I've sung in choirs and played folk guitar for many years. I had piano lessons when I was a chid and any love for the instrument was beaten out of me by the two elderly piano teachers who tried to beat it into me.
It was quite by chance that I chose the saxophone really. My son Benjamin was the one who wanted to learn to play Saxophone around 8 years ago when he was 13. We discussed it and agreed we both wanted to learn, so we started taking lessons together and supporting each other. We did our ABRSM Jazz Grades together.
He is now in his third year of studying Saxophone at Aberdeen University and I am in my third year of Graduate Diploma in Jazz Studies at St Andrew's University.
I love the versatility of the Saxophone, the way it can play in any ensemble but also scream out a jazz solo.
Since learning to play Saxophone I have also taken up Clarinet and Bass Clarinet and tend to play clarinet more if I am honest.
I play with the Blue Lamp Community Jazz Band on Baritone Sax.
My then Saxophone teacher, Michael Janetta encouraged us to join ASO as he and commented on how good it would be for our learning.
My first impression was that it was challenging but immense fun. There was a mix of very talented young people who were much better players than I was, and some older people who were just as mediocre but determined to have fun doing it.
ASO differs hugely from other groups because of the leadership of Richard Ingham who is an amazing performer, composer and conductor. He makes playing difficult things fun, by putting huge challenges in front of us but giving us encouragement and coaching to achieve them. Richard makes sure that we are pushed to the edge of our abilities, but never overwhelmed. Playing in other bands is just "playing", playing in ASO is about developing you as a musician.
I love ASO, it's fun but also a massive learning challenge. It has encouraged me to really learn my instrument and go back to University to gain a music qualification.