The Cooler Sax

Saxophonist Continues Career in Music

Senior Aidan Brown has played the saxophone since the beginning of middle school. He plans to continue his music career at UT Austin, where he is majoring in Music Performance.

Photo Courtesy of Aidan Brown

Senior Aidan Brown has played the saxophone since the beginning of middle school. He plans to continue his music career at UT Austin, where he is majoring in Music Performance. “In fifth grade, we had to make a choice on our instruments for middle school band,” Brown said. “Since then, practicing the saxophone and perfecting my craft has been my primary motivation.”

Jaden Kolenbrander, Reporter

While some might have seen him during football game halftime shows, others might recognize senior Aidan Brown as the student featured in a viral 2017 video, where the then eighth grade saxophonist played through the notoriously fast piece “Flight of the Bumblebee” with ease. It seemed like everyone, from the commenters expressing their amazement at his talent, to the band students who sat in awestruck silence before erupting into cheers after Brown’s last note, knew that there was only a bright future ahead of him.

After a performance at Carnegie Hall in the 2017 Middle School Honors Performance Series and getting accepted into TMEA All-State in 2019, that same eighth grader is now graduating as part of the class of 2021 into the University of Texas at Austin, with a major in Music Performance. 

“I like to tell people I chose saxophone going into sixth grade because my great-grandfather was a jazz musician who played saxophone,” Brown said. “The truth is I didn’t know that yet when I picked saxophone. I picked saxophone because I heard the song ‘Thrift Shop’ by Macklemore and thought the sax part was cool.”

Even if he seems like a natural talent, Brown still practices daily. Music is one of his favorite pastimes, and whether it’s listening to new artists or performing their pieces, he is always looking for new experiences out of novelty and interest.

“My interest in music absolutely influences what I play,” Brown said. “It would certainly be a lot more difficult to get motivated to practice if I never played the things I like. Some of my favorite music to play is jazz, and jazz also happens to be one of my favorite genres to listen to. However, I like lots of different types of music, and I find it really fun to listen to new stuff and play it myself.”

For example, a cover of one of Brown’s favorite video games, “Mother 3,”  is featured right next to a performance of “Fantasia” by Claude T. Smith on his YouTube channel. Brown hopes that in the near future, his time searching for new music can support the amount of time used for practicing and performing.

“I practice every day for what’s usually between one and four hours,” Brown said. “But I have hobbies outside of band and sometimes those hobbies, like video games, crossover often because of the music contained within the games I play. I think the effort I put into saxophone and band is absolutely worth it because I enjoy nearly every part of what I do.”

My first chair test in sixth grade was when I started to notice that saxophone came to me more easily than some of my friends. I hadn’t practiced a whole lot for the test, but I managed to place third out of my class of about 13 saxophone players. That day inspired me to start practicing a lot.”

— Aidan Brown

Now, Brown’s practicing for the University of Texas saxophone auditions paid off. From band directors to friends and family, Brown can think of plenty of people to whom he expresses his gratitude for introducing him to the world of band and encouraging him throughout the years.

“It all started with Mr. San Luis and the other directors at CPMS who introduced me to saxophone,” Brown said. “When they sat me down and taught me the fundamentals, it was a jumping-off point into the world of music performance that I know today. I also have to shout out the bandmates who encouraged me and play along with me in ensembles where we arrange and perform our own pieces. But even earlier than the CPMS directors was my family who provided me with a supportive and loving childhood.”