Good Morning Everyone! I hope everyone has had a great week so far. I’ve been working a lot as per usual but it did inspire today’s post. I spent most of yesterday with my earbuds in while I worked. I’ve not talked about music before and I think I’ve been putting it off because of how personal it is to me. I couldn’t decide how I wanted to present my point of view to everyone. Do I dive in to the general musical concept? Do I focus on a band? An album? A song? I sort of decided that I wasn’t going to decide at all. Since what I listen to depends on my mood, what I write about the music I listen to will also depend on my mood.
For as long as I can remember, there has been music in my life. My Mother used to teach music to elementary school kids before switching gears and teaching math. She, her sister, and my Grandmother all had beautiful voices. There was always music in one form or another in our home. My first concert was in utero to Crystal Gale back in 1981. Since then I have been absorbing as much music as my ears have time for. Even when I’m not actively listening to music, I tend to have an earworm stuck in my head. That or some random phrase spoken by someone in passing will spark a melody in my head that I will mentally sing along to.
I used to be able to sing. Really well in fact. I participated in choral competitions for vocals and sight-reading and did exceptionally well. I played the piano and the tuba. Reading music was like reading a book. Unfortunately for me, I also had crippling stage fright. If I was not singing in a group I would have panic attacks after I sang. I could make it to the stage and I could sing the solo, but when it was done I would have to rush off and try and breathe in the corner as tears came without restraint. I remember very specifically a solo that I sang at church when I was a teenager. It was a small church and I had known basically everyone in it since I was born but I was still panicked. My Mom suggested that I remove my contacts so that I couldn’t see anyone’s faces and then maybe try to sing to the exit sign. It didn’t work.
The reasons I stopped maintaining my voice run much deeper than panic attacks. My voice was the only thing about me that wasn’t average. All those sports I played, the things I wrote, my schoolwork? Average down the line. Ok, maybe the schoolwork part isn’t true. I was pretty great at that too when I tried. My voice was the one thing about me that stood out. I suffer(ed) from some pretty hefty self-doubt a lot of the time when it comes to personal things about myself. I can’t take a compliment. You’ll say something nice and I’ll say thank you; but within seconds I’ve already talked myself out of it being true. When I was younger and angrier, I didn’t want to stand out. I just wanted to fade into the background. My voice made me stand out. I just want to pause here…I wasn’t crazy/exceptionally amazing or anything. I do not now nor did I ever believe I should have some sort of record contract, but I was good. Better than average. Because I didn’t want to stand out and there was this thing that made me stand out? I set out to destroy it.
At the tender age of 14, I started smoking cigarettes whenever I could get my hands on them. I smoked off and on and then mostly on until about two years ago. I stopped attempting to train my voice. In the last two years that I have quit smoking my voice has not come back as much as I would like. I know I’ll have to get back into training it if I want to hear it the way I used to. Maybe I will someday. In the meantime, I’ll keep singing along with the radio as best I can.
I think I lost the thread on this point. I sat down to talk about how music moves me and instead you got a diatribe about my ridiculousness. I hope you’re still with me. I’ll start working on the next post and try and keep it in line. In the meantime, keep reading the blog! Head over to the Podcast page and listen to our latest if you are so inclined.