The Same Exact Problem Yet Again!

Some of you might remember from my Winterfest post that I was having some trouble playing notes below middle G, but it was fixed with a new reed. Yeah, that same thing happened again, but it wasn’t the reed. I tried at least five other reeds, all different sizes, and it still wasn’t working.

I am also kind of nervous because I am going on another trip with my band and I’m performing with the eighth graders! (I’m only in seventh) This is great and all, but if they hear me squeaking a lot, they aren’t going to take me seriously! And in all of my parts, the saxophones have the melody at least a few times, so everyone is going to hear me mess up.

So that’s where you guys come in. I would like all of you saxophonists to help me find out what the problem is, and leave a comment on what you think the problem is, and how I could solve it. My trip is on March 1, so hurry…please?

Here’s what I know about it:

  • No notes below middle G will come out
  • If I get lucky and they do come out, they will mostly be squeaks
  • My reed is currently a Rico Royal size 3
  • None of my reeds are broken or bent
  • I took my saxophone in today, and it is somewhat working now
  • I need help

Please feel free to leave a comment, and I will try just about anything. I will definitely blog about the trip when it is over on March 3, but until then, comment away!

Advertisements

Science = Music

I know, I know, I haven’t been on here for a month, but who’s counting? You can tell considering I haven’t changed my background from the Christmas theme as of the posting of this article. But that’s not what I wanted this to be about, for that would be a pretty lame update. What I wanted to get at was this idea that popped into my head while I was in the bathroom doing my hair. The idea is science.

Science.

Probably the last thing you would expect to find on a music blog like this, but science can be found in all forms of sound. We were watching a movie in Band about the science of music, and while most teens wanted to go flirt in the back room, I was interested in the movie. I am very logical, (ask anyone who knows me) and like to think  about the brain. So when they brought up how the brain reacts to music, I was immediately intrigued.

Like in babies. Did you know that a baby can hear music from inside the fetus? So when an unborn child hears singing, it remembers it in what little brain cells it has, for this sound is probably one of the only things they’ll have known inside the womb. Doctors have actually recorded infants crying, and have identified it to be tuned, like in the major fifth and third.

Music actually goes back to cavemen times, where they would make homemade flutes out of natural resources like tree bark and ivory. There is also evidence that music of that time was played in caves. Though this may seem minor, it shows that homo sapiens had thoughts for acoustics, rhythm, and most importantly, music.

After doing an MRI on different musicians, doctors experimented a bit. What they found actually was quite surprising. They discovered that not one, not two, but hundreds of cells in your brain, spread throughout all of the brain, are used when music is being listened too. And cell use differs depending on whether your doing a duet or solo, listening to jazz or rock, if your playing a piano or saxophone 🙂 It differs for every person.

Though we like to imagine it as Taylor Swift or One Direction, music is used in every parts of our lives. Some of these places we don’t even notice music is being used. I can think of a million more ways science = music, but I can’t fit a million into my word limit. So take this mentally wherever you go, and think about all the music that you use in your life.

Caring For Your Saxophone #3

Oh yes, it’s that time again. The lesson for today is to brush your teeth, or at least rinse out your mouth before you play your instrument. Wow, look at me getting into the action right away! Ah, I just don’t like to waste time.

My friends from band and I were all walking back to our lockers to get ready for the next class, when my friend pulls me aside, and says “My reed tastes like pizza. Is that normal?” I must have looked at her with a weird expression, because she replied “Me neither.” And that was that. I talked to her later, and told her that she needed to rinse out her mouth every time she was about to play her saxophone, especially if she had just eaten. I decided to take my own advice, and always rinsed out my mouth before I even started to suck on my reed.

 

The last, but definitely not least, is for mostly girls (unless your a boy that wears makeup. If so, then more power to you). Ladies (and maybe guys), I know you love to look glamorous, even when you play, but drop the lipstick when your blowing tunes. I learned this the hard way, after keeping on my lipstick in jazz band, and coming out with a busted reed. The only reason it had been broken was the line of red goop right where my lips had been…bleh!

 

So clean your mouth, no matter how hot you think you look. Think about the instruments you could be saving all over the world, if we just take one small step of action. Please, donate to the… just kidding! Have a great Saturday, and go do some last minute Christmas shopping! I know I have too.

Street Perfomers

First of all, happy end of the world (not)! And second of all, yes, you did read the heading right, I am doing a post about street performers. But not just any street performers, nooooooo! I’m talking about street performers that play jazz.

