Like many people I played an instrument at school, went up through the grades on clarinet. And although I didn't get saxophone lessons, I was given a council saxophone to borrow so I could join the school big band. I loved it, loved the sound of a group of saxes together playing blues-y chilled out stuff. When you're at school there are so many bands and orchestras to join, but when I left I struggled to find anywhere to play, and life and jobs and moving around took over. It took me many years to re-find music and pick up my old clarinet, and to join a local orchestra. Just recently I discovered the Aberdeenshire Saxophone Orchestra, having picked up the saxophone again after a gap of many many years and finding the courage to have a go. The group, and conductor Richard Ingham, are so welcoming and encouraging. And I have already learnt so much from Richard, such as different fingerings for notes, top tips on mouthpieces and reeds, and also not to be scared of trying to do a bit of jazzy improvisation. The group is very lucky to have such an outstanding conductor, who encourages us all, whatever standard or age we are. And also the band makes a pretty good sound! Playing in a band gives so much - great music, fun, a sense of teamwork and personal achievement, and real escapism from everything else going on in life.