Friday 22 November 2013

I believe the children are our future....goes without saying really.

So, the muse of inspiration has been decidedly absent recently. But then inspiration is a bit like buses for me. There will be a couple of weeks where I can not think of a thing to write about and then I get two or three ideas at once. I will not incorporate all the ideas into one Diary Entry as that would be foolish. I will save some stuff to talk about for future entries. What I will say about what is coming, hopefully next week, is one will concern the first choral/oratorio gig I have had in 5 years (by the way if anyone out there needs a soprano soloist I am pretty free on Saturdays and I do a mean Messiah!). Yes, on the 23rd of November I will be singing the 2nd Soprano part in a Kodaly "Missa Brevis" (a cough and a spit really but hey, a job's a job). I will tell you all about it when it is done and dusted.

So what shall I waffle on about today I hear you ask. Well, I thought we might discuss children. Don't groan. As Whitney Houston and George Benson told us, they are our future. They then go on to say "teach them well and let them lead the way" and that is what I want to talk about today. 

As you probably know, if you follow this Diary religiously, I do quite a bit of singing teaching at the moment. About 50% of my students are under 16 and have varying degrees of interest. They all enjoy my company but don't always want to sing. One little girl I teach didn't really want to sing during one lesson we had and when I asked what was wrong she said "I don't want to sing today I just want to talk to you". Very flattering that a seven year old finds me so interesting but I don't think her mum would be very happy if we just chatted for half an hour. A lot of compromising and bartering was done that lesson I can tell you. The deal was, for every song she sang she could ask me a question. It worked out pretty well actually. This particular girl is a bit of a prodigy in my eyes. I started teaching her about two and a half years ago and she has the most astonishing memory. She literally hears a song once and can sing it back correctly. Always in tune and with a really sweet tone. This is one of the many reasons I love teaching. The undiscovered talent out there is ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, the girl I speak of is, now, only 8 years old so I am not trying to push her into a life of showbiz but she makes me smile every time I see her with her incredible ability.

The thing about kids these days, though, is they have such busy social lives and have so many interests. Therefore, who knows if any of the young students I teach will ever choose singing as a career. This really doesn't matter. As we all know, singing is good for the soul but, for many of us, life gets in the way and some of those things we did for fun as children fall by the wayside in adulthood. I really love it when I get a student who just wants to come for singing lessons because they want to sing again. One student used to come so she could sing with more confidence at church. One wanted to sing something at a friend's wedding but hadn't sung since school and wanted to ensure she still could sing. That is the thing about music lessons, not just singing lessons, they are not just for people who want to sing/perform professionally they can be simply for fun.
So what did you do as a child that you miss? Why not take it up again? It could be something like chess or netball (if you loved torturing insects or rolling around in mud then maybe you shouldn't). It is so easy to find a club to join. I think it is so important to hold onto those feelings of joy we had as children. For example I am thinking of starting an adult choir in my area at the moment. The thought terrifies me a little as it is not something I know a lot about but I think there should be as many opportunities for us adults to regress a little and remember the things we loved in the past and, for a lot of people, that is singing. If I do it I will let you know and, if you can get to South Croydon, you can come and join in.

Now, I realise I am forever going on about how I don't know if I want to be a performer anymore and whether or not I should concentrate on my teaching. I must say at the moment teaching is winning. I really, really love it. My agent called on Wednesday with an audition and I said no (to be fair it was profit share and the character was Irish, an accent I have yet to master so the job was never going to end up mine anyway). I am not saying that I will say no to every audition that comes my way anymore but I think the point is, at my age and at this stage in my career, I don't have to say yes to everything. I can afford to be choosy because I have something I enjoy doing equally. I no longer feel like I am just waiting for the phone to ring and that is a fabulous feeling.

Just to reinforce the subject of this Diary Entry please click on the link below to see my favourite YouTube clip of the moment. This little girl/boy (not sure which) is definitely the future!

Delightful Singing Toddler. Click and enjoy!

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