Yesterday, my family and I went to Seattle for Winterfest – my second time being there – and brought some money to give to people who needed it. So, as we were about to walk into Macy’s, I heard some jazzy Christmas music. So I turn around, and saw an alto saxophone player!!! I got so excited, I almost ripped my mom’s wallet out of her pants to get money to give to him. I wanted to support the music as best as I could, and what better instrument to start off with. What broke my heart was that he only had three dollars in his case, counting the dollar I gave to him 😥 But as we came out of Macy’s to move onto the next store, another guitar player/vocalist had shown up to do a duo with him, and they had lots more money 😀

The next street performer I saw was a baritone saxophone player. What I wonder is how he can hold it while standing up! It’s a super big instrument, probably about four feet tall, and thirty pounds. I then noticed he had a sign on the back of his stand, so I proceeded to read it. It proclaimed that he was saving up to go to Washington State University, and study psychology or something, which is really cool. The things music can do for people! Unfortunately, I ran out of money, but I still stuck around to listen to show that I cared.

My friend Katie and I–http://www.everythingmusicalaltosaxophone.blogspot.com/ asked my band teacher if, when we were done eating at the Armory, could street perform. My teacher said “why not?” Sadly, you need a permit or something. Funny story about street performing, my friend Daniel, who plays tenor saxophone, had a cousin who tried street performing. A man then walked up to him to shake his hand, but wouldn’t let go, so they had to call the police.

Ok, that’s enough for that subject. Here’s one last smiley face 🙂 and have a GR8 day! See what I did there? But seriously, bye.

Winterfest

Yesterday, my band and I all got a super cool chance to play at the Seattle Center. The funny thing is that we only played our instruments for 1/16 of the time we were in Seattle. Oh yeah, and my saxophone broke THE DAY OF THE PERFORMANCE!!! It was weird, because it would only play notes over middle G, but anything below that would not come out. Luckily, I just needed a new reed, (karma from the last post) and it was all fixed.

After we played for an audience of about twenty people, I got to go up the Space Needle for the first time! Though the view was spectacular, I was freezing my face off, even though I had on a hat, gloves, and parka. So I ordered a bag of chips, and happily watched from the inside, talking with my friends about how fun the trip had been. Look at the time, it’s funny story time with Zoe! Yay! But anyway, the story is my friend Taylor and I were going to the bathroom, but you had to go down a long, scary staircase. So there was a little V shape in the stairs, so I could only see a bit of the other stairs. So I looked up, and saw just two feet, and I freaked out. Luckily, it was just some dude playing on his phone, but I high-tailed my way out of there.

Just to show how much food I ate, I made a whole paragraph about it! And all of it was under fifteen dollars; yay cheap Americans! No, I am not that fat: only 125 pounds.

  • Cheese pizza-Mod
  • Rocky road ice-cream-Seattle Fudge
  • Sour cream and onion potato chips-Space Needle
  • Freeze dried ice-cream-Space Needle
  • Decaf iced coffee-Starbucks
  • Gummy bears/other candy-Space Needle
  • Water-Space Needle

And finally, the reason I probably broke my tail-bone. What other thing could we have done at Christmas time than ice-skating? The rink was super tiny though; only about 10′ x 20′! I probably didn’t tie my skates tight enough, a reason for my hurt ankle, and my hat is probably sitting underneath one of the bleachers right now…I liked that hat :(. But anyway, I got the hang of it before the first lap was over, but proceeded to scream “I’m going to die” like a little girl. My friends and I spent most of the time holding hands, in fear that we would end up like the girl who couldn’t even stand up on the ice while holding onto the wall. Yeah, she got freezer burn on just about every part of her body (Poor Kaitlin).

But other than that, it was probably the most fun I’ve ever had, (Other than the part with the creepy homeless people).

P.S. Only 1 week until Christmas!!! 😀

Caring For Your Saxophone #2

As I was about to walk out of my door, I had a big smile on my face, and told myself that I was going to do a Caring For Your Saxophone post! There’s just one problem…I had no idea what it should be about. So I whipped out my thinking cap and thought back as far as I could. And then I remembered this one time about three weeks ago.

The lesson for today is to always make sure you have a few good reeds with you at all times (take it from someone who learned the hard way).

 

One day (most lame start ever) I walked into jazz band, and started playing a scale, but couldn’t make any noise with my instrument. So I sucked on my reed a bit more, tried again, and still couldn’t even make a squeak. Instead of complaining, I just fingered along for the rest of practice, and tried in regular band. What do you know? It  worked just fine! This went on for about three more days; working in regular band, not in jazz band, and I didn’t really think much about it. Until the one day when Mr. Ray told us we had to play a few measures of the song in front of the class.

