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They Said I couldn't Sing

Jerry Rasmussen 25 Jul 03 - 01:02 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 25 Jul 03 - 01:12 PM
KJ 25 Jul 03 - 01:17 PM
Shelley C 25 Jul 03 - 01:18 PM
GUEST,MMario 25 Jul 03 - 01:19 PM
Bill D 25 Jul 03 - 01:27 PM
John Hardly 25 Jul 03 - 01:35 PM
Jeri 25 Jul 03 - 01:50 PM
DonMeixner 25 Jul 03 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 25 Jul 03 - 02:04 PM
running.hare 25 Jul 03 - 02:08 PM
M.Ted 25 Jul 03 - 02:16 PM
Maryrrf 25 Jul 03 - 02:49 PM
PoppaGator 25 Jul 03 - 03:06 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 25 Jul 03 - 03:08 PM
alanabit 25 Jul 03 - 03:17 PM
kendall 25 Jul 03 - 03:31 PM
Deckman 25 Jul 03 - 03:59 PM
lady penelope 25 Jul 03 - 04:14 PM
Liz the Squeak 25 Jul 03 - 04:29 PM
Deckman 25 Jul 03 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,Wordless Woman 25 Jul 03 - 04:41 PM
Ferrara 25 Jul 03 - 04:54 PM
Deckman 25 Jul 03 - 05:19 PM
Burke 25 Jul 03 - 05:41 PM
madwaff 25 Jul 03 - 06:48 PM
pixieofdoom 25 Jul 03 - 07:26 PM
Deckman 25 Jul 03 - 07:53 PM
GUEST 25 Jul 03 - 08:47 PM
Morticia 25 Jul 03 - 08:58 PM
Deckman 25 Jul 03 - 10:47 PM
Ely 25 Jul 03 - 11:46 PM
Willa 26 Jul 03 - 09:01 AM
GUEST 26 Jul 03 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,Frankham 26 Jul 03 - 09:23 AM
kendall 26 Jul 03 - 09:46 AM
Morticia 26 Jul 03 - 12:46 PM
Ferrara 27 Jul 03 - 08:05 AM
kendall 27 Jul 03 - 08:27 AM
running.hare 27 Jul 03 - 08:32 AM
JennyO 27 Jul 03 - 10:29 AM
kendall 27 Jul 03 - 01:01 PM
Ferrara 27 Jul 03 - 10:00 PM
bflat 27 Jul 03 - 11:17 PM
JennyO 27 Jul 03 - 11:34 PM
Amergin 28 Jul 03 - 12:20 AM
Roger the Skiffler 28 Jul 03 - 04:03 AM
GUEST,KB 28 Jul 03 - 04:46 AM
GUEST,noddy 28 Jul 03 - 04:52 AM
Hrothgar 28 Jul 03 - 05:07 AM
mooman 28 Jul 03 - 05:20 AM
GUEST,cittern 28 Jul 03 - 07:13 AM
Wilfried Schaum 28 Jul 03 - 10:14 AM
Ferrara 28 Jul 03 - 10:38 AM
kendall 28 Jul 03 - 11:14 AM
Amos 28 Jul 03 - 11:32 AM
Deckman 28 Jul 03 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,KingBrilliant 28 Jul 03 - 01:26 PM
GUEST,Wordless Woman 28 Jul 03 - 02:08 PM
Catherine Jayne 28 Jul 03 - 02:18 PM
Don Firth 28 Jul 03 - 04:38 PM
Deckman 28 Jul 03 - 06:01 PM
kendall 28 Jul 03 - 06:06 PM
Amergin 28 Jul 03 - 07:03 PM
Don Firth 28 Jul 03 - 07:36 PM
Melani 29 Jul 03 - 12:16 AM
Wilfried Schaum 29 Jul 03 - 03:04 AM
Deckman 29 Jul 03 - 06:10 AM
PoppaGator 29 Jul 03 - 05:35 PM
Burke 29 Jul 03 - 05:40 PM
Deckman 29 Jul 03 - 05:53 PM
LadyJean 30 Jul 03 - 01:49 AM
Jim Dixon 23 Feb 10 - 11:40 AM
paula t 23 Feb 10 - 02:50 PM
Jack Campin 23 Feb 10 - 08:07 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 23 Feb 10 - 08:40 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 23 Feb 10 - 08:46 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 23 Feb 10 - 10:36 PM
Janie 23 Feb 10 - 11:12 PM
ClaireBear 24 Feb 10 - 02:41 AM
ClaireBear 24 Feb 10 - 02:53 AM
GUEST,Gail 24 Feb 10 - 05:15 AM
GUEST,Richtradition 24 Feb 10 - 07:03 AM
paula t 24 Feb 10 - 12:58 PM
Don Firth 24 Feb 10 - 03:19 PM
GUEST,Gail 24 Feb 10 - 03:47 PM
stallion 24 Feb 10 - 07:04 PM
paula t 25 Feb 10 - 12:43 PM
GUEST,leeneia 26 Feb 10 - 10:45 AM
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Subject: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 01:02 PM

Deckman asked me to start this thread, as he is busy building decks.
When he was a kid, someone told him that he couldn't sing. He wondered if there are any other Mudcatters who experienced the same thing.

No one ever told me I couldn't sing (although I was told there were other things that I'd never be able to do, that I did.) But, a good friend of mine who is a very revered folk singer and songwriter with many albums to his credit was told the same thing when he was a kid.
The choir director asked him just to mouth the words, because he couldn't sing, and never would be able to.

My oldest son was told by his third grade teacher that he would never be able to write legibly, and that he might as well get used to using a typewriter. By the time he was in 5th or 6th grade, his penmanship was better than the teacher's.

There's a moral here... don't ever let anyone else tell you that you can't do something, whether it's singing, going to school, learning to play an instrument, or anything else. Thank them for their advice, and express your sympathy for their lack of vision, and go ahead and try it.

I had a roommate in college who really wanted to learn to play guitar.
And sing. Problem was, he not only couldn't hit a note, he couldn't even graze it. He asked me if I thought it was stupid for him to learn guitar and sing, recognizing that he was a terrible singer. I told him that if he enjoyed doing it, to go ahead, and just do it for his own enjoyment. The bible says "make a joyful noise unto the Lord." There was no mention of being able to sing well... just sing with joy.

I was thinking of calling this thread... "Oh yeah!, who sez!" Feel free to share any experiences you've had when people told you you'd never be able to do something, and you proved them wrong..

Deckman and I would love to hear your story (and he'll elaborate on his on a rainy day when he can't be building decks..)

Jerry


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 01:12 PM

I'm sure we've all been told at some point in time that we can't sing.

I may not sing pretty, but I know I can sing with gusto.

It makes it fun for me. I've encouraged others who may not sing well, but want to sing. As time goes on, practice will help. Hearing yourself is key to helping make yourself sound better.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: KJ
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 01:17 PM

When I was six my music teacher said I couldn't be in the school choir because I'd got a voice like a frog! I wish she could hear me now!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Shelley C
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 01:18 PM

Sadly, I had the experience the other way round. As an indulged only child, I was told I could sing and encouraged to do party pieces.
But later I realised my voice sounded a bit naff! Not out of tune, just feeble. So I never sing solos now. Joining in with others is still fun, though.

