Thursday, 9 May 2013

Sing Me A Song

When I was little my favorite pastime was to sing. I enjoyed it so much I would have loved to pursue it as a career. I wrote songs and imagined creating music videos. Unfortunately, though, I was dreadfully shy. I could barely talk, let alone hold a tune in someone's presence.

I finally sang in front of people at 15 when I courageously participated in the Ambassador Program. It was a tormenting experience that burned my cheeks and it felt like there was an Alien trying to burst out of my chest. I sat like a zombie without moving and most definitely didn't portray my potential. I am sure that the committee would have loved to help me step out of my comfort zone more, but I barely even sang in front of them.

My daughter has indubitably inherited this love. And fortunately she has more freedom. She can often be heard mumbling a tune. Today I picked her up after work and walked home with two errand stops. She contently cuddled in her sling and sang the ABCs and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star over and over again. There is nothing in the world like the ambrosial sound of her sweet little voice. I assist her with the alphabet more times than I can count without getting annoyed as she says, "Again, again". (Though, excursions on my own get a little vexatious when a children's tune faithfully repeats in my head without end.)

Last year my daughter and I had the pleasure of attending a young woman's performance in a coffee shop. When I was amazed that she had no trouble remembering words, even on a song she had just learned, her mother said that she always remembered because she was so passionate about singing. She said that she had been singing opera songs by two years old. I thought about my daughter's budding love for music and whether or not I was helping it develop.

Most likely not. I love quiet. I could go all day with no television or radio. I have to remind myself to put on something that my daughter could learn. I used to play some oldies and sing to her or practice my choir songs. She loved when we would sing and dance around the kitchen. Often, when we do have a tune, it is a radio channel. I've discovered that she loves a variety of sounds. She will "la la la" to classical and imitate the words on a rock song. She really enjoys the rhythm of country music.

I recall sitting in my room late at night as a child, flipping through the radio channels looking for something to accompany with my voice. Hoping that I would get the beginning of a good song and not the end. We didn't have Internet back then so I couldn't just search for a favorite or pull up a popular item. I didn't have money and only had a few of my mom's tape cassettes which were old country and not something I had appreciated. She also had Creedence Clearwater Revival and John Cougar Mellencamp.

I got a Madonna cassette from somewhere and so I would sing that but I never really liked her voice too much. Later I discovered Sarah McLachlan and she became a favorite. I also ended up with an INXS and Phil Collins. Not much more. So different now, when everything is so easily accessible. Today it is easy to listen to a genre and find a preferred band. Internet radio is teeming with artists and when a favorite comes up it is simple to purchase it right there on a whim.

I wonder what kind of music my daughter will choose? Will she continue to like the twang of country? Will she favor the music introduced to her in church? Will she be enchanted by someone like tenor Andrea Bocelli? Will she get lost in the oldies that mom loves, like Frank Sinatra or Nat King Cole? Will she fall for pop culture (Oh, please no!)? Or will she want something with a beat or something more hardcore? Her options are so open now. This is the time to love music, that's for sure.

I pray my daughter will grow confident in her singing. Not because it is an opportunity I missed, but because it is something we can share. Her mom and dad have both been in a musical. Her mom sings in choir. Her sister used to sing the anthem at hockey games. Singing is in her blood. I hope she will share it with me. It was a dream to sing alongside my husband's amazing voice, which I got to do at our wedding. I would love to perform with him again, along with our little mini-me.

But for starters we will just serenade the dogs, the kitchen sink, and the mirrors that look back at us. Maybe tomorrow I'll break out the dusty Hairspray CD.

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