounds a bit odd, I know.

Mr Miyagi was on to something when he was trying to teach his young Karate Kid about the mental aspect of his ancient art form. Sax on, Sax off.

Obi Wan Kenobi also had the whole vibe happening when he was telling Luke Skywalker to “use the Force”. Effectively he was suggesting to just feel it and it will happen.

Feeling the instrument in my hands, feeling the music around me and within me and hearing the sounds in my head all contribute to my enjoyment of playing music.

I am also fully aware that for other people, this concept is difficult to grasp.

Other Examples.

My wife gets the same temporary removal from reality when she reads a book, or she makes a quilt, or when she digs in the garden.

My daughter goes into her own little world when she sings….which can be both amusing and frustrating when we’re having dinner at the dinner table…

A friend of mine – Rick Plumridge (who is the other half of our River to the Sea calming music) relaxes by going out into the wilderness and taking amazing landscape photographs.

Another friend of mine builds bass guitars from scratch – not from a kit, but he buys appropriate pieces of wood and lovingly carves the body and the neck, stains and paints them, then adds the electrical and metal bits and pieces before finally adding strings and irritating his wife by “testing” the result too loudly.

My neighbour fixes up cars purely for pleasure and for the relaxation and calmness it brings to him. He buys an old shell of a Mustang (of Sally fame) imports it into Australia, then he lovingly restores it every weekend and some evenings over a period of six months or so. When he’s finished, he takes it for a drive along the Great Ocean Road – a spectacular coastal drive a few hours from Melbourne – comes home and sells it. And then he does it all over again.

The examples are endless. There are some lucky people, myself included, who are able to switch off from the world and remove themselves from the busy here and stressful now in various ways.

Hobbies, creative pursuits, exercise, outlets: all great examples of simple ways that we as humans can turn off from reality, even if only for a few minutes.

The constant barrage of time sucking expectations in our daily lives slowly takes its toll on our physical and mental health.

For a few lucky people, working in their jobs is pleasurable. One friend of mine plays the piano – she trains and accompanies professional opera singers, she performs with and conducts the orchestras and bands that provide music for the various stage shows and operas. She told me once that she feels guilty about being paid a very healthy full time wage for doing something that she would probably do for free, purely because she loves it so much.KeepCalmDrinkTea

For most of us, “going to work” is a necessary evil.

Even the pressure of providing for our families, looking after the very young or very old, can be taxing on the mind and the body.

Taking a break to rest, rejuvenate, recharge the batteries – even if only for a few minutes – is important to build in to our busy schedules.

My saxophone opens doors for me too. I meet new people, play music with them, they tell their musical friends about this sax bloke. Then when they need a saxophonist, sometimes they invite me to play with them. This is nice because the cycle continues – I get to play my saxophones, which I find relaxing, enjoyable and it turns off the unwanted noise in my head.

I play the saxophone.

I play loud music, soft music, energetic music, calming music.

It relaxes me. It calms me. It inspires me.

Playing my saxophones or my EWI or my keyboards reduces my stress – especially when I play calming music.

What reduces your stresses ? How do you calm down ?

Please let me know in the comments below and, as always, please share this by using the sharing buttons on the left of this page.

P.S.  Please follow us on Instagram – @calmingmusic

Thanks,

Matthew

Calming Music weekly

CalmingMusicWeekly.com

Photocredit – Sunchild57 Photography , Tony Fischer

 

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