So I got up, walked to the front, and blew as hard as I could. I almost looked constipated I blew so hard. And everyone started whispering, and giggling, and I got super embarrassed. Mr. Ray then, being the nice teacher that he is, made me do a bunch of mouth exercises to try to get it to work (even more embarrassing). I then left my saxophone with him, only to find out I had just needed a new reed. I went through all that embarrassment just for a new reed? From then on, I always had at least one good reed, and three spares minimum. I could not stand humiliation like that again. Hopefully my distress taught you a lesson, and if not, well tough noogies as my dad would say.

Lead Alto!!!

I am VERY excited right now! You all know that I am in a jazz band, but I’ve always been in the second parts. But now, since our lead alto quit, Mr. Ray, (my band teacher) has been looking for a new lead. And as he was passing out new music to everyone, I looked at the top, and found the words:

Eb Alto Saxophone 1

 

And I freaked right out; I was lead alto  in our jazz band! Now, though there are many pros with this, there are also some cons. First, when we got our music, I looked at it and thought, this should be easy! I know all of the notes, and the rhythms are pretty basic. Oh, but of course it can’t be that easy. I looked at my friend sitting next to me, and he had two sheets. Well that’s odd. I then found out I had two sheets too. And on the second sheet, I knew none of the notes, the rhythms were all eighteenth and sixteenth notes, and I had a…solo. NOT A SOLO!!! But luckily, it is a soli, so I play it with my whole section, so if I fail, I’m not the only one failing. I really don’t know if this is a good or bad thing, but hopefully it’s a good thing. I was thinking of quitting, but I most definitely can’t quit now! Wish me luck…I think.

Caring for Your Saxophone #1

I’m thinking of starting a new series on this blog called “Caring For Your Saxophone.” The name describes it, pretty much. I will just gives you tips every few days on how to care for your saxophone. A sample of how this is going to look is below, and I hope it helps all you saxophone-ists!

***

So yesterday, I was waiting for my measures of rest to end so I could start playing when I took a little whiff of my mouth piece…WHOA! It basically smelled like I had rubbed some three-week-old cheese on my reed and stuck it into my ligature. I would’ve puked had my measures of rest not been over. And after the song was over, I wondered to myself, how could my instrument smell this bad?  I do everything regular.

And then a light bulb hit me. There’s this thing called cleaning your instrument that had been very foreign to me up until then. I, for one, hated cleaning my saxophone, for I thought it was a waste of time. I mean, what’s the point of running water through something when it’s just going to get spit right back in it? Unfortunately, I was proven wrong at that point, due to my nostrils almost falling off. So remember to clean your instrument, even if it’s not a saxophone, so your sense of smell won’t end up like mine.

It’s as easy as taking your instrument apart, running some soap and warm water through your mouth piece and neck, and leaving it out to dry. And if you’re really fancy, by one of those little cloths with a string on the end, and run it through your instrument’s body every few days. This goes for any instrument, not just a saxophone. Again, please don’t leave your senses like mine.

Middle School Band Concert

In case you didn’t already know, my middle school just had a band concert! It was super fun, and I got to play with my jazz band for the first time! Everyone says we totally rocked it, and I’m trying to be modest, BUT WE DID!!! We played the songs “Watch it now” by Rick Stitzel, and “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” by Dr. Suess.

I also performed in my regular band, and had a solo there in a song called “All Through the Silent Night,” a medley of both Silent Night, and All Through the Night. But I’m sort of sad because my band teacher didn’t even let me stand up for it, so no one knew I was soloing. 😦  We also played “Celebrating Chanukah,” another medley of three songs I don’t know about, and that sounded really good! But seriously, check out the songs for you’re band, or something; they’re all really cool songs.

P.S. Our performance is on YouTube, but I couldn’t find it, so there are no links…sorry.

Welcome to zoe4real!

As the title says, welcome! I’m so glad you found this website! Whether it be through the interwebs, (did I seriously just say that) or a friend told you, I’m very glad you took the time to look at my blog. What you will find here is music…everything that I do with music, and what’s coming up in music around the Seattle area. I play the alto saxophone, and am in my school jazz band, but also enjoy classical music. Well, enough blabber from me, but grab a cup of coffee, and read some stuff about what sounds can do to people’s lives!