A Musical Journey

I used to know barely anything about music, let only being able to play it. Didn’t know a single note on the piano. Didn’t know a quarter note from a sixteenth note. Well, that has started to change for the better.IMG_20170611_175648

Strum up, strum down, strum up, strum down. Slide, hammer on, hammer off. When you put your fingers into various positions on the fretboard, different sounds are produced. Fingerpicking is exciting because it gives more variation to the songs.

I’ve been getting guitar lessons from a friend of mine named Rodney Simons. Though the songs are out of date and not very fun to play, I’m still getting a better feel of playing now and being in rhythm. Through two lessons, I have already learned some new chords and remastered others. This guy is a master at the electric organ though the sound of it drowns out my simple, unamplified acoustic guitar.

I’ve been playing guitar for over seven years now (though not continuously) and have come a long way since I first learned basic chords and about the basics of the guitar. Now I have finally started to learn and play many popular songs and begun to write my own.

Playing any instrument is a musical journey and takes years of practice to master and that’s what I have in mind right now as my fingers start to flow better on the strings and I eventually start to like it more and more. I got inspired to learn guitar right after I graduated high school and I have to say I’m glad I did because I’ve always wanted to have musical talent but never had the patience to develop it (too many other things were important). Well, at least now I can say I have a legitimate talent, even if it’s still quite unrefined yet.

Singing in the Shower

I’ve never told anyone this before, but I love singing in the shower with the water running and the waves reverberating off the walls. It puts me in a state of comfort and reassurance of who I am. Any song that is stuck in my head and playing on a never ending loop is usually something I choose to sing in the privacy and solitude, without any feelings of embarrassment or worries that I’ll be laughed at or looked at funny. I don’t sing very loud but just to myself. It’s not exactly the best way of evaluating if I have the voice to sell a million records or any at all but at least I can believe I have a hidden talent that is begging to be unleashed.

This morning I was singing lyrics to “Runaways” by The Killers, a favorite band of mine that could be called a guilty pleasure since they aren’t talked about much in the media and bringing up their name would be a little awkward. They are a really popular band but the average music fan wouldn’t even know who the lead singer was (Brandon Flowers – rock star with a squeaky clean image). My parents surely wouldn’t know who they are.

The day before I was singing lyrics to R.E.M’s “Losing My Religion” and surprisingly, I got into the right tune of what the song should sound like: a power ballad about a man obsessed with a love interest, who has fallen into a depression and is about to burst with anger (losing his religion) at her unreturned love.

I am not alone as a bathroom singer; there are many in the world whose voices sound much better with hot water running and tiles all around. It’s gives many of them false hope that they have what it takes to break into the music industry. Of course, most singers sound better in a studio than in live concert, because of the padded walls and high quality recording equipment. A bathroom is a very good substitute for when you can’t afford to use an expensive soundbooth.

Outside of the shower, church is probably the place where the true validation of my hidden singing talent comes alive. It’s the place where I can really come to think I have a voice of gold. I hear myself trying to reach a register that I have never attempted before, trying to achieve a validation that I do indeed have this sort of talent that would give me an edge in life. Again, my voice is being drowned out by everyone else’s and the pleasant sounding voices from the sweet old ladies in the cacophony tend to induce wonderful feelings within me and forget that I can’t even hear my own self. It’s such a fun and uplifting experience singing church hymns together, hearing everyone’s voice rise and fall in sync, seeming to be one healthy organism. No one can tell who’s better or worse, which is hardly important when everyone is happy together.

I’ve heard a couple of times that I might have a decent singing voice. My mom said so when she heard me singing karaoke to some popular tunes a couple of times. But of course, that’s underneath a catchy and helpful instrumental that drives my voice along and drowns out the impurities. And there’s the bias of a family member who would say anything I did is good. Singing solo though is a different story. Without any backing instrumental, it becomes clear that I just can’t register the pitch that is favorable to listening ears. I’ve tried numerous times to put inflection into my voice to make it sound less monotone and boring but playback recordings of my voice always seemed unpleasant and kind of hilarious.

The gift of the songbird doesn’t run in my family, I’m sad to say. None of us have the all-star voice that would give us the starring singing role in a stage play or film. Most of us are either too shy to showcase our singing abilities or just realize our voices come out flat and uninteresting. My sister Liz can sing fairly well but isn’t exactly a star in that matter, has a habit of “trying too hard”. I’ve only heard my mom sing quietly in the car to songs and I wouldn’t say she has any singing talent. I’ve heard my dad try to sing some songs at a family reunion a couple years ago and I was a little embarrassed to be near him because he sounded quite pathetic and way out of tune, as if he was speaking the words instead of crooning them. But he was so full of himself that he didn’t seem to notice the discontent among the people in the room or their blank looks. “Must Be Santa” will never sound the same to me again. My littlest sister won’t even attempt to sing.

To save myself the embarrasment, for now I’ll stick to singing in the shower. At least I can hang on to my false singing hope for just a little longer that way. It makes the whole shower experience a lot memorable as well.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompts: “No Apologies.” and “Practice Makes Perfect?.”

What’s the one guilty pleasure you have that’s so good, you no longer feel guilty about it?