This is the story of how I finally let go of my saxophone.
When I was in Grade 6, I was excited to finally be able to study Music. I thought it would be way more fun than my other subjects, and it was! The instrument I was obsessed with was the Saxophone – it just looked so damn cool. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to play the Sax until Grade 7, because apparently sixth graders are too small to hold a Sax but seventh graders are not. So, I had to choose another instrument to play. Coincidentally, there was a girl I liked in school and I remember telling her that I liked her but she said I wasn’t tall enough… Anyway, let’s get back on track.
In Semester 1 of Grade 6, I would have to play a string instrument (I chose violin) and in the second semester, I’d have to switch to a brass instrument (I choose trumpet). Each instrument category was taught by a different teacher. I found the violin extremely frustrating to play. The strings confused the hell out of me – I wanted to pull them out and hang myself – and I would’ve but thankfully the semester ended, and I switched to a brass instrument. The trumpet was way better, it was difficult to play and I wasn’t any good but it made me happy. But I felt like I was emotionally cheating on the trumpet because I couldn’t stop thinking of my future Sax.
Finally Grade 6 ended and Grade 7 began. I still remember the first time I held my Sax… it pretty much gave me an orgasm. But when I started playing it, I really sucked at it. I thought I would be a natural because I had been fantasizing over the Saxophone for the entirety of Grade 6. I was under the illusion that being passionate about something would automatically translate into talent. Pretty stupid of me. I briefly considered switching instruments but there was a cute girl who sat next to me in music class and she also played the Sax, so if I switched instruments, I wouldn’t get to sit next to her anymore. Plus, I knew switching wasn’t the answer. If I switched to any other instrument, I would just suck at that too. Instead I stuck with it and became good enough to join the Jazz Band, which I enjoyed until I finished high school.
But after high school, which was almost 11 years ago, I’ve hardly touched the Sax. The first time I played it after high school was after a break of 6-7 years. And for the past decade I’ve always felt guilty about ignoring my musical side. Every few years I’d rent the saxophone for few months and then I’d give it back because I never really had any time to play. I even bought a saxophone a year and a half ago because I thought if I owned one, it would inspire me to play regularly. I even signed up for private Sax classes and I remember my tutor telling me I should practice for at least half an hour every day. But I never made any time for it.
I never had time for music or pretty much anything else because for most of my life, I have focused on one thing and one thing only: Storytelling. Writing Fiction. Creative Writing. Alright that sounds like more than one thing but I think they are essentially the same, if not similar. But in the back of my head I always thought, just because I am “majoring” in storytelling doesn’t mean I can’t “minor” in music. But I’m so obsessed with my major that if I do anything else aside from that, I feel like I’ve wasted my time. And music requires a massive commitment. Sure I made the jazz band in high school, but it wasn’t that hard. It was a school band after all – and the selection process wasn’t very competitive. But I’m still proud I qualified, it showed that I improved at something after sticking with it.
The Sax I bought almost two years ago is still in India. I purchased it in Bombay and I think I’ll keep that one. But when I returned to Toronto a month ago, I rented a saxophone here! Because I thought I’d make time for it. I even went over to a friend’s place to jam with him, he plays the guitar. When we were jamming, I could hardly keep up with him. He had asked me beforehand, “Are you good?” And I when I told him I was in the jazz band, he seemed impressed. But when we were jamming, I was simply wasn’t on the same level as him because he’s actually passionate about music. He was giving me advice on how to play better and I felt a little embarrassed because I felt like I’d led him to believe I was better than I actually was.
My friend practices regularly, he listens to music all the time, whereas I mainly listen to music on the radio when I’m driving. I only care about music when I’m bored in traffic or when I need to keep awake while driving at night. And during that jam session with him, I realized I am not passionate about music, I am only passionate about writing.
I’m a writer. I’ll never be a musician. Accepting this truth has been cathartic. This truth has freed me from the guilt of mostly ignoring my Saxophone for the past 10 years. This truth has given me a great amount of closure. If you’re struggling to move on from something, or someone, perhaps my story can help you find your closure. It’s important to note that I found my truth quite unexpectedly, it almost feels like an accident. If it hadn’t been for that jam session with my friend, maybe I would still be trying to make time for something I am not interested in.
If I had jammed with a friend years ago, maybe I would’ve discovered this truth earlier. But the fact that I made time for a jam session more than 10 years after high school really shows that I never really loved music as much as I thought I did. I suppose the moral of the story is that if you want to move on from something or someone, go out and do things. Acquire experiences. Go on adventures. Meet new people. It’ll help you learn a lot about yourself. It’ll help you discover truths about yourself.