My singing teacher’s name is Tony. Tony has a brilliant smile, an easy laugh and he says to me “Who told you that you couldn’t sing”? He tells me I have a pretty good range. He laughs when I make a mistake and tells me to try it again. I say “I have trouble remembering tunes and singing without the piano”. He says “You mean acapella? Who cares?” He tells me that even though he ‘s going to give me some exercises to help, the most important thing is singing and connecting with my audience (audience? Oh my – slight anxiety sets in). What’s not to like about my Thursday evenings since I started singing with Tony?
After my first lesson I sang all the way home in the car. According to Tony, lots of his clients practice in their cars; it’s private and the acoustics rock! I sang when I got home. I got out my tinny electric piano and sang with that, I sang in the shower and while I ground the coffee. I sang to the cats and got out some old sheet music and sang with that. What a blast!
And then my sister came for a short visit. We sat outside to have an apple and enjoy the autumn afternoon. The trees were glorious, blazing with color. I said: “Hey – I’m taking singing lessons”.
Her retort was quick, automatic and completely expected. “Do you think anyone can help you”?
And this, my friends, is why I called Tony in the first place.
I am a closet singer.
Well – let’s say I’m an in the car with the radio turned up high singer. I’m a shower singer. I’m a singer on the beach with the wind blowing. I’m a singer in the garden when no one is around. And if my closet was big enough, I’d definitely be a closet singer.
My mother loved to sing. I learned show tunes from her, standing by the piano listening to her wash that man right out of her hair. My grandmother once admitted to me that the real reason she went to church every Sunday was so that she could sing. I have four sisters who sing. They have lovely voices, all of them. Christmas carols at our house were sung with sweet harmonies.
I was the one who couldn’t carry a tune. It became a joke. Every time I opened my mouth to join in the refrain, a comment would be made. As a young girl, I had a short stint in the church choir. I remember being asked to sing a little more quietly, please. I’m not sure if my voice was that bad or my enthusiasm so high that I wanted to belt those hymns out at the top of my voice. Even then, I was trying to channel Janice.
Yesterday, I set myself up with singing lessons.
I am thrilled and terrified with the idea of learning to sing or as my teacher put it “finding my voice”. I know where my voice is – it’s been cowering in the corners of my house behind the spiderwebs, coming out only when I’m alone. It stays tucked into the glove compartment of my car bursting into the light during my commute. It’s time to introduce it to my teacher and maybe later to my friends. It’s time to teach it some table manners so that it doesn’t embarrass me in public.
Yep – I’m nervous about introducing my voice around. It opens me up to the same teasing that I got as a girl when I sang in my family. It’s possible that someone might ask me to sing a little more quietly like they did in church that day.
I set myself up with singing lessons. It’s time to shake things up in my life; make some changes; take some risks and say yes to opportunities that arise. What’s the worst that can happen? I go back to singing alone?
What’s the best that can happen? I told a new friend my singing story the other day – he said “I like it when you sing.”