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Ashake and I: My saxophone journey

Photo Credit: Samuel Shokunbi

Music is a power form of expression. According to German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, “without music life would be a mistake”. Therefore, it can be said that being able to play a musical instrument is a great life skill. You might just happen to save someone’s life through music.

For Samuel Shokunbi, saxophonist and post-graduate student of Griffith College, he is using his skills to raise funds for vulnerable children through the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation. The charity event which held at Griffith College on 20th February in a light atmosphere saw people enjoying good music while contributions were made towards the course of the event.

The 27-year-old music enthusiast learnt how to play the saxophone within 3 months compared to the usual 6 months which it takes others. This amazed his tutor.

Photo Credit: Samuel Shokunbi

In an interview with The Circular, Samuel Shokunbi spoke about how the journey into music started while he was in Nigeria. Inspired by the likes of Kenny G, BeeJay Sax, Seun Kuti and Femi Kuti, the Accounting and Finance student learnt how to play the saxophone in 2015 while he was in Nigeria. He developed an interest in playing the saxophone from attending a jazz event back in Lagos, Nigeria. His love for jazz music was also fuelled by Hollywood movies.

He mentioned a recent memorable event of his which was a wedding proposal in the Griffith Hall of Residence. “It was a really good moment. When the lady walked in, I played My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion”. Hmmnn, we didn’t know that proposals have been going on right under our nose. So, for guys that are thinking of how to propose, you can call on Samuel to make it a memorable one.

Samuel calls his saxophone “Ashake” meaning the pampered and cherished one. “My saxophone is not an ‘it’, it is a ‘she’. Yea, she has a gender; she needs to be cared for”. (weird and interesting, huh?)

We asked him how he combines his passion, schooling and a part time job. He admits it is not easy combining all three. He tries to find time for practice at least 3 to 4 hours in a week during the afternoon when students are not studying.

Samuel advises anyone who might be interested in learning to play the saxophone. “It is expensive and it’s going to be time consuming, but then, if it’s something you really like, if it is something you really love to do, then I would say go for it. Do not let anything pull you back. The best thing is to have your own or else you won’t be able to practise”. Just like learning a new skill, consistency is important if you are considering learning to play the saxophone.

“If you have the opportunity to go to a jazz festival anywhere, I would say you should go for it. You don’t know what might happen to you. You might just fall in love with jazz like me”, Samuel said.

For Samuel, he says he has never felt like giving up. He aspires to be an investment banker, but he is not willing to let go of his passion. Have you been suppressing that passion of yours? Why not act on it today? It does not have to be music. It could be anything. Life is too short they say. You never know whose life you will save through your passion.

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