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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
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5,306 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Why are we still trying so hard to get better? Clearly we're not going to be famous, our phenon status has long left us (if we ever had it to begin with), the old timers aren't going to hire us because they just won't, and the young kids aren't going to hire us because we're old. No more college auditions or any auditions for that matter. We're not going to put out a CD (who even has CD players anymore). We now know that the world simply doesn't care about jazz and most think the soprano saxophone is a clarinet anyways. In fact most audience members (if there is an audience) are more interested the patina of my saxophone then it's actual sound.

Yet many of us still climb out of bed each day and put in our time on the ole' saxophone. Just why do we torture ourselves so?
 

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Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2015-2016
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2,714 Posts
Ha!im in that club too . Turning 60 on Thursday and I’ve been retired. All I do is practice the sax and play gigs .playing with a wedding band .,a 50s band, got a regular jazz gig at a winery, playing with a trio and blues bands . Having the time of my life . I practice daily for hours . I release records and realize I’m not going to ever be famous or rich . Why do I do it? It’s fun!!no one can ever really master music so there is always something to learn.i also believe that music is something God wants me to do that’s what my gift and passion is . So I play and enjoy😀
 

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Alto sax, Tenor sax, Clarinet
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got a regular jazz gig at a winery😀
What a great wine pairing! I live in the area, and might want to drop by sometime and listen. If you don't want to post the location, you can pm it to me. Always interested in hearing younger players! :)
 

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Forum Contributor 2016-17
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1,146 Posts
At 66, I practice at least 6 days a week...I gig solo and with a trio, sometimes with big bands....I direct an independant youth jazz band....gotta keep up with the kids....and the main reason, I love practicing.... :)
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009
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5,611 Posts
The answer for me is simple. I left full time music many years ago and have always had the question what if ? what if I had stayed in music. what if I had practiced rather than blow free time getting stoned or drunk. What if music has stayed a passion and not become a time card and pay check. So now in Retirement (year 8) I have a burning curiosity. I keep getting better. I still take lessons. I do Chi gong in the morning and Weights and cardio nightly. There is no more fame and fortune for anybody. If you live 20 minutes from me in any direction, you've never heard of me and I've never heard of you? Just the way of today. But this is a personal journey. I don't play for others. I get paid and play with others but i have my own path/standards/and excitement at whats next. I keep getting better in ways I didn't know existed 8 years ago. I have plans for another CD, more students, helping wherever I can in a variety of ways as I get older, but I love the work. I know so many people who have no passion /drive/joy. For them its whats for breakfast , should we walk up the street or down the street, and what movie tonight. I had a great life when I was young, worked through a job for 26 years so I could retire and now I'm recreating college. I keep getting better as does my body so I'm not gonna stop now.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
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6,270 Posts
Ha!im in that club too . Turning 60 on Thursday and I’ve been retired. All I do is practice the sax and play gigs .playing with a wedding band .,a 50s band, got a regular jazz gig at a winery, playing with a trio and blues bands . Having the time of my life . I practice daily for hours . I release records and realize I’m not going to ever be famous or rich . Why do I do it? It’s fun!!no one can ever really master music so there is always something to learn.i also believe that music is something God wants me to do that’s what my gift and passion is . So I play and enjoy😀
Yes! I find it pleasurable to do anything I can get better at... The saxophone is something I only got serious about late in the game so there's still a lot of growing I can do. I found years ago that I had pretty much peaked on the guitar, so I only play it on gigs or sing-a-longs. I absolutely love playing the sax though. What a blast - and I have fairly steady gigs with a good band, so I'm still digging it.


besides....
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
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34,611 Posts
You could easily rename this thread over 60 or 70 and still practicing . Ibet there are many many who still do . K
Or "Well Over 50 and Still Practicing" :bluewink:

Count me among them.

As a lifelong friend said to me some time last century, "50 was such a cute age".
 

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It’s all about the process of learning and having fun with it. Where we’ll end up has really no relevance to me.
 

