I keep saying that I am primarily a voice teacher. Well, here’s where I’ll explain what that means. I started singing before I could even talk. (Or that’s what I’ve been told. My memory doesn’t go quite that far back!) My first choir experience was at the age of 3. There was an audition (who auditions 3-year olds?). But, I got in. I have been singing ever since.
When I was 5, I went through what I call my Composition Phase. I had been begging for piano lessons. But even though Mrs. Mitchell just down the street taught piano in her basement, (I am amazed that I pulled that name out!) my mother said no. I taught myself to play Do-Re-Mi on the piano and then began my Grande Opus – Thunderstorms. I would start at the very upper end of the piano, very soft. Then, as the storm got closer, I would move to the middle part of the keyboard, getting louder and more insistent. Once the storm reached its climax so would my playing, with lots of low, banging bass notes and the sustain pedal holding notes out so that nothing could be clearly distinguished. As the storm then moved off, I would move back up the keys, finally ending with a few soft tinkles on the upper keys. It didn’t take many of those before I was marched off to Mrs. Mitchell’s basement on the understanding that if I was given piano lessons there would be no more composing thunderstorms. Sadly, what I heard was no more composing. It would be decades before I would try my hand at that.
Somewhere about the same time I was having a lot of trouble keeping my room clean. Mom would yell, I would cry, and finally I’d shove everything under my bed and pull the bedspread way low on the side facing the door. She always saw through that one. One particularly stormy afternoon (stormy between Mom and I, not a meteorological phenomenon) I was sitting on my bed, sobbing, when my older brother came in with a bribe. If I could get my room clean, really clean before dinner, I could have his old guitar.
Hal, my older brother, was even at that age, a remarkable guitarist. And he had recently upgraded his collection and was offering me a somewhat battered ¾ size acoustic guitar. I was thrilled and worked my butt off (sadly, it grew back). By dinnertime, I had that guitar. Hal taught me how to read chord charts and left me to it.
So, by the age of 6 all of my instruments were in place: voice, piano, and guitar. And they’ve pretty much always had that ranking in my heart. I’ve continued playing all three instruments (and, yes, I consider the voice to be an instrument), but voice has been my passion. Now, as arthritis is beginning to take its toll, can I always play the piano or guitar as I’d like? No. But, pain, illness, even laryngitis, cannot stop me from singing. With good vocal technique, you can learn to sing through anything.
That’s pretty much me. I write about what I know. And after almost 54 years of music experience, that’s what I know. Buckle up, and get comfy. I hope you enjoy the ride!