Sunday, March 23, 2008

Let's Start At The Very Beginning, A Very Good Place To Start

When I was younger, I used to sing. Constantly. I was that freak fourth grader who used to hum unconsciously while doing my math assignments. I sang in the shower. I sang in my room. I joined choirs upon choirs. I was in musicals. My senior year of high school I was very serious about my music. I sang every day for at LEAST two hours. Some days more. I always assumed music would be a very large part of my life.

And it was, for a time. I went to college and lived in an arts dorm where everyone sat around and sang "Brown Eyed Girl," at two in the morning. I joined one of the college choruses and sang with them for a while.

And then ... somehow, so gradually, that I didn't even notice it, I stopped.

I quit the choir for lack of time.

The people in my dorm realized that we all had quite a lot of homework to do/alcohol to drink/cooler people to hang out with, and so the 2:00 am glee club was disbanded.

I still sang occasionally. And every time I came home, my dad would corral me into performing. Something. Anything. It was kind of embarrassing actually because I hadn't learnt any new songs in years. Still, he was happy listening to the same stuff every time. He even asked me to make him a CD of my singing, but I just never found the time.

A few years later, my dad died. I sang at his memorial service.

And after that, aside from some drunken karaoke, I almost never sang. Other people sing in the car, in the shower, while they work.

But me? Whose whole life used to revolve around music?

I kept my mouth shut.

The funny thing is, I LOVED singing karaoke. Adored it. There was a high I felt when I sang that I just never got anywhere else. I toyed with singing again, taking lessons.

But it always fell by the wayside. "My voice isn't good anymore. I've lost my ear and my technique," I thought to myself. I continued to stay mostly silent.

And then a few weeks ago, I was listening to my new (old) Regina Spektor CD in the car. And I couldn't help myself. I started to sing along. And it was like a light had been turned back on. I started to sing in the car, while cleaning house, while chopping vegetables. I couldn't believe how good I felt. How much I had MISSED this.

Today, I read with amusement Ecogeofemme's post about turning 29. (Happy birthday, EGF!!) And I started thinking more about my impending demise 29th birthday in June. See, I have this list of stuff that I want to get done before I turn 30 and learning the guitar is at that top of that list. In fact, a year ago, I bought a used guitar off Craigslist, intending to get a head start on this item on my list, but somehow, once again, I never seemed to have the time, and my guitar has been wasting away in its corner ever since.

But, the thing is, I'll kind of never have the time. But at some point you just have to make time. So I'm going to brush the dust off that guitar, and start practicing again. Because I may be busy, but what I've learned is, I need music back in my life. Not having time is no longer an option.


Mad Hatter said...

This is exactly how I feel about playing the piano! Keep singing and good luck with the guitar. :-)

Joyce said...

Did you know women's voices are at their peak in their 30s and 40s? You don't want to lose that time! I'd give a lot to sound like I did when I was 35!

Jennifer said...

What a great story... this is why I teach music. :) My only goal is to give people the joy of making music throughout their lives... I'm so glad you are finding it again!

And, even though I am a professional musician, I can commiserate... I want to learn the bass pretty bad... even have one SITTING behind the chair I am in right now. But, have I learned more than one simple bassline in one single key? NO! It's been 2 years... no time. Perhaps I should make time, too. :)

ruchi said...

Joyce, you know, that's what my voice teacher in high school told me, and I actually notice it in my voice. I mean, I've lost a lot of my training, but just the basic timbre of my voice is so much richer than it was in high school! You're right, I don't want to lose that time!

Green Bean said...

Good for you, Arduous! We all get so "busy" these days that things that are important to us often get pushed on the way side.

Mine was writing. I wrote my first short story at age 9. Through high school, I contributed to and eventually became editor of our creative writing journal, a compilation of poems and stories. I majored in creative writing in college and then voluntarily crushed my gift to study for a career in which I'd "make a living." I did make a living for 8 years or so and also got married and had kids. I felt like my enjoyment of writing just for writing's sake was a thing of the past. Until I discovered blogging last year. Sometimes, I do find myself too busy doing other things but these "arts" are such a powerful outlet, a natural anti-depressant. I'm so glad you are reconnecting with your music.

Green Bean said...
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Unknown said...

It's funny how we lose aspects of ourself like singing and then find them again later. I think that you rediscovering your love of singing is awesome and has made me want to dust off my old fender strat and play again. P.S. Regina Spektor is awesome!

Brave New Leaf said...

Do it! I just turned 30, and was a frequent singer in high school and college as well. I let my piano and singing fall into disarray in my young adulthood, and have just started to reclaim it. I don't do it in front of others, but even just doing it for myself is such a HUGE source of joy and stress-relief for me.

BTW - I love Regina too. :)

Unknown said...

You are so lucky to have a gift. Most of us are green with envy :) Record a piece and put on your blog. I'd love to hear it.

EcoGeoFemme said...


I had things I wanted to accomplish before 30 that aren't going to happen (like graduating). I guess there's nothing to say except whatev. It's not like life ends at 30. :)

I think resuming singing + guitar is a great ambition.