Shelley


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 01:19 PM

the constant refarin of my family was "Shut up! you sound like a dying cow!"

The "nicest" comment re: my singing was - "It has a really annoying quality"

took me a LONG time to get past that...


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 01:27 PM

before this thread ends, you will read MANY ideas & suggestions,,,here are a few from a guy who doesn't sing often enough, but is surrounded by good singing and has followed it for almost 40 years...
------------------------------------------------

'almost' anyone can learn to sing if they want to enough. There are a VERY few who have some serious problem hearing the notes, etc...but it is mostly practice and attention....and perhaps some guidance from those who study 'how to'.

I am not a 'good' singer, but I do not work hard on it...and when I really try, it starts to work.

I remember a quote about writing which asks "Do you want to be a writer, or do you just wish you had written a book"? ...same goes for singing...if you ONLY read from books, and go to sings, having barely practiced a song, and stumble thru it, you (and others) will think "I can't do this"...

singing wellis more than remembering the words--and more than hitting all the notes....but these are kinda important. (yes...you CAN read the words, like in church choir, if you must, but obviously, it is nice if you can sing without sheets)...but hitting the notes is essential, and using a tape recorder to hear yourself helps.

You probably know someone who CAN sing well...ask them for ideas and, if you REALLY want to sing with people, sing to yourself constantly when you are alone! 729 repetitions of a song *grin* do help to get it in your head and train your vocal cords!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: John Hardly
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 01:35 PM

I never thought I couldn't sing until a fellow teenager expressed disbelief that I thought I could ably handle some singing chore (either a talent show or something -- I forget the details). I had sung in school choir -- even singing harmony from 4th grade on.

Wow. One little comment in passing and I have never stopped second guessing myself and my abilities.

But this is a subject about which I am SO sensitive because there are few things about which I am more frustrated in this life than the fact that I have a really common voice -- not a voice that can't carry a tune (I can still even sing harmonies), but a voice that sounds so UNmusical, so uninteresting, so weak, that I am to singing what, say, Joe Lieberman is to oratory.

If there's a happy ending to this it isn't in the ability to prove other's judgement of my abilities wrong, it's that I have found a circle of people, a style of music, and a level of performance that still allows me to share the joy of singing.

I am still crushed from time to time at having a HUGE limitation when it comes to participating in the one thing I most enjoy in life -- music. I guess I sing like a wheelchair basketball player plays basketball. If you asked him he'd probably say that he enjoys the sport...
.....but I'll betcha he'd tell you that he'd rather be playing the runnin' 'roung kinda hoops.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Jeri
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 01:50 PM

Shelley, 'feeble' voices can become strong. Trust me!

Singing was never a problem, however...
When I was old enough to play an instrument in our school orchestra, my mom took me to a music teacher to select the instrument. I thought violin looked and sounded interesting. I liked things with strings. I liked flute. The teacher took one look at my 2/3 of a left index finger and pronounced the entire hand unworthy of doing anything except grasping. The finger was too short, too fat at the end, and possibly he wrongly imagined it would be painful to play with.

I got a cornet. I psyched myself up for it, but it didn't last. I think it was about 9 years later when I got a dulcimer, then a banjo, then a fiddle, and a year and a half ago, a guitar.

It's HARD to give something a shot after believing you couldn't do it for most of your life. You can, though. I think telling a child they can't without letting them even try is terrible. Then again, if the drive is strong enough, they'll find a way with or without encouragement.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: DonMeixner
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 02:01 PM

For my story search out the "Why We Sing" threads. There are many others who share this insult.

Don


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 02:04 PM

When I was in primary school( about 8/9 years old ), my class was split up into singers and non-singers ! I was in the "non-singers" group. I remember being very upset about this. Anyway, in secondary school I redeemed myself by being choosen to sing in the school choir.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: running.hare
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 02:08 PM

as a young teenager my friends & brother were always telling me to shut up because I "couldn't sing". & Yes I was making mistakes, I knew I was missing notes I could hear, & feel it when I did. Only I never Got the chance to go back & correct it cos I was told to shut up. I therefor didn't practice & never got better. Only I'm stubbon so it diddn't last, but it had made me sensive.

The first memory of being told I couldn't sing however had nothing to do with my voice. When I was 8 I'd been in the nativity play choir all term, right from the point the teacher called a handfull of us in to test out a couple of songs. That year I was Gabrial (long blond hair meant I'd always been cast as an Angel, but that year I was promoted!) When it Got to the Dress rehersal I came forward as also to join the choir at the appropriate moment & another teacher came forward & had a go at me, saying that Gabrile couldn't possibly be in the choir!!! I was devestated! now I'd proberbly replie "what, Angels don't sing???" But when your little you get walked all over.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 02:16 PM

In fifth grade, three other classmates and I were pulled out of the chorus of ninety other fourth and fifth graders and told that we would not be singing in the Christmas pagent because our voices were "bad". After that, I didn't sing anymore, not in class, not in church--when friends and family went carolling, I stayed home.

I learned to play guitar, but only to accompany others. One day, strickly for laughs, an aquaintance and I worked up the Fugs"I Feel Like Homemade Shit" to sing in a Folksong society circle--it was well received, and later someone told me how much fun it had been to hear the song sung seriously, by real singers. I haven't stopped singing since--

Now the thing I wonder is, how much damage could three "bad" voices done in a chorus of 90 elementary school kids at an elementary christmas pagent?


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Maryrrf
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 02:49 PM

I was told I couldn't sing by the choir director when I was in fourth grade. I wasn't interested in choir singing anyway and kept up my folk singing. I'm fortunate that my Dad loved to hear me sing and encouraged me a lot.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: PoppaGator
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 03:06 PM

As a young kid I was usually in a choir, did perfectly OK if not exceptionally, and took it for granted that singing was something that most people, including myself, could do.

As a teenager, after taking up the guitar, my mother would hear me practicing songs and complain, "That's sounds terrible -- almost as bad as that Bob Dylan." Really!

Fortunately, I didn't take my mother's criticism seriously.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 03:08 PM

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR It makes me so angry to hear so many stories about folks being told they can't sing! I hear this story time after time in my career- from parents of my students at school, and from women who would love to sing in my chorus, "but you see, I can't sing, my third grade teacher told me so!"
It's gotten so that I'm convinced that the past generations of music teachers saw it as their task to eliminate as many potential musicians as possible! What damage they did!
I begin my work with children and adults with the assumption that of course you can sing! Very rarely have I been proven wrong. Only twice have I ever worked with adults who really, truly, in spite of all their (and my) attempts, could not match pitch. They are rare exceptions, and I bet if I (or someone) had gotten to them early enough, they'd be singing, too. Singing has a lot to do technically with the ability to hear, and process, and listen, but it is so important to one's health and well-being to be able to let loose and sing, without fear of condemnation!
So y'all just sing, dammit! OK?

