In eighth grade, Liam tried jazz band, which required him to play a tenor sax (he plays the clarinet).
This was the first “stretch.”
His incredible band director then asked him to play an improvisation solo during one of the songs.
This was taking a huge risk on Liam, as it was a competitive jazz band.
Initially, thinking about the solo was stressful for Liam.
His brain doesn’t easily improvise.
It imitates exquisitely, but that is not exactly how to play a solo in jazz band.
His band teacher did recommend imitating, to give him a “mentor text” to follow.
He said if you have nothing else to play, use “happy birthday.”
Liam started off tentatively and grew more comfortable with this type of playing throughout the spring.
It was yet another first for him – showing that he can learn and try to be creative, even if he was not initially wired to be that way.
Improv and jazz are good for the mind and soul.