In my 20s I had a lot of musical friends on the folk scene, including the founding members of innovative folk band Blowzabella and it made me desperate to learn to play an instrument. I taught myself to read music and to play the concertina which I chose because it was portable and didn’t need tuning!
Eventually I wanted to learn more about music and therefore needed proper instruction with the learning benchmarks of a graded exam system. Concertina doesn’t feature in the ABRSM exam syllabus so I had to choose another instrument.
Probably due to the Lisa Simpson effect, I chose saxophone and fell in love with it although I chose Tenor and Soprano rather than her Baritone!
It was the sheerest good fortune that I live in Aberdeenshire and that I found out about ASO from my tutor, Justin Brook. When I joined I was unable to follow a conductor or sight read music very well and was only at a very basic level of playing skill.
Richard Ingham, our amazing music director and Mandy, the woman sitting next to me on that first day, were so encouraging that I persevered in the face of my incompetence. Mandy also convinced me to join the Inverurie Concert Band.
ASO is so welcoming and Richard makes us all feel that we can contribute something worthwhile whilst at the same time he makes sure that our overall musical quality stays high - an astonishing feat.
One great spin-off from playing in ASO is that four of us got together and have been playing as a quartet which is really good fun and is yet another steep learning curve. This wouldn’t have happened without ASO as we would otherwise never have met each other. Richard is very supportive of our efforts in this as well.