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Thoughts Like Music
...original soundtrack not available...you'll thank us...
My musical heritage 
6th-Jul-2005 03:34 pm
Many pianists (and other musicians for that matter) take pride in their pedagogical heritage. For example: 'My teacher, Miss. Buttons was taught by Mr. Clever, who was taught by Sir Herring, once a student of Herr Fisch, when Beethoven taught Musik fur Blochkopfs.'

Anycase, I have no lineage of that sort. I began singing when I was in fourth grade (otherwise known as 9-10 year olds). My parents, to be precise...my mother, began me on the piano when I was 4. I hated it. I hated it with a bloody passion. I was never good enough to get to the refining points, so I was constantly sick of my pieces. The few I did learn well enough to perform are forever ingrained in my (and I'm sure my brother, sister, grandparents, and parents') mind.

I liked to sing. I'd been part of the angel chorus at church during the Christmas Nativity play. I used to get up and sing hymns by myself as soon as I could stand alone. It wasn't until I was 9, and taking voice, that I sang my first 'real' piece. I decided it was real because instead of singing what the piano was playing for melody, I had to hold the melody all on my own. The piece was called 'The Shepherd' and it was based on the parable of the lost sheep. I hear it now and cringe, but then it was really hard.

I took voice lessons, once a week, every week for 11 years. My first teacher, Miss Boyd was my siblings piano teacher and my parents asked her to do it so that I would stay in music. I was soon moved to the choir teacher for the local academy (high school), Miss Butler. When it looked like the voice thing was actually taking, I was transferred to Mrs. Valenti.

Mrs. Valenti was a choir director for various organizations in Atlanta, GA. She was, in that good way you realize later, a termigant. I learned to breathe differently, I learned to stand differently, I learned to smile differently, I learned to think differently. All this was for the purpose of learning to give my body the room and muscle support it needed to sing. And not only that, sing well.

I sang in recitals, for church, at school functions. I sang in the shower, in the car, at the dinner table. I pretty much drove everyone crazy.

I got sick of singing the songs I was assigned. I had a book of Italian Song, a German Liederbuch, a stack almost waist high of sacred songs. But, I had nothing secular. I bought some, but other than fluke instances I never sang secular songs.

When I finished academy, following tutelage under Mrs. Brannan and Mrs. Zarandosa (we're not in Atlanta anymore, Toto...), I was awarded the National Choral Award and a large scholarship for vocal study at my alma mater, Southern Adventist University.

During my time at Southern I sang solos on tour with the Chorale (an open membership group) and with I Cantori (a chamber music group). While I enjoyed the solo work I did from Ralph Vaughn Williams 'Requiem' and others better, I will probably always be best know for the televised version we did one Christmas of the Messiah.

I did work on the side to bolster my income from working as a photographer by singing for organist friends churches' on weekends. If I was lucky, the spoils could be more than $100 for a given Sunday. (Though, it did mean twice the church going...Saturday and Sunday. :) )

I stopped taking voice when I left for Chicago. All told, I had 14 years of work invested in the art. I don't regret it.

And you say, why the long post? I'm afraid and sad. I seem to have lost my voice, post-surgery. What was a voice with a range from C3 to A5 is now barely more than a few notes. They say it may come back in time, but I don't know.

There is nothing like walking out onto an empty stage...no instrument to hide behind, no keys to keep hands from figiting, and, on occasion, no music to put a barrier between yourself and the listener...and just sing. I never did sing any secular music on stage, but I don't feel like I've missed anything that much like I used to. While I believe that my love of God has other outlets, there is a moment when lifting up your voice and letting the music He has given pour out that is incomparable.

I don't know what will happen with my voice. I do know that because music is so much a part of me I need to find another outlet for it.