*whew* end of rant. Thanks, I feel better. Jerry, thanks for this thread!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: alanabit
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 03:17 PM

Exactly the opposite story here Maryrrf. My Mum cheerfully told anyone who would listen that I had "a voice like a foghorn" - and expected me to agree. My father once told me that I was obviously wasting my time playing music: "I don't believe you have got any music in you." I have been told often that I can't sing, can't play and that I am not funny. I guess that's up to the audience to judge. One thing I'm not though is unlucky. I have been on the radio in the UK, Germany, Austria and the USA and on TV all over Europe and to my surprise - some of Northern Africa. A little self belief and a lot of luck can help you on your way!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: kendall
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 03:31 PM

It's amazing how much damage teachers are allowed to get away with. Make me wonder why they get to be called teachers.
Jerry, my best friend in the world was told the same thing; I'll bet it's the same guy!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Deckman
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 03:59 PM

Hi Jerry ... great thread idea ... thanks for starting it! Yes, I also was a frightened third grader (9 years old) when "Miss Spaulding" brought me to the front of the class, had me stand in the crook of the piano, and try to sing the notes she played on the keys. I couldn't. I didn't learn for another year that I had a severe, and temporary hearing loss at that time in my life. After the ridicule of my classmates, she also riduculed me and told me to shut up and sit down as I "couldn't carry a tune in a basket." I was humiliated, of course. But, and here's the happy part of the story, I was also "saved" by another public school teacher some seven years later. He was a jewell, Mr. Harry Lemon (may he continue to be happy in Heaven and still leading the choir)! When I tried out for High School Choir, he did nothing but ENCOURAGE me. Quite wonderful really. I've always compared him to Teddy Roosevelt: huge man, bombastic, wouldn't take "no" for an answer. His thrust was ... "Of course you can sing. What's the matter with you? You don't believe that stupid Miss Spaudling, do you? She's the one that carry a tune in a basket! I know, I gave her singing lessons!"

The capper on this story is that the Summer I graduated from High School, Harry Lemon contacted me. He had a Summer job (teachers are always poor) as a leader of group singing around the campfire at a local State park. He asked me to bring my guitar and we sang together for many Saturday evenings. Bless that man! CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson ... and, thanks again Jerry.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: lady penelope
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 04:14 PM

From one who was always shoved foward at family gatherings and harrassed into to singing ("she's got a lovely voice......") I am always furious at people being told they can't sing ( at least then someone else would get shoved forward and told to sing, misery loves company you know......)    : )

I have only ever met two people who really can't sing. Both of them simply couldn't reproduce any note sung to them, they couldn't pitch at all. But both of them played instruments (one piano, the other guitar).

A very good friend of mine finds it almost impossible to sing in tune unless some one else is singing along ( something to do with the way she's partially deaf ). She sings in at least 3 choirs!

I am always amazed at people who will dismiss a voice simply because it doesn't sound the way they like. This does not mean you can't sing. It's like Parker and kilts. It took me years to figure out that I didn't look horrible in a kilt. Parker just hates kilts. He doesn't care who's wearing them. Some people are the same with voices.

Most people who think they can't sing sound out of tune because they so rarely use their singing voices, practice sorts that out. Practice applies to those born with lovely voices too. I sound flat if I leave it too long between practice sessions. The rest is confidence and a small dollop of bravery.

Remember, when violinists first learn to play, they sound like strangled cats to a player. It's only through practice and no one throwing shoes at them that they ever get better!

Gee it sum!!!!

TTFN Lady P.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 04:29 PM

Shelley - I was a quiet singer. I used to just about whisper in tune.

Ask Willa how loud I am now.

It was all down to a teacher called Sonia Hewitt - who most of the time was a complete bitch, but she once said to me that although I had the loudest voice in the class, I sang like a startled rabbit, and I should try and deafen her. Ever see 'Sister Act' where Whoopi Goldberg turns a whispering nun into Tina Turner? It was a bit like that, and yes, I deafened her. That was when I was 8.

I've never been told I can't sing, just that I didn't sing loudly.

One thing that really did insult me though, was after nearly 30 years singing in various choirs, to be told by the musical director of my church that 'we've got lots of new stuff, how about you sit this one out seeing as you didn't make (an unadvertised) practice'. It may have been new to him, but I'd seen most of it at least once or twice before and was singing some of it before he'd started school.

Makes me even more proud of the fact that I sight read 2 choral pieces I'd never seen or heard before, and was considered good enough to sing in St Martin in the Fields, from cold to concert, in 3 weeks.

LTS


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Deckman
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 04:29 PM

Alanabit ... I loved your phrase ... "a little self belief." Well said! However, the problem is that when you are little, a "little self belief" is beyond comprehension, eh? CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST,Wordless Woman
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 04:41 PM

A co-worker told me that as a child a teacher told him he had a terrible voice. He became so self-conscious that he never sang again. Even now, some fifty years later, he will not even sing Happy Birthday at a family gathering. Very sad.

I, on the other hand, will sing with gusto every chance I get ? despite not being able to carry a tune. I'm looking for a voice teacher (and the dosh to pay for said lessons) to improve.

It may be noise but at least it's joyful.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Ferrara
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 04:54 PM

John Hardly -- "so weak, that I am to singing what, say, Joe Lieberman is to oratory." -- LOL, in fact you had me shouting with laughter!

It's funny. Just this morning I said something to Bill about how my parents always said "Rita is artistic, but her sister is the one with the musical talent." It left a nervousness about music, a feeling that I'll-never-be-good-enough, that still gets in my way when I sing in front of strangers.

And what is it about third grade? (Or third grade music teachers?) I couldn't hear differences in pitch, so when the music teacher said to sing "higher" I sang louder. I just could NOT get it. They kept me after class to try to teach me to reach the high notes, I think we were singing "America the Beautiful." This was not bad teaching or criticism. She really wanted to help me understand and find the notes.

Luckily my parents had us take piano lessons and somehow I learned to hear and reproduce pitch, I think the piano playing helped. I won't ever have perfect pitch but I don't make people wince too obviously, either.

I had a big loud Italian voice, too, and was asked not to sing in at least one chorus because (among other things) I was too darned loud. Didn't know how not to sing loudly back then. Now the big voice is an advantage because I'm going to shantey sings in pubs, you have to make some noise to be heard at all.

One thing we all have in common, besides having been criticized or "put down" early in life; we all kept on singing. Good for us.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Deckman
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 05:19 PM

" We all keep on singing!" You got that right, and just ask Bride Judy and she'll probably add something like .... "and he never shuts up!" CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Burke
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 05:41 PM

I actually started out quite confident of my singing ability. In imitating one of those pseudoopera sopranos in church from a pretty young age, I also learned to belt it out as well. I picked up 3 chord guitar & did some song leading at Girl Scout day camps along the way.

When I got to high school choir, suddenly I was being told I was singing flat. A new choir director my Senior year shuttled me off to the alto section. My confidence plummeted. I tried out for choir in college & was the only one I knew who did not even make the duffers choir. I spent my college years with very little singing, while attending an institution known for its music program.

I'm not sure of what my problem was, but weak sight singing ability was certainly part of it.

After college I got back into church choir singing. I have picked up a lot here & there about vocal production & do manage to be in tune nowadays.

