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I just had my first ever singing lesson. Why? Why not. Well, I do have reasons. I wanted to challenge myself, to push myself a bit. I wanted to explore my vulnerability a little. I wanted to see if there was another way of expressing myself and creating something. But most of all I wanted to know if I could, one day, stand up infront of another person, or people and sing. Really sing. Not belting-my-heart-out-just-like-Maria-Carey singing, but sing from my heart, from my soul, 100% me.

It was scary. Despite being with a lovely, patient and supportive teacher, it was actually terrifying. I was given breathing exercises and body awareness exercises. It turns out I forgot how to breathe properly. I’m not as in tune with my body as I could be. Work needs to be done there. Interesting…

And I hadn’t even thought of a song to sing, or even what my goal was in going to the lesson. As I was in the moment I thought it through and realised that I was there to meet myself, through my singing voice, something (and someone) I have yet to meet. My singing experience to date? Well, there’s the jumping on pleather couches in Karaoke booths in Soho, draining vodka cokes and doing Celine impressions with my mates… No? OK, how about the singing in the chorus line of my work Christmas plays for a few years? Hiding at the back, blending in, enjoying the buzz, but my voice meshed in with everyone else? No…ok… chanting in yoga? A long pure ahhhhhhh, followed by an ooooooo and then an ummmmm, starting my note after the first person
started and ending it before the last?

Not an epic back catalogue.

After the physical and breathing exercises, it was then time for the notes, confronting my own sound in that living room was a little intense. But then came the song, I had to sing something – what did I want to sing? I hadn’t even thought about it! Panic. Mind went blank. X Factor audition fear creeping in. Breathe in, breathe out. OK, Amazing Grace. REALLY? Where did that come from? OK, I know the lyrics… sort of.

So, I did my best to gather my self-confidence, took a couple breaths and sang. It felt nice. It sounded OK. I wobbled at the end, my cloak of self-doubt wrapping itself tightly back around my shoulders.

My teacher said it was good. I have potential and strength in my voice. Warm pride washes over me. Relief.
I sang a few more times, it didn’t get much easier, but at least I broke the seal. I’d done it before, I knew it was possible.

It’s such a weird thing going for a singing lesson. Especially if you have never done it before. If you’ve spent your whole life believing it’s not something that you are any good at and so aren’t supposed to do. You have this deep crust of emotional baggage which has built up around your soul – and it’s your soul you are trying to access – it’s there that you need to sing from (as my teacher informed me) – and I had to mentally break that crust apart. And that’s a lot to do in one hour on a Tuesday night in April.

I think I opened a crack. A tiny glint got through. Or at least the crust softened a little. And it felt great.

So, an hour later I emerged back out into the cool evening with my notes from my lesson (breathing exercises for the bath, some scales and the mission to find a song that I want to sing from my soul with ahead of my next lesson) tucked in my pocket. As I walked down the hill towards home I hummed a merry tune and let a smile spread across my face. I took the first step, I sang infront of a stranger, and the goal has been set – I’m going to access my soul through singing, so now the next step – I just have to find the song!

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