A little background: In high school, I was first chair tenor saxophone all four years in the school's top wind symphony section, and even played in the honors district band. I did jazz band both in high school and with my buddies, transcribing Dave Brubeck and Stan Getz pieces whenever I had the time. Whatever issues I sometimes had with technicality, I made up twice as much in tone and dynamics. I cherished all the hours spent playing, and tried playing a lot outside of band practice in school.
Fast forward many years later: today, I'm wrapping up my college degree in mathematics. Due to my 2-3 hour commute each day, and the heavy workload, it was easy for me to stop playing. I haven't regularly played in years, though I still have my saxophone (and it's a very, very good one). Whenever I'm driving in my car listening to jazz music, I can't help but fall in love with the same sound that captivated my life when I was 9 years old.
I'm sort of "afraid" to pick up the horn again. I remember most fingerings, and I'm pretty sure I could still read sheet music- though my syncopation could use a lot of work. I am determined to begin playing music again, though, and I would like to someday begin performing with a band in local jazz bars.
I am not naive- I know that this "someday" is going to be quite some time from now, which leads to my question: how should one like myself get back into playing saxophone? What exercises do you recommend I focus on? For those who have taken long hiatuses from playing music: what was the toughest aspect of getting back into playing?
This question is open to any musician, saxophonist or not. Thank you in advance!