Prior to the sixth grade, I hadn’t been good at much of anything. I didn’t play any sports or make exceptional grades. I even convinced myself that I was terrible at absolutely everything. I was often bored in class because I wasn’t being challenged, according to my guidance counselor. She also believed that my parents’ recent divorce was part of my problem. Little did I know that I would soon become part of something I loved and was exceptional. Sixth grade came and I was given an alto sax to play in our middle school band. Our first song that we played was “Louie, Louie” by The Kingsmen. I struggled, at first, with a fundamental technique called tonguing - which is the process of stopping the air flow in an instrument with one’s tongue. But with time I achieved a proper understanding of the mechanics of the sax. My sixth grade year of band was slow to start, but productive.
Track 2 – “Mister Touchdown U.S.A.” by Glenn Tolbert
Seventh grade started and I was just excited to begin band. Sixth grade was fun and I learned quite a bit, however, I was ready to get serious and learn everything I could from our instructor Becky Ferrebee. During this school year we had started intermediate level music for middle school children. We also began our “training” for high school marching band even though most of the group, later, would not go in that direction. We started out working on “Mister Touchdown U.S.A.” by Glenn Tolbert because the music to that song was our fight song, although we used different lyrics. During this year our instructor, Mrs. Ferrebee, pulled me aside after class to ask me an enormous favor that she only asked students with talent to do. She asked me to change instruments for the next year. She would switch me from the sax that all beginners start on – the alto sax – and give me a heavier and more difficult one – the baritone saxophone, or “bari” sax. Seventh grade band was a year of... [continues]
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