Singing is my life. It’s always been my life. I can remember being 4 years old and standing on a stool to sing ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ for my grandparents. Every car journey, regardless of distance was spent singing along to cassettes in the back seat with my older sister. There is nothing that I have ever wanted to do more than perform.
When I was in third class, aged 9 years old, I stood up and volunteered for the first time to sing ‘Land of the Silver Birch’ publicly. (In front of my whole class) I will never forget the feeling that came straight afterwards. That infinitesimal stretch of silence between finishing a song and the applause that follows. It’s heart wrenching and terrifying. You wonder why you just did that and if everyone now thinks you’re an idiot and if they’re going to laugh at your or just stay silent and stare in horror. Thankfully neither of those happened to me at the tender age of nine. In fact, that was the beginning of my school music career. That was when the teachers realised I could sing, and that was the year that I auditioned for the school choir.
For the next three years I relished every second that was spend singing, listening to music, learning about music… My only weak point was practicing my instruments, which I will undoubtedly delve into at another time. On reflection, the fascinating thing was that my family never really knew I felt like this, or that I had “a voice.” That changed, I think, when I was in sixth class. I was 12 years old and the teachers put me singing something at the Christmas concert/mass. I think I sang ‘Once In Royal David’s City.’ Afterwards, parents of other children came up to congratulate me and once I managed to reach my mother, she said “You never told us you could sing!” She was a music teacher and my mother so I took that as meaning “OH MY GOD YOU WERE AMAZING. I AM SO PROUD OF YOU. YOU ARE THE BEST SINGER IN THE WORLD!!!”
And so I carried that with me into secondary school. Incidentally, I attended the school where my mother was the music teacher. This meant that I happily spent half of my secondary academic years in the music room singing in choirs, playing the ‘cello and learning about Vivaldi and Jazz. The school knew me as a singer, because I didn’t just restrict my musical activity to the music room, and because I was the music teacher’s daughter and that comes with a legacy of its own.
I decided to study Music at university. Actually, I don’t remember ever deciding to study music… I always just knew I was going there. That was almost a complete disaster, except that I found my singing teacher. I started to train my voice and appreciate singing classical music and opera as well as popular music and musical theatre.
I’ve since graduated. And I’m still studying my instrument, my voice with aspirations of being on stage, on TV, in a recording studio, on the radio and far, far more.
Starting to learn to sing properly is simultaneously wonderful and frustrating. It poses many more questions than it answers and every day your voice changes. It’s a journey with puzzles and rewards along the way. I’m going to start properly blogging about singing here as often as possible.
It would be fantastic to hear from other singers and music lovers in the comments.