Outside the Box: Georgina Roberts

Hiscox London Market’s Head of HR explains how a birthday trip to Ibiza rekindled a childhood wish to play the saxophone.

I’d always wanted to play the saxophone since I was young. I learned piano and flute at school but what I really wanted to play was the saxophone. My mother told me I had to master the flute first, which was a typical – and very effective – parental delaying tactic, because when I turned 16 I stopped playing music completely.

But I’ve always maintained a love of live music and that’s what rekindled my interest in the saxophone.  I was at the V Festival a few years ago when one of the headline acts were the Scissor Sisters, who had a female saxophone player up on stage with them. I thought she was incredible, and I said to myself that I’d really love to play like her. But I didn’t do anything more about it, and when I had my two children any aspirations I’d had of learning to play were forgotten.

What surprised me is how difficult it is to play the saxophone. It certainly isn’t an instrument you can just pick up and play. I’m sure there were dogs in the next county with their paws over their ears wincing in pain at the sound I made.

Until, that was, we went to Ibiza to celebrate my husband’s 40th birthday about three years ago. We went out to a place where there was a saxophonist playing and again I thought: “That sounds brilliant. I still really want to play. ” So, my husband bought me some saxophone lessons as a Christmas present that year.

What surprised me is how difficult it is to play the saxophone. It certainly isn’t an instrument you can just pick up and play. I’m sure there were dogs in the next county with their paws over their ears wincing in pain at the sound I made.

The other thing that surprised me is how loud the saxophone is. You can’t practice it quietly.

When I’m playing I’m completely absorbed in it, so I manage to switch off completely from my work. As it is quite a difficult instrument to learn, it’s incredibly rewarding when I do eventually manage to master a tune.

My family have put up with a lot while I’ve been learning to play. I think it’s probably pretty excruciating listening to a beginner on the saxophone. Near where we live, a man practices the bagpipes in a field, and my husband has said, on more than one occasion, that perhaps the saxophone is an outdoor activity as well.

Although I have lessons I have decided not to take the grade exams - for me it is about playing for pleasure. I still have a lot to learn and I know that I need to master the basics if I am going to be able to play the songs I really want to play.

I don’t have any ambitions to get up and play on stage. My only ambition is to have the confidence to play in front of my friends and family. I have a very musical sister, who has the annoying ability to be able to sit down and play pretty much any tune she hears by ear, whereas I have to have the sheet music in front of me. She lives in the US now, but I’d like to be able to play with her when we next meet up. Also, it would be lovely to be able to play with my girls if they were to take up music.

When I’m playing I’m completely absorbed in it, so I manage to switch off completely from my work. As it is quite a difficult instrument to learn, it’s incredibly rewarding when I do eventually manage to master a tune.

 

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