Learning the Saxophone ft. Snorkeling: They’re exactly the same.

The sea in the Perhentians is so clear you can see everything. It is absolutely gorgeous.

Last month when we went there, Leah and Cat naturally jumped at the chance to go Snorkeling. Why not? 40 Ringos for 5 places, you can’t go wrong. I was a bit unsure as I’ve never done it before and I was soooo very happy just lying on the beach. But, I absolutely hate missing out. And it would be great right? So off we went the next morning.

To start with I had a right ‘mare. At the first stop we were thrown snorkels and left to get on with it.  I remember I was like, ‘yeah I can do this!’ I jumped right in. Then I swiftly had the beginnings of a panic attack. Suddenly breathing was a bit of an issue.

Every time my breathing calmed down above water, I went right back to square one the minute I tried to go under. I could see everyone else having a great time,  it was fine. Easy in fact. But my brain wouldn’t accept it. Under water means you cannot breathe.

I very nearly gave up and went back to the boat, thinking I would just sunbathe for the rest of the morning and watch everyone. Then something in me told me to keep going. So I slowly, slowly got my head around the fact that even though I shouldn’t be able to breathe under the water… I could! And I could see beautiful fish too! This process took me a while, I looked like a weirdo, but I got there.

The feeling when I finally managed it was incredible. It felt like a real adventure. The coral was gorgeous, we saw 5 sharks, a turtle AND Nemo!


This is the same battle with the saxophone. Bare with me…

I know I can physically do it. The facts tell me that by 18 years I grade 8 clarinet under my belt, and my dad will happily tell you I have the voice of a foghorn. The foundations are there.

But there is the same mental block. There is one note, the upper octave D, that I repeatedly cannot manage to produce. I could do it in the past, but I have lost it. My voice can do it, my hands can also. We’ve tried. But together, and the stress of an imminent exam is just making this a bigger ordeal than it should be.

I just need to train my brain.

Once that barrier is broken (and maybe practise more…. I guess that never hurts) I’m well on the way. In the same way as in the Perhentians, I need to train (perhaps trick?) my brain into creating this note.

The exam is in 8 weeks.. plenty of time!


So it’s the same right? On a side note, who wants to come to the Perhentians again soon?






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