I'm deeply involved in Sacred Harp singing, which has a certain kind of music education built right into it. We have many singers with school experiences similar to those mentioned here. As a consequence of my involvement I've developed lots of opinions about music education. My strongest opinion is that short of majoring in music singers are just left alone to figure it out on their own & this is wrong. That 'it' includes vocal production, reading music, following the conductor, understanding timing, singing harmony, blending, being 'in tune,' ... you name it. A lot of this has to do with learning to listen, but just telling someone to listen is not enough if you don't know what to listen for.

It took me about 20 years to realize how really angry I feel about my high school and, more importantly, college experiences. In what other area is someone not quite good enough, left alone to just try again later with no help at all? How was I supposed to get any better? Even one semester of voice lessons only had me working on particular songs, not any good overall understanding or ways to make the choir. I understand my alma mater later changed its choirs so that anyone who wanted to be in a choir was.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: madwaff
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 06:48 PM

I was damned from an early age, being female with a VERY low voice (turns out (35 years on) I'm a natural tenor, dropping lower on a good day!) Our music teacher 'graded' us all for the choir by doing scales, and started at middle 'c', going up - naturally I ran out fairly quickly, not having hacked falsetto by then, so she said, snottily, 'very limited alto'. I was relegated to the back row, and spent years mouthing soundlessly and wondering what was wrong with me. I spent ages trying to sing alto, and failing miserably, although I began to find tunes I could sing if I went along with the guys. It took until a couple of years ago, when a very good friend with musical training figured out what was really going on - and I'm having a great time and making a decent noise at last! Don't give up, anyone, it may just be you haven't found your voice yet!

madwaff


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: pixieofdoom
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 07:26 PM

I was told at school that I couldn't sing. Now, I can sing reasonably by myself but as soon as I think anyone else can hear I get nervous and sing out of tune. Though sometimes being told you can't do something increases your determination, I've got a severely dyslexic friend who was told repeatedly by teachers, friends and family that he'd never succeed academically. He wanted to prove them wrong so badly that he's now doing a Ph.d in molecular physics


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Deckman
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 07:53 PM

My wonderful "Bride Judy" got her vocal paranoia from her CHILDREN! That's backwards. We're supposed to be intimidated by our elders, not our youngsters! By the time I met her, fell in love (still am), and married her, there was not enough money in the world to get her to sing at a hoot. Yet, I occasionally hear her humming, or singing lightly when she thinks she's alone, and I am totally charmed. (did I mention that I'm still in love?) Go figure?


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 08:47 PM

Madwaff, as the tallest female in my school, I sang not just tenor but BASS in the choir. It did get me a bit of ragging but it also let me learn a good deal about harmony since we basses never carried the main melody line. My range, or perhaps my ability to tap into it, expanded in maturity, and during junior year I moved up to tenor. Now I take the higher or lower part depending on with whom I am singing. One of my favorite folks to sing with is a man with a pure sweet tenor and I take the low end.
Like several on this thread, I have no trouble singing along well and truly but my voice suddenly goes weak or wobbly if I take a solo. I used to act in summer stock musicals and of course was always the lead's comic relief friend. Some law states the leads must be sopranos and must wind up with the most decorative guy, but fortunately the compensatory rule gives the "comic relief" friend the fun character songs and the interesting guys!
At a song circle in Co. Clare one time, a kindly elderly woman said to me, "Keep singing. You will find your voice." I was 52 at the time.
For years I thought it my luck to be born with the love of the song and the voice of an audience.
Now I have taught all my kids and rentakids and anyone else who will listen, "If you can walk, you dance. If you can talk, you sing."


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Morticia
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 08:58 PM

I was told I can't sing......and for years I believed that, until some sweet person in a folk festival said that she thought I had a terrific voice and why wasn't I singing solo? It still took a year or so but I got there.....and I don't think I sing too badly, and oh my goodness, how I love to do it.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Deckman
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 10:47 PM

"If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing." Quite true and how wonderful. Early on, I understood the concept that singing is just exrended speaking. CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Ely
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 11:46 PM

Several people told me I couldn't sing (it was true--I couldn't stay on key to save my life). I'm still not a GOOD singer but at least I can stay on key.

My brother was always told that I was the artistic one, so he never tried anything artistic. Turns out, the kid can draw, he just never did because it was "his sister's thing".


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Willa
Date: 26 Jul 03 - 09:01 AM

Me too! I'm glad KJ, Morticia and LTS didn't let others put them off, otherwise I'd never have got to enjoy their singing.

My music teacher put me in the non-singers group at 12, and there I stayed all through school. (Didn't dare question a teacher's authority then, and certainly didn't tell my parents.) The one thing I do thank Miss M for is that we sound through a song book (wish I could remember the title) full of what I now know were folk songs.

My son started taking me to Cottingham Live about five years ago, and there I first got the buzz of singing solo. Now I'm hooked!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jul 03 - 09:20 AM

With masses of hard work and practice I can be an indifferent singer - as opposed to a bloody awful one. Considering how many boring floor singers there are on the folk scene it doesn't seem worth the effort to add to their number.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST,Frankham
Date: 26 Jul 03 - 09:23 AM

Unless there is something organically wrong with the vocal cords or impairment of the mechanism, any one can learn to sing well. Be very cautious about a voice teacher, though. Do the research. Get good lessons and you will be rewarded.

I was told to mouth the words in a choir. I have never liked singing in choirs since. I've made my living as a singer and player for some time now.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: kendall
Date: 26 Jul 03 - 09:46 AM

"She found a station that played that stuff,
some call country, that was bad enough, then she started
singing along! Had a voice that would shatter Tupperware..." (It sure as hell aint country)


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Morticia
Date: 26 Jul 03 - 12:46 PM

Gosh, I'm very glad it didn't put you off either Willa, imagine anyone saying that about a wonderful voice like yours!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Ferrara
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 08:05 AM

You know, these experiences aren't too different from those of people whose metabolism, mental processes or whatever are a little off the beaten track. They get ignored, neglected and put down, too.

Was talking with a friend this morning who has been told over and over again that "she's crazy" because her medical problems are both severe and hard to diagnose. For that matter, my weakness due to chronic iron deficiency was treated as psychosomatic until after I had my heart transplant, when suddenly the doctors had to pay a whole lot of attention to my various problems....

There is a certain middle-of-the-road mentality that just devalues anything that's a little difficult to deal with (such as someone needing to learn to stay on pitch) or a little unusual (such as a woman with a bass or tenor voice.) People with this mentality don't want to be bothered with anyone or anything complex, or that takes a little extra effort or intelligence to understand and work with.

One thing that makes the folk music community so incredibly rewarding for me is that most of us value and respect individual differences, rather than ignoring, excluding, neglecting, or putting down the people who aren't standing squarely in the middle of the herd.

Rita F


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: kendall
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 08:27 AM

Anyone who has been around chickens will tell you that if a chicken starts acting just a bit different, it will be killed by the others. It's nature. Sad that we humans, so highly evolved, still think like chickens. It's that reptilian part of our brains that make us react to "different" people.
I think of Rose, in the movie, AFRICAN QUEEN, when she said, "Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we were put on earth to rise above"


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: running.hare
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 08:32 AM

Rita has a good point. Through out my teen years I suffered from ME. Was hard enough to get people to except it, and me, once I knew thats what the probem was, before it was imposible!!!!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: JennyO
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 10:29 AM

Ferrara, what you said about the folk music community rings very true for me, too. It means a lot for me to feel accepted for who I am, even though I am not exactly conventional. I have a wonderful support network of folkie friends who nourish my soul every day.

