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10 Things Only Saxophone Players Would Understand

10 Things Only Saxophone Players Would Understand

This article is dedicated to my fellow musicians who play saxophone, and more specifically to those who view it as their life. The reasons why we started playing saxophone are endless, ranging from because we loved the sound that it created, to just because we admired how shiny it was. Whether you started playing saxophone 50 years ago or yesterday, you are a part of this exclusive group.

Here are ten common things that saxophone players can relate to:

1. You Have Attempted To Play ‘Careless Whisper’

This song is most commonly recognized more by its tune than its title. Every single one of us has either tried to play it or has listened to the song and thought to ourselves that that is what we sound like when we play. We are used to people asking us to play it for them. We are also used to people asking us if we have watched the Sexy Sax Man play ‘Careless Whisper’ as a prank on YouTube. The answer is: yes, and I never want to watch that video again.

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2. You Have a Hard Time Standing Still While Playing

When I play saxophone for performances, I never sit. Standing is more professional-looking, but it also gives me the freedom to really get into my music. Saxophone players never stand still while playing. We move from side to side, and sometimes bend forward if it’s a really high note or we want to emphasize a note. We are entranced by the music we play, and our passion for those moments shine through when we perform.

3. You Have Nightmares About Playing Six Flats

Saxophone players don’t play flats very often. I mean, we mostly never play flats unless we are playing in F major or B flat major keys. We are most comfortable playing sharps. Since we don’t have much experience playing in those wasteland keys, when we look at a key signature and spot more than two flats, we get a most uneasy feeling in our gut. But since we usually don’t play flats, most commonly that scenario only occurs during a nightmare.

4. You Need Space

When I played the baritone sax, I had a story to tell for every dent I had punctured in that thing. Although I tell the stories in a humorous light, every time I have bumped my saxophone on something I have died a little inside. For those of you who play the smaller saxophones (soprano and alto), you understand that when I say you need space, I mean that you need space so that nothing ever touches a key on your precious saxophone. But for those of you who play the beast saxophones (tenor and specifically baritone) you understand that as meaning, “If I don’t have space, I can’t move.” Fellow band members who don’t take you seriously when you say this, will probably take you seriously after you have died a little inside.

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5. You Have a Large Lung Capacity

Depending on how high of a number your reed is, the air that you blow into your saxophone varies. Even if you are still on a Rico two and a half, you are still going to have to give it a generous amount of your carbon dioxide. To make it through a song, musicians learn how to breathe from their diaphragm. Although that helps, the song ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ is going to be the death of me (the saxophone holds tied whole notes for the majority of the song)!

6. Your Cork Grease Gets Mistaken for Chap Stick

Does this scenario sound familiar? You say, “Mom, I need chap stick.” Mom says, “I just saw some in your room.” You reply saying, “Uh, that’s cork grease.” Or how about when you reach your hand back behind you for your chap stick during band practice, and accidentally grab the cork grease and carelessly rub it all over your lips. It’s OK; they look a lot alike.

7. Your Reed Defines Your Day

Having a reed crack ruins your day. Reeds are expensive, plus it takes time to break another one in. The taste of a new reed is not appealing either. To be honest, reeds are the main reason I have trust issues. When a reed squeaks, that means it basically just gave me permission to hate it. Also, saying, “No, I don’t have any reeds left,” to a reed-less saxophone player is the biggest lie ever.

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8. Your Relationship Status With Your Neck Strap Is Complicated

Your neck strap doesn’t always have your back. We all have been punched in the chin while adjusting our neck strap. Plus your next strap really does leave a mark on you. After playing, we all feel self-conscious about how red our neck looks- not to mention that neck strap tan line from marching band practice. But at the end of the day, your neck strap sometimes manages to stay with you. Like when you put your saxophone away and realize that you never took the neck strap off. If you don’t admit to doing that, you are lying.

9. You Are Louder Than Everyone Else

Your band director is always reminding you to play quieter so everyone can hear the clarinets. That doesn’t make any sense to us, because we always claim that we have the melody. Since high numbered reeds take more air, it is really difficult to balance your air input and volume. Maybe the reason why saxophones cannot participate in orchestras is because playing soft is not our forte.

10. Your Own Spit Drips on You

Walking out of the bathroom with toilet paper attached to your shoe may actually not be as embarrassing as walking around school with a wet spot on your pants. Although usually the spit drains out of the bell of the saxophone (spit valve for baritone sax), unfortunately it sometimes manages to leak through the lower key buttons. This phenomenon happens unexpectedly, and cannot be prevented.

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Featured photo credit: Flickr (Creative Commons) zoetnet via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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