Sunday, May 16, 2010
Thank You for the Music
Yesterday I was taking a break on the couch watching a DVR of "The Mentalist". Rachel came waltzing into the kitchen (next to the family room where I was) and was singing one of her classical pieces in full voice. I turned up the volume to better hear my show when it seemed that the more I was turning it up, she was getting louder. I know now that wasn't that case, what was growing louder was my annoyance. I finally hollered into the kitchen,"Hey, Rachel, I can't hear!" She abruptly stopped and came into the family room. I could see by the look on her face that I had offended. I felt a little bad, but was anxious to finish my show.
It wasn't until later that night that I was reviewing the day and going to bed that I realized, "wow, I blew it!" How often do you get a full concert, unawares, out of a teenager? I wish I'd have muted the television, paused my show, (because, yes, DVR allows you to do that), and taken in the beauty of her voice.
I remember back in my high school days when I was in the musical, "Carousel". Many of the songs for my role of Julie Jordan were far above my second soprano range. Every time I tried to reach those daunting notes, my voice would fade and get breathy. I could picture my vocal chords running and screaming, hiding from any breath that might even think it could produce a sound. My heart would tense up, my throat would close, and I'd want to run off the stage at rehearsal. We tried vocal lessons from one of the vocal coaches of the Young Ambassadors at BYU. She gave me many techniques to try: "Yawn while you sing"."Put the sound over the top of your head." "Do the siren exercise before you sing." I employed these techniques the best I could as the performances came and went. I still, to this day, (20 something years later), go breathy when I am singing in the ward choir. I hate it!--That's where my dear Rachel comes in. She is doing things with her voice that I only dreamed of at her age and still do.
Does she realize she has that "ping" (as her vocal teacher calls it) in her tone? It's beautiful, clear, and rich. She's only 15 (well, tomorrow she will be)! She won't realize it if I shut her down when she's singing, that's for sure. So, I'm off to apologize.
Before I do, though, I want to say thanks, Dad and Mom, for instilling in your children the love of music. Most of my fondest memories are connected in some way to music. Singing with my dad on a Telethon when I was four, singing with my sister, Felicia, in our family band, TKO, hearing my brother dying of cancer sing, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives", hearing my oldest brother and his wife sing a song he wrote to each other at their wedding,standing around the piano with my sisters singing while Mom played for us, caroling at Christmas, knowing my little nephew, Robbie, who died at the age of 2, listened to the song "In This Very Room" on our family church CD every night before he'd go to bed, watching Dad sing in the Tabernacle Choir every Sunday, the list and memories go on and on. I am grateful that they are continuing to be made in my own family. Music has been the bond, the balm, and blessing of my life--next time my daughter comes waltzing through the kitchen singing I will listen with awe and gratitude.