I grew up in a very religious, judgmental family which had pretty rigid ideas about what my life should look like. There was a lot of music, but it was church music and went hand in hand with all the guilt and alienation that I felt from the church. I was not just encouraged to sing, I was ordered to sing - at eisteddfods and in front of my mother's friends, even though I was shy and didn't want to. I also sang in church choirs and but fortunately I liked that.

Thanks to my mother's pushiness, it was a long time before I managed to get past feelings of embarrassment to be comfortable singing solo. When I finally found enough courage to stand up to my family, I lost contact with most of them, and have no desire to ever place myself within striking distance again. My brother stuck by me however, and I have my two wonderful children and now a grandson.

Very importantly, I have found my folk family. I finally am able to get up and perform - sing, MC a folk club, recite poetry, and laugh if I make a mistake, and not wish the ground would swallow me up. I am free now to present a song for the sake of the song - get lost in it - instead of always having to worry whether I am good enough. I know others have better voices than me, but that doesn't matter so much now. The main thing is I am enjoying singing!

Jenny


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: kendall
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 01:01 PM

What is ME,? Lizabee


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Ferrara
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 10:00 PM

Even more important that being accepted, I think, is the fact that people in the folk community are likely to value, appreciate and even admire many of the very qualities that may make another person seem "unconventional."

Lizabee, I was also wondering about ME.... Didn't recognize the term.

Rita F


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: bflat
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 11:17 PM

Everybody has a voice in the choir. Sing if you love it and the heck with the naysayers.

Ellen


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: JennyO
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 11:34 PM

Yes Ferrara, you've hit the nail on the head - I do feel valued for my unusual qualities. I think there are a lot of people like me in the folk community, who have been through some hard times, and have learned and grown from their experiences, and these are the kind of thinking people who can see past conventional standards to what is really important. I love 'em and I value them very much as friends.

Jenny


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Amergin
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 12:20 AM

i grea up listening to my mom go on about how i cannot sing because I cannot hear real well...whether that is true or not I leave to those who I suffer through my singing... ;)


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 04:03 AM

They said I couldn't sing at school as well, they're still saying it, 50+ years on. I still can't but I DO!!! (My Greek friend says "Roger sings not good but with feeling".)

RtS


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST,KB
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 04:46 AM

Try here for a link to information about ME, which is a horrible debilitating condition that makes people feel like wet dishrags, but which is one of those things that is not very well understood & people tend to think that sufferers should just pull themselves together. A friend's wife suffers with it, and it sounds just aweful - everyone that has it has my sympathy.
here


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST,noddy
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 04:52 AM

I can sing ..its just that the notes I chose are different from everyone else. And of course it always sounds best when no-one is listening.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Hrothgar
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 05:07 AM

There is no corner of hell hot enough for somebody who tells a child that he or she cannot sing.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: mooman
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 05:20 AM

I was also very unkindly told I couldn't sing and school and was prevented from doing any music at school as a result of it. The upshot of this was I immediately ran out, purchased my first guitar and got infected with GAS at the age of 11.

Sadly, the statement was correct but, nevertheless, I have overcome the stigma and do make public noises that purport to be singing now!

moo


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST,cittern
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 07:13 AM

"Feel free to share any experiences you've had when people told you you'd never be able to do something, and you proved them wrong."

When I was in junior school a teacher told my mother:

"Your son will never be any use to anyone as long as he lives".

Score card so far:

* two university degrees (including a doctorate)
* a successful computer software consultancy practice (18 years old)
* a 13 year amateur motor racing career (including many pole positions, fastest laps, class wins and one championship win)

Still on the to-do list:

* become a better sound engineer for my partner
* become a better musician (a task which will never end)

The singing voice isn't there, the confidence in performance isn't there, but maybe, just maybe, this will come. The main thing is that I will try. No matter what anyone says!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 10:14 AM

There are people who cannot sing. A dear friend of mine liked singing very much but could not keep the tune. I tried to train him, but in vain. So I told him to sing with the crew, but only piano to pianissimo. It worked well.
The same happened to me. When I lost my singing capacities due to an accident (even the vocal chords know the parting trauma) I followed this advice, too. When we meet with other friends and sing jolly drinking songs we do it also in fear that we have to do it as duo, the others turned over by our voices and rolling around with lots of laughter. But we enjoy it.

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Ferrara
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 10:38 AM

Wilfried ... LOL again.

I wonder if there should be a new thread about "Who encouraged you to sing?" ...

One of the greatest moments for me, in terms of developing confidence, came in around 1978, at the FSGW Getaway. Up until that time I hung back whenever I was in a group, figuring people would rather hear the "good" singers than be bored by me.

That year, a wonderful singer named Janice Cole (she of the blues/torch version of Rubber Ducky) asked me to join her in singing Mary Hamilton at the Sunday evening concert. I said Sure! -- knowing that with Janice singing, it could hardly go wrong. So, we signed up on the concert list.

All weekend I nagged Janice to practice the song with me and she kept putting me off. Finally about 5 pm on Sunday she said, "Oh, I don't intend to sing it with you! You sound just fine by yourself. I like the way you sing Mary Hamilton and I think other people should get to hear it, but I knew you'd never go up there and sing it unless you thought I was going to sing too." I didn't know whether to kiss her or kill her.

But after that I was a bit less shy after singing in public. I figured that if Janice went to that much trouble to get me to sing out, there must be at least a few people who wouldn't mind if I sang oftener.... Have often blessed her for that.

What about other people? Who encouraged you and helped you get over the hump? A number of people have already mentioned someone or some incident that has helped them keep singing in spite of it all....


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: kendall
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 11:14 AM

I'm going to stick my neck out and state that people who sing off key make my nerves bleed. So often I see little kids forced to sing when they have no clue about timing or key, and it's painful to listen to.My ex wife couldn't carry a note with a co signer, and, what was worse, I was unable to explain the difference between being on key and off key.Usually, I can leave, but when I can't it's hell. Anyone else brave enough to speak up?


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Amos
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 11:32 AM

I have heard Amergin sing, and it sounds fine to me.

Kendall -- I sympathize, but I always opt for kindly tolerance when I can stand it. As someone mentioned above, it's a hard thing to persuade someone they cannot sing, even if true. Much preferable to persuade them they can sing better!!

A


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Deckman
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 12:42 PM

Kendall ... I'll jump in here with you. If it's a stranger who's singing makes my teeth itch, and I can make it to the door, I just absent myself. However, there is one person who is in our circle of long time friends that I always encourage, even though her sense of pitch is fuzzy. The reason is that this person simply LOVES the music so very much that I (we) can't do anything else. Our hoots would not be complete without this person's contributions. Does that make any sense to you! CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST,KingBrilliant
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 01:26 PM

Yes, some people can be "difficult" to listen to :>)
I find that on those occasions you can still enjoy their performance by listening to the song rather than the singing. At the very least you can appreciate their intentions - and they are likely to get better with experience rather than worse, so that can be very nice to hear as well.
The above comments are made with an informal singaround type situation in mind - other situations may be different.
Plus I'm in a nice mellow mood whilst writing it...... I expect I am sometimes guilty of dismissing someone's singing.....

