I first started music in 8th grade. I was coming back to Japan after having lived in Qatar after 10 years, and I order to reconnect with my roots, I chose to be in the Japanese music class. I had no understandings of any musical theory whatsoever. I liked the songs too, but practicing the koto was a chore for me.
In 9th grade I moved to Dubai and I was determined to take Drama class instead of music or art. Alas, the drama class was full and I was forced by the school to take music. Because of serendipity, I encountered the instrument that soon would be one of my passions: the saxophone.
I became immersed in my practice. In tenth grade I would spend 1 to 2 hours (at times up to 4) everyday after school practicing scales, long tones, songs… Nowadays I have much less time to do that, which has forced me to make my practice more effective.
Practicing is not only time spent to get better at the instrument but also, (maybe more importantly) it is a meditation that lets the mind to be fully present, without anxiety about the future or depression about the past. Just you and your sound.
In order to make my practice sessions effective, as well as meditative, I have a cycle. Each day I focus on a specific aspect; scales, tones, fingering, embouchure, a specific song, rhythm… I try to model sax giants like Stan Getz, or other artists like Braxton Cook to learn something from them, being their sound or their phrasing. This reductive approaches makes me focus on a specific concept, or feeling. It does not permit other thoughts.
Playing is self expression.
Different from practice in nature, it is where the music becomes fun and authentic. It is where many of my compositional ideas come from. As I use my acquired skills to move freely between ideas to ideas, I record myself so that I can transcribe it later and turn it into a presentable composition to my teacher.
Music is now a part of my identity taking part in orchestral music like the Symphonic Band, the Jazz Combo and taking Music HL for the IB, and I intend to continue practicing and playing in university although I am not planning to major in music.