You Play Saxophone?

“Oh, you’re a musician?” Bradford said. “What instrument?”

Carter braced himself, knowing what was coming. “Saxophone.”

“Oh, awesome! So like, jazz and stuff?”

Six years of private lessons and a four year music degree in classical performance, and every time, every single time he told a new friend that he played the saxophone, it always came back to jazz. Yes, he thought, the sax is great in jazz, and there have been a lot of great players. But there’s some pretty fantastic classical music, too. Why won’t anyway acknowledge that? Why is it only jazz? Why can’t people be like, “Hey man, that’s some dope Bach transcriptions you playin?” Or maybe Noda. I love Noda. But no one’s heard of him, outside of classical saxophone circles. If you can even call them circles. More like…dots on a page.

“Yeah, and stuff,” Carter said.

“Nice! I used to play the trumpet, myself. It was a lot of fun, and I was second trumpet in our marching band. I mean, I know it’s not first chair or anything, but we had a big group, and that was a long uphill battle.”

Unable to resist, Carter said, “You marched on a hill? That must have made the football games pretty tough.”

Bradford looked confused, then dismissed the comment. “Did you guys do that Sousa piece, what was it…”

Carter hadn’t been in a marching band, opting instead for a focus on performance rather than theatrics. But still, he said, “Stars and Stripes?”

“Yeah, that was the bomb, man.”

“Yup.” Carter took a drink, then said, “So what do you do?”

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