Admit it, all of us have flaws – failings – things that weâ€™re just not good at.Â Most of us try to avoid situations where our failings are evident.Â Why promote the negative, after all?Â Much better to stick to the stuff youâ€™re good at.
So when I talked to Mieke, my best friend from college, a while back and told her that my new job requires me to regularly sing in public, her response was, â€œOh, my God, Abs.Â Are you kidding?Â Those poor people!â€Â Mieke, of course, has a fabulous voice, and sang all the time in college.Â I, of course, have a horrible voice, and sang rarely.
But now I find myself needing to sing as part of my job.Â In front of people.Â Not just small children, but also their parents, some of whom can carry a tune very well.Â And thereâ€™s really no way around it.Â Story times for young kids need to have books AND fingerplays AND songs; itâ€™s the way kids learn the rhythm of the language, which eventually helps them with reading multi-syllabic words.Â Sometimes Iâ€™ll break out the boombox and play a song or two from a CD, but there are still times that I have to sing, and itâ€™s pretty painful.
I read Stephen Fryâ€™s autobiography last summer, and one of his phrases really resonated with me.Â Fry talks about how he can hear music perfectly in his head, but that he canâ€™t reproduce it; he says that heâ€™s â€œnot tone deaf, but tone dumb.â€Â Thatâ€™s exactly what I am, since all those intricacies of the music are so clear in my head, and my inability to voice that music is utterly frustrating to me.
But now that singing is part of my career, what do I do?Â Iâ€™ll admit to using the â€œmy voice sounds rough because my allergies are really bothering me todayâ€ excuse a lot.Â On particularly perky days Iâ€™ll play the role of cheerleader and say â€œI want to hear everyone sing this time!â€Â So far I havenâ€™t yet admitted to being tone dumb, but that time may come.Â And Iâ€™ve been practicing a lot, singing in the shower after my musical husband leaves for work.Â I think Iâ€™ve gotten â€œThe Itsy Bitsy Spiderâ€ down, but Iâ€™m still flummoxed by â€œThe More We Get Together.â€Â And â€Five Little Ducksâ€ is way, way tough.
Wish me luck.Â My singing is definitely a work-in-progress.