Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. Victor Hugo
I let out a whoop of excitement – my singing lesson was booked. This time next week I would be running over the local sand dunes Julie Andrews style: the beach would reverberate with The Sound of Music, and I would be surrounded by an army of dog walkers keen to master Do-Re-Mi. Better still, The Partridge Family could be replaced by The Austin Family: son on guitar, daughter on drums, and me belting out I Think I Love You to all and sundry. Wow. You know what they say: ‘Think Big – the possibilities are endless.’ It did dawn on me I may be having a mid-life crisis, but hey-ho this is something to be embraced, as inhibitions are cast by the wayside as years fly by. My son was a huge source of encouragement leading up to said singing lesson (possibly by never revealing his true feelings). He supervised voice training in the kitchen. My sound waves bounced off the walls to Gabriella Cilmi’s song, Woman On A Mission. I switched between this, and Kylie’s, I Should Be So Lucky. I advised son and daughter that after a few lessons I would be ready for them to accompany me on guitar and drums. Hmm.
The launch to fame day arrived. Clutching a bottle of water, I hot-footed it down the road to the singing academy. I must confess I was harbouring a few nerves: my mouth felt like it had been scrubbed out with a scouring pad. How was I going to talk to the teacher, let alone sing. A door to the singing studio opened. Oh crikey! The teacher wasn’t much older than my son. I had expected a plump lady – older than me of course – with a matter-of-fact approach. You see I was brought up in the ‘old school’ way and it is comforting to stick with what you know. But I had already shaken off the comfort blanket by choosing to sing. And so here I was, face-to-face, with a young lad straight out of drama school. Now Matt did have a great voice: a mix of Michael Buble and Justin Bieber. He sang in a jazz band and his idol happened to be Michael Buble. I loved Michael so I was sure Matt would like Gabriella. But he hadn’t heard of her. I was surprised. After all she was young too. My hopes were dashed. No longer feeling like a Woman On A Mission, I waited tentatively as Matt produced a song book. I certainly wasn’t going to be ‘… so lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky’ either. Even Kylie was out of the frame as Matt asked whether I knew Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Er. Yes. I had been holding out for Abba at least. There was worse to come. Matt had chosen Hushabye Mountain: a lullaby, which had been sung by Dick Van Dyke in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The song was alien to me but I rolled with it. And indeed did I roll, for Matt told me to get down on the floor. Oh my. He emphasised the importance of warming up. I was hardly prepared for a spot of aerobics – dressed in jeans and high heeled boots. What would happen next? The singing lesson had turned into a thirty minute adventure, which could well end up with us quaffing ‘lashings of ginger beer’ and spending the night with Uncle Quentin.
Matt too got down on the floor, and demonstrated some relaxation and breathing techniques. If only my jeans weren’t so tight. An ancient flashback to the New Seekers prompted wistful thoughts of a floaty dress – smock style. Now if only I could ‘teach the world to sing’ …
I was jolted back into the room by Matt tickling the ivories with one hand. Well at least I played the piano better than he did. And what a good job I could read music which helped me gauge the notes of the tawdry tune. Matt only had one song book so I had to huddle up close to peer at the words. Blimey. Any closer I would be in his lap. Matt sang a bar, and I followed. Not only was he surprised at how well my voice was projected across the room, I was too. Could my ‘letting go’ be borne out of sheer frustration as to song choice: a lullaby. sung by a bloke. from a child’s film? Mmm. We finally sang the entire song. As a duet. Together. As one. Such was the feeling of surreality that the experience was of an out-of-body one. Well, if I had helped to fan Matt’s ego then the whole exercise had been worth it. He was keen for me to book a further lesson but I declined. I would have to check my mid-life crisis schedule first. Hmm.
We are what we sing. Anonymous
I did manage to find out some benefits of singing.
- Your posture will get straighter and you’ll gradually look more confident.
- It’s a good workout for your lungs.
- Singing improves circulation and tones abdominal muscles.
- It’s good for the brain and will enhance your mental awareness, concentration and memory.
- Singing has been proven to boost your immune system.
- You’ll probably live longer, in general.
- Tests have shown that singing reduces the risk of heart disease.
- The natural stress reliever, oxytocin, is released when you sing, which has been found to alleviate feelings of depression and loneliness.
- You’ll sleep better, as a result of being less stressed.
- Singing releases endorphins, which make you feel instantly happier!
My top tip would be to wear something loose like Demis.
Demis Roussos was a famous Greek singer. He sold 60 million albums worldwide, and became an unlikely kaftan-wearing sex symbol. Forever and Ever was No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart in 1976. Top song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5or2CMvYIE And I shall go on singing forever and ever … in the kitchen.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Have a great week :)