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Forum Contributor 2013-2019
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1,033 Posts
At 66, just trying to keep my skill level from deteriorating :) I took up sax 10 years ago after a 35 year layoff. I started practicing just enough to be able to read some basic R&B charts so I could join the horn section of a friend's R&B/blues/soul band that was gigging about once a month. When all the other horns left, I decided I had to get more serious so I could take over the soloing duties, and amped up my practice schedule so as not to embarrass myself. Then joined an adult student jazz ensemble to try to take my playing to the next level, and again amped up my practice schedule so as not to embarrass myself. The people I met at the local music school eventually morphed into a couple of regularly gigging jazz groups that are still going, and the more I got to play out, the more motivated I was to get better. I even decided to take a few months of lessons, which really had a positive impact on my playing, and I'm still working on that stuff a couple of years later. The RB band dissolved a couple of years ago, but I was able to move over to a jam band that one of the RB band members was in, and that has turned out to be the most fun and biggest motivator to keep practicing to keep my skills from deteriorating. We gig about twice a month, and have regular gigs at the tap room of three micro breweries in the area, plus a few bar/restaurants, and we just released a CD - one tune of which actually got some radio and web radio airplay. I do wish I had not put the sax down for 35 years - maybe I might have actually become a truly proficient player. But I'm having lots of fun and usually enjoy putting the work in so that the bands sound good when we play out. And an hour or so in the practice room is almost like meditation. I can forget about the world for a few minutes and do something semi-creative.
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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13,147 Posts
Why would you ever stop practicing? You don't want to suck on a gig (if you gig).
My wife asked me once "Why do you have to practice so much? I went to nursing school became a nurse, and now I go nurse. I don't have to practice nursing at home. You went to Berklee studied saxophone. Became a professional sax player. What's the difference?" The difference his huge! One is a career you need certain skills for. The other is an art form that compels you to be better everyday than you were the day before.........
 

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Forum Contributor 2017
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8,129 Posts
56 here and I can only speak for myself. I never wanted to famous, I just wanted to perform as much as possible. I have been hired many times to play with older more experienced players and I am still getting hired by much younger talent because of my jazz and rock vocabulary obtained through performing and practicing.

I am also working on a recording with my own band and in another full time corporate jazz band and sometimes I do one man gigs with back trax.

Being retired from the Navy has its advantages and one of them is being able to go to venues to hook up with performers of all ages.

I will stop when my teeth fall out or I die.





Why are we still trying so hard to get better? Clearly we're not going to be famous, our phenon status has long left us (if we ever had it to begin with), the old timers aren't going to hire us because they just won't, and the young kids aren't going to hire us because we're old. No more college auditions or any auditions for that matter. We're not going to put out a CD (who even has CD players anymore). We now know that the world simply doesn't care about jazz and most think the soprano saxophone is a clarinet anyways. In fact most audience members (if there is an audience) are more interested the patina of my saxophone then it's actual sound.

Yet many of us still climb out of bed each day and put in our time on the ole' saxophone. Just why do we torture ourselves so?
 

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287 Posts
66 here. Volunteer Big Band and quintet with singer for tips. On the rare occasion where everything works out, it makes you and the one ones around you feel good.
 

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Forum Contributor 2012-2017
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187 Posts
Great question. Not sure what motivates me. I never wanted to be famous. I just love playing my tenor.
 

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54 and still playing more than ever because its more fun than just watching tv or more time online... more than that its about self-identity; seeing yourself as a sax player is the definition of cool
 

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Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2015-2016
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2,714 Posts
What a great wine pairing! I live in the area, and might want to drop by sometime and listen. If you don't want to post the location, you can pm it to me. Always interested in hearing younger players! :)
gervasi winery in canton every other wednesday in the new still house they are building . the first one is december 12th but joe menendez is playing that one (great jazz player) but then starting december 26th ill be playing every other wednesday.Myself and a great jazz pianist Duncan Crooks . we have a yearlong contract. it would be a pleasure to meet you and any other sotw cats that are in my area.
 
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