A Real Life Story; Of Overcoming My Fear of Singing in Public.
As a child of about 8 years old, I was very shy at school. However I loved Drama and singing. I can recall one morning while our class was singing, (we did a lot of that), the teacher was looking for children who could sing to join the new play. The teacher, whom I will refer to as Miss L, stopped the class and asked, “who’s is that awful voice”, no one answered. I wondered, looking around about, who it might be. Miss L, then asked us to continue the singing, she paced up and down, then stopped, looked and pointed at, me and said “Ibbs, it’s you with the awful voice”. Needless to say this put an end to my singing, it also knocked my confidence so much that I was never in another school play.
I then went to Upper School and did some Drama, but no public Play’s and I never sang. Throughout my younger adult life, I often wondered about going to singing lessons, but could never summon up the courage. About 10 years ago I actually went along to a modern Choir taster session, however, I left because of nerves, before any singing had even started. I then took up Oral Storytelling, I was initially very nervous to perform in front of others. However with two great supportive teachers and supportive colleagues, I told my first public story. We also did a few short songs as warm ups, which I managed, as I felt very held. However I was still not able to sing solo in public.
I made a big decision to go to a private singing teacher in Chelmsford, to face my fear. I was very nervous and scared, I didn’t need to be, my teacher Joanne Lee (Jo), listened to my story with great empathy. We began my first lesson. Jo made it a lot of fun, so between my nerves I found myself laughing a lot. There were also tears, from some of the songs that I chose to sing. Jo helped me all the way, acknowledging my emotions and personal story. Within weeks I was developing my singing, Jo complimented me on my tone and getting the notes correct, while also being honest that my range was in the lower part, whereas most of the songs I love, are in the higher range. A year or so with Jo, developed my confidence so much, both in my ability to sing in front of a crowd and also with my storytelling. I now have two stories where I sing. I have sung to a roomful of children and families and children and teachers, as part of a story, several times now.
Due to a close bereavement nearly two years ago, I had to stop the lessons. More recently I have needed something to nourish me inside a little more. I realised that I needed to go back to singing, as it can be so uplifting. It had previously reinforced, that I can overcome great difficulties. So this morning I went back to Jo and nearly two years later, my singing memory and muscle memory came back, Jo was amazed and congratulatory about how much I had remembered, as singing really is an art. I felt compelled to write this blog this morning, on the benefits of singing, on personal perseverance, and what happens when I have a teacher who totally accepts me, is honest with feedback, and is also great fun to be with. My next ambition is to sing a ballad in front of an adult crowd. Watch this space.