I love to sing. Music is a huge part of who I am. I've been playing the piano since I was eight. I learned the clarinet in school. I know how to play (although am not proficient on) the trumpet, saxophone and organ. I've led many choirs. But more than anything I love to sing.
Trouble is, singing is not one of my talents. Oh, I can carry I tune alright. I can even sing in parts. I've sung in choirs (alto) and small groups. At home I can sit for hours at the piano and go through my stacks of books, singing and playing Broadway songs, religious songs, Christmas songs, pop songs, oldies...I've got it all and love it all.
Somewhere inside of me I could probably do a decent solo. Not fantastic, but decent. Unfortunately I can't seem to do it. Literally, I can't do it.
You see, back when I was a fragile teenager, a friend told me that I didn't have a good singing voice. And I believed them. I very quickly faded into the background of a piano accompanist. This was a lot easier with a lot less risk involved. I'm a really good piano player, an excellent sight-reader and a great accompanist. I also coach singers really well, helping them with the performance aspects of singing. But I never sing myself.
When I'm by myself, I belt it out like there's no tomorrow. But as soon as someone else is in the room, my voice literally seizes up. I have a physical reaction that I can't control. In front of close friends, family and even my husband, my voice just won't replicate what I know I'm capable of.
And so I made one of my 101 goals in 1000 days to sing a solo in church. I knew there would be lots of opportunities to sing other than in front of the entire congregation, so I thought that would be a good place to start. Well, this past Sunday, I accomplished this goal.
I currently serve as a teacher in our Women's group, which means that once a month I teach a lesson and lead a discussion on a religious topic for about 30 other women. I have a book that provides the basis for the lesson, but it's up to me to decide the best way to shape that hour. This week's lesson was titled "Hold fast during the storms of life". One of my favourite religious songs is called "Hold On" and conveys the exact message of the lesson. And so I bravely sat behind the piano and accompanied myself as I sang this song.
How did it go? Pretty much as I expected. My voice crackled through it, my nerves gripping at my throat. I know the song cold and I know I can sing it really well on my own. But I got through it. And that was the whole point.
My whole hang-up is purely psychological, but I am truly amazed at how something in your mind can actually physically effect you. At any rate, I did it. And maybe, just maybe, I might do it again. I'm sure that if I can just get a hold of these nerves, I might actually do it well one day.