Re: Am I ready?
Here's the thing, speaking from personal experience, soprano should be the least of you worries.
First, Listen to some of the great alto saxophonists (Charlie Parker, Dick Oatts - jazz; Eugene Rousseau, Kenneth Che - classical) to hear what the instrument sounds like on it's highest level.
Second, If you want to get another saxophone tenor sax should be your next step. It is much more commonly used in music than a soprano. Also you can get a good tenor cheaper than a good soprano.
Third, If you really want another instrument consider getting a clarinet or flute. These instruments are very similar to the saxophone and being able to play them well will open up more opportunities for you. This is why the soprano sax is not used much in ensemble music. You can play the same thing on clarinet and it usually sounds much better.
Forth, I am a saxophone major in college and I DO NOT own a soprano. You will not need to have your own soprano for college. The school will provide you with a good, usually really expensive, horn that plays extremely well.
Fifth - Don't fall into the trap of thinking - Well I have a natural gift? Yes, I am sure it's true you have natural talent as is needed to play the horn but don't let it be a guideline for your skills. I fell into this trap in high school. It came easy to me and I was top sax in all the bands, so I didn't practice that much. When I got to college things changed. In order to stay in the mix and up to par one has to practice, practice, practice. The 3 things to do to improve you skills quickly and greatly is #1 Practice more than 2 hours a day. Preferably 4. Practice 2 hours a day keeps you at the same level. Any less and you will start to slowly lose it. #2 Listen and record yourself. Obvious mistake will reveal themselves that you could not hear when playing. #3 Listen to the greats, some mentioned above, to hear the instrument on it's highest level, and try and imitate their style, sound, tone, etc. This WILL improve you skill greatly and quickly.
Last, The decision to get a soprano is still up to you ( or whoever is buying it for you). If you do decide to get one, shell out the big bucks and get a good professional horn, that if taken care of, will last you the rest of your life.
I hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions please reply to this post. I wish you the best in following a musical path.