April 4th, 2024

ToneGym Hero: Chris Rogers

ToneGym Hero: Chris Rogers

A saxophonist with a flair for blending creativity with discipline, Balancing Judo, tennis, and marathon ambitions with a deep dive into songwriting. Chris Rogers is this month's ToneGym Hero

How did you first find your way into making music?

Like many instrumentalists, I started learning Saxophone in school when I was in 6th grade. I chose this instrument because my brother had played it and I always admired him for that. One of the first songs I learned was “The Pink Panther”. My family still has me play it for them from time to time. From there, I started composing all sorts of songs with friends of mine and the rest is history.

Aside from music, what hobbies or activities do you enjoy?

While I do spend most of my time practicing or performing, I recently started taking Judo and Tennis classes. They’re purely for fun and I’ve been having a blast with them. I’m also training for a marathon this summer and on the weekends, I’m often attempting to learn French with my girlfriend. 

What’s something you're surprisingly good at that has nothing to do with music?

Growing up, I was always very left-brained. Subjects like math and science came to me super easily and I always struggled in creative things like art or poetry. For a long time, I thought I would pursue something like engineering or medicine. It wasn’t until I discovered music that I learned to be creative and access that right side of my brain.

My parents thought I was crazy to pursue music when I was talented in STEM, but I knew I was making the right choice.

If you could play or create with any artist, who would it be and why?

Hands down, Dua Lipa. I’m an absolute sucker for good pop music and she’s the queen of it, at the moment. From a music production standpoint, her stuff is top-notch, and from a compositional standpoint, it’s actually pretty interesting for pop music.

I would love to either produce for her or at the very least play saxophone on one of her records.

What musical instrument do you love the most, and what makes it irreplaceable for you?

It’s probably pretty obvious, but the Saxophone. I feel like it’s grown in popularity the past decade and woven its way even more into pop culture than before. I think it’s important to not insert it into every song, but I’m always fascinated to hear it used in new and creative ways. What makes it irreplaceable for me is people’s reaction to it.

It seems every band that you go out and see has a guitarist, bassist, drummer, and singer (a basic rock band setup). While that can be plenty interesting, the second they get a Saxophonist on stage for a song, everyone's ears perk up. It adds an element of surprise that can really help a band stand out from the masses. 

What daily or weekly habits do you have in place to keep you creating?

Right now, I’m taking a songwriting class at a local community college. I’m constantly working on various little ideas and motifs to try on certain songs. I must have a dozen songs in progress and I’m doing my best to try and finish each one.

I also really enjoy collaborating with the other students within the class. I’m someone who really benefits from the accountability and structure of being an actual class. 

What keeps you motivated to continue making music?

Definitely my peers. I know you shouldn’t compare yourself to others, but I think I do so in a very constructive way. I’m always seeing my friends on social media showing off some big project or tour they’re going on and I can’t help but feel inspired. Seeing their success fuels my motivations. So basically whenever I’m feeling lazy, I just scroll through instagram and that usually gets me practicing again.

What song would you choose as the soundtrack of your life?

“Do You Wanna Do Nothing With Me” by Lawrence. Talk about bangers, this song goes off. The lyrics are very relatable and the sound is so soulful. I must have listened to this song a million times while driving in my car.

Not to mention, the harmony is actually pretty interesting. This group “Lawrence” is notorious for not really using a V chord. Instead, during the chorus, they use a IV-6/V chord which provides that dominant function in a brilliant way. I could listen to this song forever. 

What's your favorite feature on ToneGym, and how has it helped you in your musical journey?

The “Learn” section in ToneGym. I love the idea of having curated videos for musicians to learn from. Each learning program is structured well and approachable for all levels of musicianship. I hope they add some more courses like “Jazz Harmony” or “Arranging for Big Bands”, but I understand that must take a lot of time. 

What’s something exciting you're working on or looking forward to?

I’m planning on releasing some singles of my own this summer. In the past, I’ve mostly made instrumental music, but I’m trying to take a more singer-songwriter approach to these.

This involves recording my own vocals which I’ve been prepping for by taking some singing classes and private lessons. This of course has been a very new and fresh experience for myself and I can't wait for people to hear them. I’m also planning to apply to grad school next year and am excited to continue my music education.


You can follow Chris on Instagram, TikTokSpotify and Bandcamp.



John Bailey
Apr 18
Great Read! I especially appreciated the constructive perspective on social media
Thanks for sharing your musical journey. I enjoyed reading about you. All the best! ''
Terri Winters
Apr 18
Didn't know the band Lawrence -- thanks for clueing me in. Enjoyed reading about your musical adventures.

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