Passions: Rikhil Seth


Nichelle Wong

Rikhil Seth (10) plays the alto saxophone and hopes to move to baritone, which is one octave lower.

Hi, my name is Rikhil Seth and I’m a 10th grader at Irvington. I play the alto saxophone. I started in fifth grade, and recently in tenth grade, I moved to bari, which is basically a bigger and lower alto saxophone. It’s very interesting, and I’ve been able to learn a lot playing the instrument. It’s given me an extra hobby and more time to ease my mind. 

I’d say my parents kind of forced me in fifth grade. They said I should try to do something that I like. My brother started playing saxophone before, but he quit, so I thought I’d take up the mantle and start playing myself. It was both pressure from my parents and inspiration from my brother. Now, it’s a passion that I push myself in. I want to pursue it in the future and I have had a lot of interest in it.

In elementary I just kept it there as a thing to do; then in middle school, the band teacher Mr. Lorigan wrote a lot of cool pieces that we played, which made me start liking the saxophone more. Also, the saxophones are a really loud and obnoxious instrument. Being the loudest in that band is kinda fun sometimes. 

I probably motivated myself in the past to try to become better, just hearing other people play and how much better they are than me. But then after some time, it just became a habit. And I now, just practice.

The skills grow as you play. A lot of skills that I learned were through playing chromatic, which is basically where you play every single note really fast. That moves your muscle memory through every single note. 

Playing long stretches of 16th notes isn’t that hard because usually they follow chromatic scales. I find that actually being expressive, having dynamics, and controlling your breath in slower pieces is a lot harder and requires much more skill. There are a variety of reasons that make a piece hard. But I find personally, slower pieces require more control and more precise playing.

In Wind Two, I’m playing the alto saxophone right now, but I kind of want to move to bari so I’ve been practicing bari. It’s an octave lower than an alto. So I’ve had a lot more fun playing that. Bari is not more advanced, but it’s a lower pitch. Honestly, playing the bari is a little easier, but it’s much harder to breathe, because it’s a much bigger instrument: you have to control your air much better. Alto saxophone is hard as well just because the pieces you usually play are really fast. I want to pursue bari in college, but if I have to play alto saxophone in high school, I’ll do that.

In the future, I would play as just a side thing. Professionally in college, not after college, I’ll probably play in clubs. I’m not gonna be a professional musician after; I want to be a doctor. But playing an instrument on the side is obviously fun. In college, there’s a lot of time that I might have on my own. I’ll probably spend that time pursuing music because it’s really fun and a good stress reliever.

If you want to play saxophone, you’re probably not going to like it in the beginning, but just continue: it’ll get better. I made a lot of friends playing the saxophone and being in band. It’s been a really good experience.