I was a deprived child! My parents never thought of giving me music lessons. So even though I would beat away at an Egyptian leather pouffe as though it were a tabla, or stage home ballets using the fridge door as a spotlight control, and could whistle in tune since I was five or six, I didn't have music lessons. I thought I could sing beautifully, but the nuns in our school were, presumably, tone deaf, and couldn't appreciate my voice. So I was never encouraged to sing. Though of course that never stopped me from singing, as my long-suffering offspring will affirm.
I have found an encouraging friend in Robert Fulghum, a kindred soul.
I quote, from his book ‘It was on Fire When I Lay Down on It’, ‘……I am a singer. ……I sing. It is what I do. God did not put my desire together with the necessary equipment. My voice is what you might politely call ‘uncertain.’ I can hear the music in my head, but I cannot reproduce what I have heard, though it sounds fine to me……….I liked being a parent to my children when they were young and had no musical standards and would uncritically sing with me…….Singers are those who sing. Period.’
Whether I could sing or not, I was, by the time I reached college, a passionate but ignorant listener of Hindustani classical music, especially vocal music. The radio was a great friend, and my major source of all music.
When I left home and started working in another city, I decided to fulfill my long dormant desire to learn music. So a colleague and I acquired a harmonium and found a music teacher near by. We obviously lacked the necessary commitment, or inspiration, and after a few months we quit.
After several years of marriage and family life, we moved to
Ah, the students. They were around six and seven when the lessons started. My son, A, had a regular kiddy voice. J’s son N had a really deep voice even at age seven.
You can imagine one thin squeaky little voice and one really deep voice going ‘saaa’ and
‘SAAAA’ at the same time. The teacher certainly had his hands full, especially as after the novelty of the lessons wore off (I think they were held twice a week), the boys completely lost interest. Two wrigglier bottoms were never seen. The teacher was a kind and honest man. After completing the first month, he declared that the boys were not yet ready to learn music, maybe they would be more receptive later on. I think he was most relieved. The boys certainly were!
(Young A did learn to play the
Although I insist that I’m a contented person, I do wish for a couple of things,
which don’t seem possible in this birth. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other, and seems most foolish and irrational, and that is my desire to be tall and slender.
The other is to have a great singing voice. In the meantime, I will cultivate friends who have no ear for music, and who will (faints) actually applaud my singing. Any takers?