As a little girl, I took piano lessons. I would sing along with the music and my teacher, Mrs. Bishop, asked mom if I could sing in her choir. In exchange, she said she would give me free voice lessons. I received a clarinet for Christmas in the 4th grade and played in the band shortly after that (small school...they needed everyone!) The 4 of us girls sang in church from almost as early as I can remember. Mom played the piano and we sang at home all the time. So music was a huge part of my childhood.
I believe it was the spring of 1964 when there was a vocal competition at Ball State Teachers College in Muncie IN. I don't remember the specifics...I just knew that we were going to the college and I was going to sing a very long song. Oh! I practiced for months with Mrs. Bishop. I still have the sheet music. "I walked today where Jesus walked" She would make notes on the music where I was supposed to hold my breath, or be loud or soft.
I memorized every line (OK, I still have the song memorized!) and I'm sure I wore my Sunday best.
I just remember being scared to death. Probably gave my voice loads of vibrato!
I won first place. I still have the blue medal!
So what happened? Why am I not some famous singer today? Why do I so rarely sing for anyone except me?
When I went to Bob Jones University, I took vocal the first semester. It was a semi-private class with just 4 students. I remember being horrified when the professor told me to sing to the students outside the window as they were walking by. He made me lay on my back with an orange on my stomach and breathe so it wouldn't roll off. I went to a lab and practiced 2 hours every single day that first semester. He made it so much work. He took away all the fun and joy of singing. At the end of the term, the professor told me I couldn't sing and that it would take years of coaching for me to ever sing.
I could have stopped there and blamed it on him, but I moved to Colorado and my sisters and I took up guitar and continued to sing. But you know, somewhere in the back of my head was this little voice that kept telling me "you can't sing...you need years of coaching".
Kerry bought me a keyboard a few weeks ago and I found the music to the song I sang in 8th grade. I can still play it. And I sang it today. How fun was that! But it made me wonder...where did that little girl go? The one who got up in front of an audience and sang her heart out and came home with a blue medal?
I'm hoping I can find her again and spend some time playing....and singing. I think it will be fun!