There are two words that can best describe my biggest challenge, my hurdle of all hurdles, my proverbial Mount Everest: voice lessons.
I’m happy when I sing. The people around me, however, aren’t quite as content.
But, I’m finding that the urge to belt out a classic tune can’t be squelched by a few (okay, more than a few) groans. In fact, evidence is building that the urge shouldn’t be squelched. Music is therapeutic. So, here are the reasons, from not-so-scientifically collected data, that support my decision to put a music teacher to the test:
Squelch the urge:
- I am not the next American Idol.
- The dog presses her ears flat when I sing. I actually got her to howl once.
- Even I turn up the volume so I can’t hear myself follow along.
- Friends and family have been known to howl when I sing.
Don’t squelch the urge:
- Singing, like chanting in yoga practice, can be calming, creating a vibration along the spine that is centering as well as energizing.
- Like pranayama, or breathing practice, in yoga, I inhale deeply when I sing, expanding my lungs and flooding my cells with oxygen.
- I can stay ahead of the softened voice symptom that about forty percent of those with Parkinson’s get by exercising my diaphragm and learning to project my voice.
- A physical therapist once encouraged me to play music while on the treadmill. The beat helps with the gait patterning, she’d said. If I get stuck while walking around, start humming and the beat of the music can help to get unstuck.
- In Oliver Sacks’ new book, Musicophilia, he highlights a case of a woman with Parkinson’s. She doesn’t move much from her chair all day. But if someone plays a certain kind of music, she dances.
- It’s fun to sing. C’mon, who didn’t want to leap into the aisles and burst into song during Hairspray?
In the words of Earth, Wind, and Fire (to which I sing along, possibly even on key one of these days): Sing a song, it’ll make your day.