Two eyes look at me from across the room. Two small eyes, sparkling with anticipation. A pretty young girl rises from her seat. As she approaches me,
an impish grin forms on her tiny, elfin face.
It’s time for her music lesson. Time for the magical melodies to escape from her tiny soul.
Time for giggles. Time for starlit smiles and gleaming gazes filled with hope.
“Sarah?” I ask, already knowing that she’s my new student.
She nods shyly, grinning from ear to ear. This is her first voice lesson, an she’s excited. Her mom has agreed to give her an opportunity to fulfill her wildest dream. She wants to be a singer. A famous singer. And, she’s willing to work for it. And, hopefully, she’ll do it. She’ll become the next Celine Dion.
“What do you want to do with your music?” I ask, already knowing the answer.
“I want to be a famous singer,” she replies, with a look of serious intent.
“Well, I don’t know about that,” I said. “You have a lot to learn between now and then. It takes time to learn how to sing. And, once you’ve learned, it takes even more time to become famous.”
“I don’t care,” she says with that familiar grin.
I feel my eyebrows rise as I consider her answer. She’s an eager one, I think. I wonder how long she’ll last. I wonder how long it will take before she’s even able to sing, let alone her chances at fame and fortune. But, I know better than to dismiss her ambition. Teachers encourage hope. Teachers enable young minds to dream, and it is my job to give her what she needs, in order to find that dream.
“Well,” I said, “we’ll see what we can do.” First things first. Time for some vocal scales and some pitch control exercises. I play a few notes on the piano, and look across the keyboard to that hopeful face.
“I’d like you to try to sing these notes,” I said.
With sheer abandon, she sings a note. A strong note. Unfortunately, it’s not the one I just played.
“Try that again, Sarah,” I said, playing the note again.
She makes a second attempt. Again, it’s wrong. So, I change the note thinking that it’s too high for her. She can’t sing that one, either. And, what’s even worse, she sings the same note as the last one. For five minutes, she sang the same note, over and over again. She’s monotone, I think. This is going to be a problem.
A big problem. People, who are monotone, can’t sing at all. They are the ones who always sing too loud in church, and they can only sing one note. I can’t tell her this. I can’t tell her that her dream will not be fulfilled. Instead, we keep trying.
We tried for weeks. Still she sang the same note, over and over again. I sing along with her. It doesn’t help. But, even though she wasn’t improving, she kept that twinkle in her eyes. It got to be a joke with her. She would sing that note, and burst into laughter. It didn’t seem to bother her, and I wasn’t going to give up hope. Now, I was the hopeful one, and she was oblivious to the situation. Until one day, a few weeks later, everything changed.
“Okay, Sarah, we’re going to try it again,” I said, with a slight sense of sadness. I couldn’t continue to take her mother’s money for this. We worked hard every lesson, but nothing was happening. I had even said a prayer for Sarah, asking God if he would just take my voice, and give it to her. I wasn’t using it. I could sing, but I was more of a pianist.
Just give her my voice, I had asked.
As we sat there that day, I was almost afraid to go through this ritual again. But, I proceeded to play her a note.
She sang it.
My eyes opened wide. I couldn’t believe it, so I played it again.
She sang it again.
Thinking that I must have mistakenly played her favorite note, I played a different one. She sang that one, too. Correctly. I played another note. She sang that one, too. Then, another. And, another.
“What’s happened?” I said with a feeling of shock.
“I don’t know!” she replied with excitement.
She then bursts into laughter, as usual. And, eventually, we’re both laughing. I would play a note, she would sing it, and we’d both start giggling. In between my giggles, I wondered what was going on. This child is monotone. She’s not supposed to be able to sing. But, we continue to go up and down the scale, until I played some notes that she couldn’t reach. They were too high. So, I tried to sing them for her. But, I couldn’t.
I had lost my voice.
written by Theresa Silverthorn Confessions of a Mystic - 03. Jan. 2008