I grew up thinking I couldn’t sing. During birthday celebrations, the Happy Birthday song just reinforced that fact so I mouthed along and protected the people next to me from hearing my off key sounds. I also grew up thinking that making music was reserved for following sheet music with the instrument you signed up for at school and that required twenty minutes a day of uninspired practice.
But a decade or so ago it began to dawn on me that singing was a skill, much like reading or math, and that skills just take time and practice to develop. I was also reminded of an I Love Lucy episode where Lucy, who had an atrocious voice, sang a fabulous song after her singing coach assigned her a song that matched her style and her voice.
And then one night, I was watching the one television station that played in western Alaska and I heard an infomercial for Anne Murray. And you know what – I could totally match her key or pitch or whatever it was. So I called the 1-800 number which is something I had NEVER done (ordered off of TV) and placed my order for her two disk set for 19.95.
It arrived a few weeks later and I put it in the stereo and practiced singing along with her. I remember a Saturday I just hung out in bed singing her songs with her accompanying me and with me belting it out on my own. I had to concentrate to kinda shift my voice into her music area and once I shifted, I could hit all the notes.
Back in my pre-child years when I had energy to care about such things, I’d be mortified if somehow or other a video of myself lying in bed singing Anne Murray songs made it out into the hands of the public. Now, it just makes me smile.
And, I’m not such a bad singer.
My children are in their room supposedly going to sleep, but I think we put them to bed a touch earlier than normal. Little boy is singing something in his very off key way and little girl is singing “Row Row Row” over and over. They both love to sing. Little boy sounds far more like a spoken word artist with great random stories coming out to drum beats in a non-melodic way. Little girl who is just starting to say some words can sing the first words of songs so that they are recognizable and match the tune. She sings them over and over.
I love singing with the kids and making up music. I hope my children grow up learning that music is something we can create and not something that we just have to follow or something that is only accessible to a select few. I love Anne Murray for allowing me to see that my voice is okay. I love Ella Jenkins for teaching me that music is something we can create ourselves. I hope my children learn to love making music.
Given the sounds coming from the bedroom right now, this looks quite probable.