Game Plan {Spin Cycle}

When I was about 5 years old, my mom would drive my sister and me 35 miles to Champaign-Urbana to see Frances. Frances was my mom’s voice teacher. Supplied with crayons and coloring books, my sister and I would sit under the grand piano while my mom sang and talked with her teacher. It wasn’t long, however, before two more babies came into our family, and Mom’s voice lessons were put on hold.

Even though Mom didn’t take voice lessons any more, she sang constantly. She sang to us, her children. She sang solos in church, at weddings and funerals. As the pastor’s family, we were also always singing. We would accompany our Dad to various nursing homes, and our family would sing hymns at the small chapel services or at someone’s bedside.

Once the four of us kids grew up, Mom went back to voice lessons. This time, she took the train downtown Chicago to study with a voice teacher. As she was practicing, Mom would tell me what her teacher told her to improve her singing, and I would tag along with her to various choir auditions and recitals for moral support.

I went to see her in concerts and even an opera, where she sang in the chorus. I talked on and off with Mom about taking voice lessons of my own. She coached me, and encouraged me to find a teacher, but I procrastinated. I was busy with work. I was going to school for my graduate degree. Then I got sick. Mono one summer, and cancer the next. Down the road a piece, I got married and had babies. There was no time for me to go to voice lessons, but I secretly made a game plan. I would go to voice lessons when my life was less crazy.

A couple of weeks ago, my church choir director announced that two members of our choir were starting a music studio and were teaching voice lessons. I sing constantly; I sing every morning to my preschool class, I sing in the summer when I’m leading Vacation Bible School, and I sing to Emmy at bedtime. I decided that now, when I only have a part time job and both girls are in school, would be the perfect time to take voice lessons. How could I pass up this opportunity?

I had my first voice lesson last night. I like the teacher, I have already learned some new things and am relearning some things I had forgotten. And I have two songs to sing! One in English and one in German!

My goal is not to become a soloist. I want to learn better techniques; how to breathe correctly, how to have a more even tone, even to increase my range with practice. These things will help me with my every day singing.

The voice lesson game plan is coming together!

Second Blooming

Do you have something you’ve always wanted to do? What’s your game plan?

Link up your Spins here!



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Tulips

Ed started apologizing for the tulips he was carrying before he even sat down next to me. “Emmy picked them out, and as we were walking out of the store I remembered you’re allergic to them,” he said.

“Honestly,” I replied, “I really didn’t remember that. I think I’ll be fine.” We settled down together to watch Lily’s ballet recital that afternoon, and she would be the recipient of the tulips after the show.

Tulips (2)

Many years ago, I was a young student teacher in a middle school resource room. My cooperating teacher was amazing, and I loved teaching those kids. Dennis was a boy I particularly remember. He was in sixth grade, and yet he was fourteen since he had been held back a couple of times. He was shy and quiet, and acted younger than his fourteen years. Every morning, it became his habit to bring me a tulip. The bottom of the stem would be rough and ragged where he had torn it off. Hoping that Dennis had not stolen the tulip from the neighbors, I always placed it in a cup of water and kept it in the middle of the table where I spent most of my day working with small groups. I began to notice a pattern; I would feel fine in the evenings and early morning, but as soon as I started teaching my nose would run like crazy. It didn’t take long to make the connection between the tulip and the sneezing.

I kept that connection to myself, and Dennis continued to bring me a tulip each morning. On the last day of student teaching, I held back the tears until I made it to the car. I learned so much about teaching that semester, and would miss the teacher and students I worked with. After graduation, I found a job and worked with many, many students in the years to come. Remembering all the students I taught makes me smile–and I have a special fondness for the boy who brought me tulips.

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