Continuing our “People with Passion” saga, we interviewed Silas Kay, a second year student studying Econometrics/Economics at Erasmus who plays the Saxophone.
1. Could you give us a brief description about yourself?
My name is Silas Kömen and I’m from Germany. I’m 20 years old and have started my second year of the BSc2 programme this year. In my free time I like to learn about new things or try out new hobbies (recently I played “Mary had a little lamb” on the violin), go out with friends, hit the gym, and well… play the saxophone.
2. How did you first know you wanted to play the saxophone?
My dad played the tenor saxophone when he was still studying, but later gave it up because he didn’t have enough time anymore. One evening – I think I was around 8 or 9 years old – I saw his tenor sax standing around in our basement and from then on, I knew I wanted to play it and asked him day in and day out. I ended up playing the alto sax because I was too small to hold the tenor sax then and stuck with that ever since.
3. When did you start to learn how to play?
After I got my alto saxophone, I started taking classes at our local music school. My teacher was this crazy Ukrainian clarinet and sax player, who was smoking all day and just jumping around all the time. After finishing high school, I went to Chile and worked as a saxophone teacher myself in a low-income neighborhood in Santiago and now I just improve on the things I want to myself.
4. What are some interesting benefits to playing the saxophone and some main challenges?
Well, first off all, I think it’s pretty obvious that playing the saxophone is pretty cool and fun to do. Then, it’s super easy and spontaneous to join a band or gig because you don’t really need special equipment or microphones or anything.
For challenges, I would definitely say the first year is difficult. Because with the saxophone you need to learn to blow the air in a specific way, then learn where all the keys are and then get the intonation together, it takes a looooong time until it sounds bearable. Big shoutout to my neighbors for making it through that time. A really surprising thing for me was that my students in Chile picked those things up wayyy faster than I did when I started. So, either I was learning very slowly, or I am an amazing teacher… I leave it to you to decide that.
Also, I noticed a weird benefit the last time I went to the doctor. He measured my lung volume and apparently it also increases by a lot (weird flex, but ok).
5. How has your experience been as part of the Erasmus Music Collective?
I joined last year and, after auditioning, was part of their performance group (maybe you’ve seen me at the monthly jam sessions at de Smitse). It definitely is and was a great place to find other people interested in music, which can be difficult at EUR. This year though, the Music Collective has changed a lot with more events coming up. Compared to last year, I would say it is more inclusive, as there are a lot more upcoming events for people simply passionate about music (so not only for people with advanced music skills or anything), so definitely check those out and maybe catch me there.
6. How are you managing the balance between playing the saxophone and keeping up with econometrics?
I’m a big believer in the week 7 grind, so in the first 6 weeks I have more than enough time.
No, but all jokes aside, it definitely is challenging and especially towards the end of a block I don’t have much time to play the sax. In the beginning of a block I would say it’s definitely possible though. Possibly not the best way to go about time management and studying, but I still have 3 years to optimize that.
7. What are your long-term goals with the saxophone?
I definitely never want to stop improving and playing the sax. At the moment, I’m starting up a new band, so I’m really excited to do more with that (definitely look out on the open stage nights). And generally, I hope that I will always be able to play the saxophone for people at any point in my life.
8. Where can we find out more about you?
I think my Instagram is a good start (@silas4kay), where I (more or less) frequently upload covers. But due to the one-minute time limit on Instagram, about a year ago I started my own YouTube channel to upload songs without any restrictions. So definitely check that out too (search up “Silas Kay” on YouTube)!
Thank you Silas for giving us an insight in your world!