Amazing Kids! Magazine

From Lamb to Lion

By Abby Scheeser, age 13, Ohio

 

The glowing melody of a flute broke through the immobile air, slipping and gliding throughout the notes of the simple tune. This flowing piece was timeless, captivating in its unseen beauty. Soon, the rest of the instruments came to dance, the flare of the trumpet, the low hum of the clarinet, the barely heard rumble of the baritone. All became heard except for one. Me, the alto saxophone.

The saxophone was born for jazz, one of two essential instruments. But sadly, my saxophone was a quiet, little mouse. I was a solo artist due to every single last one abandoning their instruments. They cast their brass bells aside and started to sing instead. So lonely me continued, determined to succeed.

My instructor in the previous years was rather unhelpful, not telling me what to do, just how to finger notes and read some music. The problem was, I didn’t know what to do with my sound. Should I be loud? Should I blend? Should I be quiet? How did I do this? All ran through my brain, but alas, my previous teacher never took the time.

Our band was alight with sound, bursting in splashes of imaginary color. Our conductor, Mrs. Pontious, waving along the tempo, was the only one steady in our mad frenzy. My section was coming up. My palms were getting clammy; my pulse, racing.

She signaled me to start playing, a determined hand flicking in my general direction. My fingers started to curl around the keys, and then I blew. My first note was hushed, barely audible. My next was slightly louder, possibly being able to be heard by someone looking for it. So on this pattern continued, yet my notes were still unable to be heard.

The song went off but lacked a certain quality to it; something was needed to fill the gap. I continued with my steady volume, completely oblivious to the fact that I was too quiet. The rest of the band was persistent, their tempo a rapid siren and their sound booming across the cavernous space.

Our piece finished with an earsplitting crash, resonating right behind me, and the band immediately erupted in a flurry of chatter. Mrs. Pontious sighed with displeasure and held up her hand with five fingers. She slowly ticked down to one, and everyone was silent except for the flute, playing arbitrary notes in the background.

She started talking to the trumpets about their sound and about people crescendoing when they’re not supposed to. They all nodded in assent, and she continued down the row to the tenor sax and horn. They were applauded but cautioned about their volume and overpowering the quieter instruments. Then, she slowly turned to me. I gulped and sat there, waiting for her to state the inevitable.

She told me yet again to play louder, but I didn’t really want to. I was afraid that I would be too horrible, so I didn’t play loudly. She repeated herself several times and then headed on to the next section. I sat silently with my saxophone nestled in my lap and contemplated what Mrs. Pontious had been saying again and again.

Maybe I should play louder. I mean, come on, the piece is kind of terrible right now. What’s the worst that could happen? Well, I could completely fail, but it might still sound better. Oh, what the heck, I’ll do it. 

Mrs. Pontious raised her arms to start the piece, waving one in a complicated rhythm while the other snapped in time to the measures. Again, the flute burst out, followed by the deep thrum of the tenor sax and the steady beat of the base drum. This continued for half a minute with me following the melody, trying to blend with the band. Mrs. Pontious, while keeping her steady rhythm, signaled to me to start playing.

This time, I started playing at the same volume everyone else was playing at while Mrs. Pontious directed the rest of the band to get quieter. I steadily got louder, growing with confidence as I got the right tempo and all the correct notes. Soon my part was done, and I silently applauded myself. The piece finished, and everyone was silent for a moment, listening for the echo of the last beautiful ring.

Mrs. Pontious talked to us and congratulated us on our piece, which finally sounded amazing. She had a few suggestions, but overall, it was fantastic. I got especially applauded for my sound, and I was so happy. My quietness is good, but sometimes I need to stand out a little bit.