Help Me Name My Saxophone
Many of you may know that I play saxophone, and I grew up playing on it. I’ve been playing it since 6th grade and all through high school, I even went to the University of Kentucky and studied it. Now I play saxophone and sing professionally.
But aside from the saxophone playing, I would like to tell you about the actual saxophone that I play, because it’s been with me for a long time.
I have owned my “Selmer Paris Super Action 80 Series 2” alto saxophone for about 17 years. It’s my first sax. My Grandpa gave it to me when I was a young aspiring saxophonist, and it was probably the best gift I’ve ever received. It has been literally by my side through thousands of hours of playing music, and has traveled with me for years as I’ve played all over the world. But I didn’t quite think about the sentimental value held within the fragility of my saxophone until it fell and hit the ground in the greenroom at the House of Blues in Las Vegas a couple of days ago.
If you’ve ever owned a musical instrument, you know that instruments fall. But imagine my feeling when my saxophone hit the ground, knowing that this was the first time in 17 years that it has fallen. Never once in 17 years had it lost my firm grasp! Never once had it not been carefully cradled either in my hands or on its proper stand. Yet, it finally happened. The sound was like the breaking of my heart.
But, while I was examining the wreckage, looking for the mighty dent that was sure to follow, I saw that somehow there was no dent, barely a scratch in fact. This was not what I expected! I’ve seen saxophones fall, and it’s extremely bad. But to my surprise, the only part that was broken was the lonely plastic thumb rest, which had taken 50% of the blow and snapped clean off. The other 50% was on a rare part that can be pushed back into place relatively easily.
My repair guy said, “You got lucky, *%$#*!”
He was right. I was lucky. The saxophone gods were smiling down upon me, and after my repair this afternoon, it plays better than ever! So in the end, it’s pretty much no worse for wear, but it made me take a closer look at my shiny brass friend. It made me realize how much the relationship between a musician and his instrument matters. It made me remember how long I’ve been carrying that thing around at my side, and it made me cherish it all the more. It also made me think about how much my saxophone means to me, and that what it represents far exceeds the notes that it plays.
My saxophone represents my musical journey. It has been there when not only was I a different musician back then, but a different person. It has been in the room when I’ve had the worst of times and the best of times. I have given my blood, sweat and tears with this instrument tethered to me. It has seen me grow, and it will continue to see me grow. Not just any saxophone can claim this position, but THIS saxophone does. It has been my weapon when playing All-State contests in high school, in practice rooms and bars of Kentucky, the battle of the bands for America, and now tours with the A-Town A-List. She’s almost like family, like my best girl, like my close buddy or a dear friend. And while she carries such a beautiful representation in my life, of where I’ve been and where I’m going, I don’t really have a name for her, and yes, I think she IS a girl.
And so I have a couple of ideas, considerations for possible names, but it’s time, and I really want to call her something. She is something noble, something loyal, something strong, and something sweet. In the end I will want to decide the name, but I would be willing to hear your thoughts on some good names. Something that feels right, something that can be her name, forever.
Let me know what you think!