Another point I would like to make is that sometimes its not so much that someone has said that one can't sing, as that no-one has said that one can. I didn't realise I could sing worth listening to until I was 34 - before that I knew I loved to sing, but just never realised anyone might like to hear it! So now I've turned into this monster woman who nags at her friends & family to just come along & have a go - and then I get all the fun of saying "I told you so"!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST,Wordless Woman
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 02:08 PM

No fear you people with itching teeth and bleeding nerves. My singing may be tuneless and rackety but I've the common sense to limit it to the shower so settle down and stop wincing. Still would like to take lessons, though. Maybe then I would expand to the rest of the house. Could the garden be far behind?

All of you good singers make the world a bit more golden.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 02:18 PM

I have never been told that I can't sing. I was encouraged from an early age to sing. I was pushed forward to sing when I was at school and I was in an Abbey Choir for many years. I love to sing but for some reason I am lacking confidence to sing solo which is strange as it never used to bother me before!

Liz has an amazing vocal range and yes it is loud! morty has a lovely voice and I like to hear them both sing! I've heard Pixie sing and she has a lovely voice too....would like to hear you sing again at some point!!!

Khatt


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Don Firth
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 04:38 PM

I never did much singing as a kid, other than at Scout camp and such things, although in high school, I hung out with the music and drama crowd. There were some really talented kids in that crew, some of whom went on to fame and fortune. When I was a senior in high school, a somewhat older friend got interested in opera, went to a voice teacher and discovered that he had a fairly good tenor voice, and became so enthusiastic about it that I wound up going to the same teacher. Turned out I am a bass-baritone. I had no idea what I was going to do with my voice, but I went around blatting tenor arias?an octave down?for awhile. Then, at the University in the early Fifties, I fell in with a small klatch of folk singers and got permanently hooked on folk music.

What practically shut me down shortly after I started was the first time I heard my own voice on tape. "Gawdawful!" I thought, but others assured me that I sounded fine, and everybody reacts that way the first time they hear themselves. So when I had initial doubts, other people actually encouraged me to keep at it. Thanks, folks! Thanks a million!!

Probably one of the reasons that I never actually joined in the musical and dramatic activities in high school was that, due to polio at the age of two, I walked with a leg brace and a pair of crutches. It didn't seem likely to me that there were many parts for someone to galumph around on stage with crutches, so I never tried. One of the teachers involved in the next year's senior play, which was to be "You Can't Take it With You," liked my speaking voice and asked me if I would like to take the role of Grandfather. I raised the question about my crutches, and he told me that, in the movie, Lionel Barrymore played the role while sitting in a wheelchair. No big deal! But unfortunately I was graduating that June, so there went my acting career.

Picking up on "Feel free to share any experiences you've had when people told you you'd never be able to do something, and you proved them wrong." if I may:?

One thing I did do that surprised even me was to take up fencing. At about fourteen or so, I had become addicted to Sabatini's historical novels (Scaramouche, Captain Blood, Master-at-Arms, etc.) and swashbuckler movies, such some of the Errol Flynn epics, and "The Mark of Zorro" with Tyrone Power and Basil Rathbone. I wanted to learn to fence so bad I could taste it. I knew it was impossible. But I also knew they had a fencing class at the YMCA, so I went there one evening to watch, and I met Katherine Modrell, a local champion who taught the class. I told her that I would really like to learn to fence, but I figured that there wasn't much chance. Was there?

She looked at this fourteen-year-old kid standing on crutches, and instead of quite reasonable telling me that I was right, there was no chance, she said, "Okay, let's see what you can do." She asked me questions and made suggestions. It turned out I could stand with the support of one crutch and assume a straight-legged approximation of the guard position. I couldn't lunge at all, but I could step fairly briskly back and forth (advance and retreat). Once she determined that I could stand and move with some stability, she handed me a foil and mask and we started in on bladework. She reasoned that if my opponent was close enough to land touches on me, I was close enough to land touches on them. In the lessons, we worked especially hard on defensive offense: parry-ripostes and counter-attacks. After several weeks, she let me squared off with other students. I was actually doing it, and I was having a ball!! This was long before anything like Special Olympics or wheelchair fencing came along, so it was assumed that I would never participate in any fencing tournament activity; certainly not any of the regular tournaments that were going on.

But?when I was about nineteen, I took some fencing lessons from Hans Halberstadt in San Francisco. I was looking forward to a competition that was coming up, because it would give me a chance to see some of the best fencers in the country in action. Fred Linkmeyer, three times national épée champion would be there, along with Salvatore Giambra and Gerry Biagini, both of whom were on the U. S. Olympic team. I stood there with my mouth opened when Maestro Halberstadt insisted that I enter! After I digested the idea, I figured, "Okay. I'll get creamed, puréed, and spread on toast, but at least it will give me a chance to actually play with The Big Kids." There were twelve entrants, including the Linkmeyer, Giambra, and Biagini. To the surprise of almost everybody, my own most of all, I finished in fourth place!

Halberstadt, though, looked smug. He had fenced in the Olympics when he was young, but now he was seventy years old, built like a beer barrel, and his legs were shot. His footwork was not much more extensive than mine was. "Fencing is in the hand and in the brain," he said. "It's not all fast lunges and fancy footwork." Gerry Biagini was terrific: twenty-three years old, tall and slender, fast as greased lightning, and beautiful to watch. Yet, when he and Halberstadt fenced seriously, Halberstadt could land three touches on Gerry for each touch Gerry landed on him. Hand and brains, both of which Gerry had, but he didn't have Halberstadt's experience and cunning. Good fencing can be like high-speed chess.

When I returned to Seattle, people, including Bill Modrell, Katherine's husband and one of the best fencers in Seattle, thought I had lost my mind when I said I was going to enter the next Pacific International Tournament. But I wound up making it all the way to the finals. In subsequent tournaments over the next five or six years, I actually beat Bill a couple of times, and on one occasion, I defeated the then Canadian National Champion, George Braund, five to two. I never won a championship, but I amassed a satisfying collection of second and third place medals and trophies.

I eventually dropped out of fencing when I became deeply involved with folk music. But it occurred to me that a crucial moment was when Hans Halberstadt pushed me beyond what I thought I was capable of. But ever that wouldn't have happened were it not for Katherine Modrell who looked me over, saw beyond the crutches, and said, "Okay, let's see what you can do."

Thank you, Maestro. And especially, thank you, Katherine.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Deckman
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 06:01 PM

I have to add something about Don's quite wonderful story. I know that everything he said here is true. The SECOND time I ever met Don was at a swimming pool. In those days he swam daily for health and excersise. I still remember watching him storm across the pool, without the use of his legs ... all butterfly strokes! Simply amazing to see. (the FIRST time I ever met him, we ended up singing on stage together). CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: kendall
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 06:06 PM

I believe in singing lessons. If you want to do something, and you don't know how, you find out, yes?


