Everyone has the gift.
“It must be wonderful to have the gift of music,” people tell me. I know it’s a compliment, but it saddens me. I know the next statement will be, “I certainly never had that gift.” That simply isn’t true. Everyone has the gift of music.
It’s about this time when the speakers throw their heads back and laugh nervously. “Oh no! I know I don’t have the gift!”
I beg to differ. You see, even as they speak, I can hear the melodic rise and fall of their voices, the clear pronunciation, the resonant tone.
Then, I explain. “Some people have the gift of performing music. Some people have the gift of listening to music.”
They smile and utter a knowing, “Oooooh.”
Then I continue. “Professional musicians have the gift of practice. Lots and lots of practice.” This usually gets a chuckle. It tells the overlooked and obvious truth. We think we can’t sing because we compare ourselves to the greats; Pavarotti, Dion, Fitzgerald, Vaughn, Caruso. These singers studied, unseen and unheard by the public, for many years. In obscurity, they made mistakes and corrected them. Slowly, they learned how to sing beautifully. We think it came easily for them because we weren’t there to hear the mistakes. Even Pavarotti got nodules.
Digging to uncover the truth, I ask the music doubter, “Did someone close to you say you couldn’t sing?” They tell me of teachers or choir directors who told them to be quiet when they tried to sing. They tell me of parents who thought studying music was a waste of time. There’s a pain to their voices. Nervous laughing, but pain. I wonder if they are nervous thinking I might ask them to sing.
You see, it’s not that they can’t sing, but that someone - someone other than themselves -- made the decision for them. It was too embarrassing to disagree, so they shut up. They learned to make jokes about it. They lost the song.
Anyone (other than those with medical impairment) can learn to sing. It just takes the right teacher and dedicated practice.
However, there’s a big difference between “can’t” and “don’t want.” I love to cook. I admire chefs who treat food as another art form. If I went to culinary school, I could learn the same techniques. I simply don’t want to spend the time it takes to become an executive chef. It’s not that I can’t become a chef; it’s that I don’t want to spend all that time studying. I might take an occasional class, but there’s not a lot of molecular gastronomy in my future.
It’s the same with music. One might not want to devote the time it takes to sing at the Met. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to learn how to sing adequately, if not beautifully.
Everyone is born with the gift of music, it just takes someone to show how to unwrap the gift. That’s where I come in. Let me show you how to unwrap your gift.