So, I'm working on piano again. After all that fighting against it, here I am again.
6th-Jul-2005 08:26 pm (UTC)
I think that losing something you love to something as scary as cancer would be difficult and heartbreaking. I was going to tell you all about how
6th-Jul-2005 08:33 pm (UTC)
oOPS... My fingers got away from me and that sent before I was done typing. silly tamborine...


I was going to tell you how I'm tone deaf and I have longed to be able to sing since I was a little girl and I find it frustrating that I can't. But that doesn't help you or make you feel any better.

I think you could possibly be angry and feel cheated and all kind of emotions I can only imagine and I think you'd have every right to feel that way. In fact, I can't possibly understand how you feel and it would be presumptious of me to think I do. But the one emotion you do mention is being scared - and I wanted to send a virtual hug because I don't think you need to be scared.

When we loose something we love, like a talent or favorite toy, it is so often replaced by new joys that we never would have discovered if we hadn't lost the old one. This could be an opportunity to discover a love for piano as an adult that you couldn't appreciate as a child.

My dad lost his voice because of his cancer surgery in February. The good news is it is coming back and now when I talk to him on the phone he sounds more and more like himself again. Maybe knowing that can give you some hope.

It's okay to be sad. It's okay to feel whatever you are feeling - but if you are scared please remember the people who love you and want to help. With them standing by you - you don't need to be afraid.

You are very loved. *HUGS*
7th-Jul-2005 12:24 am (UTC)
Thanks Tammy. I don't know how you have the time to type all that with your new love nest and family issues of your own, but I appreciate it. *hugs*

I'm so glad your dad is doing well. I never lost my speaking voice, so I know I shouldn't be as worried as I am.
7th-Jul-2005 12:34 pm (UTC)
It's not that you shouldn't worry or be scared, as much as when you are worried or scared it's up to your friends to tell you everything will be okay. And everything WILL be okay.

It's that old footsteps in the sand thing - rather than being alone times like this are when you are loved most.

and I ALWAYS have time for my friends *wink*
6th-Jul-2005 08:40 pm (UTC)
I know you worried over this before the surgery. There is hope your voice could come back... but even if it doesn't, I agree with Tammy, you may find some other greater blessing yet to be discovered.

Really all I want to say is you have lots of us that support you and will try to make whatever your circumstances are better.
6th-Jul-2005 09:32 pm (UTC)
I understand the feeling of walking out on stage and singing to the crowd. It's all i've ever Known after years of studying drama and acting at college and after numerous plays musicals etc, i hit a low point when i left college and stopped doing as many plays where i was like what the hell do i do now!. I'm quilified for nothing ecept drama based jobs which unless i moved are very hard to come by. And although i'll always do ameture stuff i don't know if i'll truely get into it all again like i used to. I do still sing solo in church sometimes and i love that feeling the buzz!, but i'm kinda looking for a new buzz something different to get out of life now. And i'm kind of excited about what lies ahead. You should be too there are loads of other ways to express yourself that will give you the same if not better feeling inside. But i'm sure your voice will come back it just may take time. Helenxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
7th-Jul-2005 12:25 am (UTC)
We could start a band!

Umm...well...if we found people who can play guitar. :) Heh.
7th-Jul-2005 09:12 am (UTC)
Well Matt can play a few cords. And mabey Tom could play the triangle? tee hee! Hxxxxxxxxxx
7th-Jul-2005 12:09 am (UTC)

For me and worship, one of the best parts is singing hymns; glorifying God with your voice is indeed wonderful. So even beyond performance for others (which is also wonderful), I can begin to understand how hard this is and how much it must hurt.

I hope your voice comes back. I'll pray for you that it does.
7th-Jul-2005 12:26 am (UTC)
Thanks, Junni.

Thanks also for your prayers. Thank you so much.
7th-Jul-2005 01:31 am (UTC)
ah- I'm trying hard to remember what movie featured the pianist with 12 fingers, or something like that... eep...
7th-Jul-2005 02:30 am (UTC)
ahh... Gattaca, thanks to Mr. J... ^_^
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