Setup/Gear/Manufacturer of Instruments:

I’m playing a Cannonball Big Bell Stone Brute tenor with an Otto Link Super Tone Master 7 mouthpiece. I’m using Vandoren green Java reeds.

Why did you begin studying music?

When I was in the fourth grade, I heard the Eagles song “Long Run” and the sax solo in it caught me off guard and made me say “wow, i wanna learn to do that!”. That’s what got me on the sax. I didn’t really start studying music until I was freshman and started working on improvisation, and that led to me taking a music theory class at my high school.
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Saxophonist Benjamin Runes

Located in Maryland, USA

  • Saxophone
  • Playing for 6 years

Teen Jazz Artist Badge

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What are you doing with music right now?

In school I’m in the the symphonic band (sit down group) and the Jazz Ensemble which can be seen on YouTube if one searched “Bel Air High School Jazz Band”. In the Jazz ensemble, we’re doing affairs for Harford County Public Schools as well as the town of Bel Air, Md. Above that we’re doing our third annual swing dance come May. That’s gonna be three hours of live jazz, a rare occurrence in a public high school in my area.

I was the first freshman allowed in the Bel Air High School Jazz Ensemble in the six years of it’s existance. The Bel Air group was the first one in my county to be an accredited academic course during the school day.

Who are some of your influences?

I try to listen to everything I can from Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Count Basie, to the Amy Blues, and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. In terms of solo artists, Dave Koz, Eric Darius, Gerald Albright, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Peter Christieb, Don Menza, Kenny G, Eric Marienthal, and Earl Bostic.

Who do you/have you studied with?

As I am a high school student, I’ve never actually had a chance to study beneath anyone besides my high school band director Anthony Domenico.

What do you plan on doing with music in the future?

I’m actually planning on business majoring. To me, music is fun but it’s a very iffy way to make money especially in jazz. To me, the money in the music business is in pop and I don’t really wanna sell out.

Anything else you would like to add?

The YouTube channel with videos of my high school jazz ensemble is “Bel Air”. There are videos from our swing dance, winter and spring concerts, as well as our performance at Downtown Disney.

I didn’t start playing tenor by choice. My dad bought me a Buffet Crampon 400 series tenor for Christmas and I kind of had to make the switch from alto to tenor. I played that horn from sixth grade up through my freshman year. Then, this past September, my dad bought me my first pro tenor, a Cannonball Big Bell Stone Brute. That horn has changed my playing astronomically.

In music, I’ve learned to take every opportunity. I learned that from my band director,Anthony Domenico, he made the mistake of turning down the offer to be in Maynard’s band. Every time I get the offer to sit in I take it. Every time I can go to a master class I go.

Music is supposed to be fun. I play my best when I’m having fun. I play my worst when I’m not. In a band, when everyone is having fun and feeding off one another, the band is gonna pump out something great.


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Published by Shannon Kennedy

Shannon Kennedy is a vocalist and saxophonist living in Southern California. She is author of "The Album Checklist" and the founder of Teen Jazz. She has been contributing articles to music magaizines and websites since 2004.