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Amergin
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 07:03 PM

wow, Don, you're story gives me shivers....any chance of you making Camp Runamuck this year? (you too Bob)


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Don Firth
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 07:36 PM

Amergin, I would love to, but I kinda have my doubts. Thirteen and a half years ago I took a tumble and learned that I don't bounce like I used to. I broke my "good" leg, and that took me off the crutches and put me in a wheelchair. Then about three years ago, I brilliantly and gracefully did it again. Same #$%!@# leg! In the wheelchair, my left leg tends to stick out in front of me like a bowsprit, which is pretty awkward sometimes. Getting in an out of a car is a bearcat (although I grit my teeth and do it), and I can't afford a van with the necessary lift or ramp. But trying to use public rest rooms is a real bitch. So these days I don't travel very easily.

I'll give it some serious thought, though.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Melani
Date: 29 Jul 03 - 12:16 AM

When I was a kid, my mother told me I couldn't carry a tune. Can too.

I know at least two people who have improved a lot just with practice. One went from being mediocre to pretty good, and one has gone from being about the worst singer I ever heard to quite decent, and improving all the time.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 29 Jul 03 - 03:04 AM

Don - just what I wanted to add to my first post you have written so well about your handicap and the way to master it.
I consider it a crime to discourage a child from what it wants so hard to do, and often there is a way to fulfil its wishes with the right support, as you did with the help of your wonderful trainer.
In my scout troop we had a boy slightly disabled: he could walk tiptoes only. We had to walk a little bit slower as usual, but he qualified with all other drills a scout has to undergo. I told him that in camp we needed a cook, so he could stay and prepare the meals while we others were out in the woods. He asked his mother for some recipes and started cooking. While the other troops ate their usual grub and stew they looked enviously at our meals with 2 or 3 plates, all prepared in 1 big pot, its lid used as a pan. He improved his skills and after some years he was a praised hobby cook. Besides he had a wonderful voice.
When my scouts grew older, I started a new troop from the local school for the blind. I never saw a troop so eager to do what everyone thought they could not do; some of them had a little bit of their eye sight left. At first I was timid to let them chop their fire wood, but they managed it, and no one hurt himself. Erecting a tent with a fireplace in it? No problem - we others were drilled to do it in dark night, so it was no problem for them. An older one was incorporated in my old troop, and when he jumped short over a creek he was the first to laugh loudest when standing in the water. Oh those happy days!

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Deckman
Date: 29 Jul 03 - 06:10 AM

Very well said Wilfried!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: PoppaGator
Date: 29 Jul 03 - 05:35 PM

Deckman, my kids shut me up for a while (like yours did to your bride). When they were very young they enjoyed hearing me sing, but later they got jaded and ultracool and gave me so much crap about my taste in music that I just stopped rather than put up with their abuse.

Now that they're semi-grown-up and "out the way" as we say in New Orleans, I'm up to my old tricks again.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Burke
Date: 29 Jul 03 - 05:40 PM

It was my sister who shut me up. I'd sing along with the radio or record player & she'd complain about my interference with the songs.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Deckman
Date: 29 Jul 03 - 05:53 PM

PoppaGator ... I know exactly what you mean. Of all my three children, keepers every one, only my youngest is serious about his music. They all were seriously exposed to music whilst growing up, but Chris did take to the guitar. But alas, he ALSO took to the electric bass. And even worse than that, he's darned good at it. Good enough that he's frequantly pursued by some of the NorthWests better rock bands. But, and here's the good part of the story, he got totally disgusted with the scene: the drugs, the groupies, and whatever, that he won't perform with them anymnore, though he likes to jam occasionally. He lives a couple of hours North of me, so we don't get to hang out as much as I would like. And yet, whenever he is here, he usually grabs one of my Martins, starts a few riffs, and asks me to show him him something. I actually once had the GREAT PLEASURE of overhearing him brag to one of his friends about me and my music. Now, that's a special thrill that every olde fart folksinger Dad should have. CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: LadyJean
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 01:49 AM

I wasn't allowed to sing as a child! I endured Delcato therapy, a splendid way to torture children! I was expected to crawl for 45 minutes a day. (Not all at once, fortunately.) Walk like a chorus girl pretending to be a tin soldier, and NOT sing.
Blessedly I only endured a year and a half of Delcato torture. In high school, I took voice lessons. They were one of the few bright spots in a wretched adolesence. I loved them passionately. I reccomend the experience. I LOVED singing in Italian. (I don't speak Italian, I just sang in it once.)
With regards to lousy voices, have you ever heard of Edity Piaf. Her voice was anything but great, but oh how that sparrow could sing! (Piaf is French for sparrow.)


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 23 Feb 10 - 11:40 AM

No one exactly told me I couldn't sing. I figured that out myself. That's because in school, my only experience was "choir" singing, and boys (once their voices changed) could be either basses or tenors. I'd try to sing with the tenors and I found I couldn't get the high notes. I'd try to sing with the basses and I couldn't get the low notes. I thought that meant I couldn't sing.

It wasn't until many years later that I discovered there's a word for what I am: I'm a baritone. I can sing nearly any song once it's transposed into the right key for me. (But then it won't be in the right key for anyone else, apparently.) I just couldn't sing the music as it was written for choirs. And since I never got any individual attention, no one ever explained that to me.

Here's what I still don't understand: From what I know of biology, attributes are usually distributed along a Bell curve. It's unusual for any attribute to be "bimodal." Since baritones are right in the middle between basses and tenors, you would expect there to be more baritones than anything else, and mine should be a common problem. But it apparently isn't. Why not?


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: paula t
Date: 23 Feb 10 - 02:50 PM

I tell all my pupils at our primary school to be proud of their voices because they are all different and all at different stages of development. Some of our children are still learning to "pitch match" and some have stunning voices, but they all know they are making progress and they all know they can be even better.It makes me despair when I read that teachers in the past (hopefully a long time ago)have told children they "can't sing". How dare they!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Feb 10 - 08:07 PM

Indian classical music has the exact opposite attitude to the one people here have run into. It does not recognize the existence of innate vocal talent. ALL vocal artistry is seen as learned, and the quality of the voice you were born with doesn't matter a damn. What the mind behind the voice knows, and what the spirit behind it is expressing, are what count.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 23 Feb 10 - 08:40 PM

Mine came a bit later in life.

Having won a sholarship to the CARDINAL VAUGHAN MEMORIAL GRAMMAR SCHOOL, recognised as one of the two best boys' schools in London, I was chosen as lead soprano for the choir.

At age fourteen my voice broke, in the middle of a performance, and I was told "That's it lad, your singing days are over".

Maybe for the school choir, but not for ME.

Sixty nine now, and I can still silence a room if I want to.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 23 Feb 10 - 08:46 PM

""Yet, I occasionally hear her humming, or singing lightly when she thinks she's alone, and I am totally charmed. (did I mention that I'm still in love?) Go figure""

Me too, in every detail Deckman. Only myself, and one fortuitously present friend have any idea of the wonderful voice of which the world at large is totally unaware.

I have failed, in forty five years of trying, to persuade her to let that voice be heard outside of our home.

