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I’m Gonna Quit

Danny playing bari sax

I’m ready to quit playing my horn. I can’t seem to bring what I’ve learned while playing at home (practicing) to rehearsals. I’m lost.  I have fat fingers. I can’t find a 2 or 4 measure rhythmic pattern that works. I lose my place. I can’t seem to learn the language. I definitely I don’t have the muscle memory yet.  It’s disheartening. I’m used to being good at what I do. I was a great bedside nurse. I was a really good boss. I’m a prolific and engaging writer. I’m sought after for my patient/caregiver activism. Music, not so much. I’m persistent, not talented. I’m humbled, playing music. Part of  the secret sauce to managing my Multiple Sclerosis, is that I keep manageable stress to a minimum. Being a boss and employee was too stressful, so I stopped. I don’t have secrets. My close relationships are fresh and up-to-date.  I adapt well to my slow reduction in function. Playing is stressing me out. Wait, I haven’t had a sax lesson in months.  My teacher is very good. Positive and creative with my fluctuating abilities. Tells me to play less.  I didn’t stay at the top of my game in my 40+ year career without coaching and mentoring. It wasn’t possible. I play for a reason. It’s one of two outcomes I track with my doctors (falling and playing the saxophone).

I’m not quitting. Thanks for listening.

Danny van Leeuwen

Patient/Caregiver activist: learn on the journey toward best health


  • Lowen says:

    Lovely piece – you have a great attitude 😀 Lowen @

  • Nina Rauscher says:

    Danny…just keep swimming. Play, feel the happiness playing provide to your heart and soul.

  • Atta boy. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to listen to your thoughts. Looking forward to listening to you play. How about posting a short video as a blog post? You can choose when it’s ready and we get to see and hear something you like.

  • Talya Miron-Shatz, PhD. says:

    Of course I listen! I listen, and appreciate you sharing the music of your heart.
    But, maybe because my family is planning to move, and we’re decluttering to the max, parting with trinkets, piles of books, and what not, I keep thinking of the Japanese home-organization guru, Marie Kondo. The question she proposes asking when picking up an object, any object, and deciding whether or not to keep it, is: ‘Does it bring you joy?’
    Sometimes the answer is ‘100% yes’, and that’s easy.
    Sometimes the answer is ‘100% no’, and that’s easy too.
    But, sometimes, the answer is ‘well, not so much, but it really used to, so I cannot part with this’. Presents you didn’t really like, from someone you love, are a good example of something that raises this ambivalence that keeps so many storage unit renters in business. Marie Kondo would advise this person to thank the object for its service, and send it on its way.
    I am not advocating that you quit your music, but, as a friend (if that’s ok), am merely asking – does it bring you joy?

    Would love to hear you play,

    • Talya, thanks for your note. Joy? The right question. My joy is in the sound of the bari sax. It reverberates in my cells. I’ve lost track of that. I can find it again. Be well.

    • Anonymous says:

      I reconnected with my teacher. I have a lesson on Friday. I can find the joy!