Sad, because I feel I have failed her, and I too am still madly in love after forty five years of marriage this April 3rd.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 23 Feb 10 - 10:36 PM

Like Jim Dixon I am baritone as well, and my range is rather limited. I can't sing in a choir because I don't get to pick either the song or the key. I play guitar well enough to accompany myself and folks seem to like what I do, but I consider myself to be a better songwriter than singer.
As a kid in school we had no formal music program, but for a Christmas concert a school choir would be formed. My mother was a very good singer and one teacher knew that. She thought that I should be able to sing like her and told me that I was singing badly on purpose. I could sing in harmony with my mother but that was due to her ability, not mine. Since then I will only sing solo but I don't take myself too serious. I do have a Hell of a lot of fun with it in any case!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Janie
Date: 23 Feb 10 - 11:12 PM

I was lucky. Sort of. Had terrific and inclusive choir directors in both junior high and high school. My junior high choir director figured out I could sing before I did. Moved me from the soprano section, where I had placed myself because I didn't know harmony from shinola, and sat me beside a good, strong 2nd alto I could follow to learn how to sing harmony. did well enough to make the Concert and All-county choirs, but felt inadequate because I still struggled with the higher reaches of the alto.

My voice was closer to 2nd tenor (as I get older, I am closer to a baritone, but am losing range - I don't think I have two octaves now that I can count on any given day.)   Although female, I relate to what you baritones have experienced. I was probably 50 years old before I figured out that I simply can not comfortably sing in the keys most people sing. Singing in groups, always at the screeching top or the gravelly bottom of my range. church choir director tried to get me to sing with the tenors. Were I a better musician I might could have done so, but the timbre of my low female voice was so different from the timbre of the male voices in the same range that I simply could not connect to the 2nd tenor parts.

It seriously undercut my confidence. Had I known when I was younger what I know now, I could have been a very fine singer. Some part of me sensed that, but the more conscious and self-conscious part of me believed I was just not quite good enough.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: ClaireBear
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 02:41 AM

I was once asked (the night of the performance) to step down from doing the solo in a high-school talent show (we were doing a selection of songs from "Hair") in favor of another soloist because, as music director Mr Bennett told me, I kept going off key. The fact that the other girl was a foot taller than me, popular, a model, thin, and gorgeous while I was none of those things had, I'm sure, nothing to do with his decision, although I assure you I do not now and did not then sing off key.

I had my revenge, though, because the other girl was not expecting to sing the solo and opted to get stoned to keep from being so nervous, as a result of which she forgot the words right in the middle of "Easy to Be Hard" and had to improvise half the song. I merely smiled when Mr Bennett allowed as how I'd been missed. What an utter and complete jerk!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: ClaireBear
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 02:53 AM

(not that I'm bitter)


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST,Gail
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 05:15 AM

Not singing but still relevant.

My young brother started playing concertina at a young age and became very good very quickly. When he changed to a new school, the music teacher asked who could play an instrument. My brother mentioned his concertina and was told it was not a real instrument and he was never asked to play it at school.

Chris (my brother) went on to make a living playing concertina and said his music teacher's words were in his mind as he walked on stage at the Royal Albert Hall in 2008 to play his concertina at the BBC Folk Proms.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST,Richtradition
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 07:03 AM

I was told at the age of 8 to stand at the back in choir rehearsals and just mime the words. Since then I have learnt songs and sung them to myself and joined in choruses in the pub or folk club. 42 years later I thought that no one winces when I join in, so I went and had 2 singing lessons. The teacher made no comment about me staying in tune or sounding ok. She just said I needed to breath properly and project my voice.

I have since started to sing solos in the pub, joined a community choir and regretting a wasted 40 years when I thought I couldn't sing.

Looking back I never had a boy treble voice I always growled around and I never really noticed my voice breaking. It did mean I got to read the lessons in the Christmas carol concert because people could hear me.

It is far too easy for a teacher to take the easy route out and tell people they can't sing when what it frequently means is you don't fit into my idea of what I want in my choir.

Pete


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: paula t
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 12:58 PM

Richtradition,
I agree with you. I don't have a choir as such. When we go to outside performances (such as district carols) my "choir" is made up of anyone who is in the appropriate age group who is available and willing to sing. Everyone's contribution is equally valued.We sing for the joy of it and always sound darned good!

Paula


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 03:19 PM

I noted GUEST,Gail's post with some interest.

In 1957, when I had definitely decided that I wanted to change my college major from English to Music, I stopped into the University of Washington School of Music office to register. As the registrar and I began filling out the papers, she asked me if I wanted to be in performance (speaks for itself) or education (become a public school music teacher). Mainly, I was interested in the music theory classes and the discipline of playing and/or singing in ensembles.

I said, "Performance."
She asked, "Voice or instrument?"
Since I already had a good voice teacher (and having interviewed the four voice teachers at the U. of W. and decided that I was better off with Mrs. Bianchi), I said "Instrument."
She asked, "What instrument?"
"Classical guitar," I responded.
Her eyes glazed over. "But?we don't offer that."
"No problem," I said. "I already have a good guitar teacher."
"No," she said. "What I mean is, the guitar is not a legitimate, recognized musical instrument."
This, despite the fact that Andres Segovia had performed in Seattle less than a year before, and John Williams had done a concert at the U. of W,'s Meany Hall auditorium just a few months back.
She folded my application and dropped it into the wastebasket.

Fortunately, one of the more prominent music professors heard about it and went to bat for me. He arranged an audition for me with Dr. Stanley Chappel, the head of the Music School, and that's how I got in as the U. of W. Music School's first classic guitarist.

Now, the U. of W. Music School has a guitar department headed first by Steve Novacek, a concert and recording artist, who recently retired from teaching at the U. of W., and now by Michael Partington, another concertizer and recording artist. They've turned out a number of pretty fine guitarists, including Elizabeth Brown who, in addition to concretizing and recording, heads the new guitar department at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, thirty-some miles south of Seattle. She plays lute, baroque guitar, and modern classic guitar.

I didn't go on to teach at the U. of W., I taught privately. But I do feel like I helped to kick the door open for others to enter.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST,Gail
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 03:47 PM

Well said Don, and congratulations on what you've achieved.
It all goes to show that a genuine love of music and musicianship can override convention and constraint. Long may you kick doors open.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: stallion
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 07:04 PM

what is it about teachers and 9 year olds! When i was 9 the teacher went around the whole class asking each in turn to sing a song and marked us out of 10 for Music, i got 0/10 ! undetered!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: paula t
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 12:43 PM

Sounds like he/she deserved 0/10 for teaching!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 10:45 AM

That sounds like something the teacher was ordered to do by an official. "Assess the amount of musical talent in your classes and turn in the results by Friday."

Keep in mind that what goes on in a classroom is not just between student and teacher. The bosses and the parents are watching all the time. If there's a music program and a few kids bellow out of tune, the community may think, "That music teacher can't teach! Don't renew her contract."

A friend of mine resigned her music-teaching job at a prestigious school because the principal called her in and told her she was going to put on another music program on such-and-such a date. My friend said, "The math teacher and the science teacher don't have to put on programs."


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