Thank You For The Music

Mother says I was a dancer before I could walk. She says I began to sing long before I could talk.”

[ABBA “Thank You for the Music”]

That was me, apparently. Or so I’m told; I may be a little hazy on the details.
My first public performances were at the age of two, serenading the local grocer’s shop with the recently-released Tom Jones classic “De-wi-wah” (Give me a break, Ls are hard when you’re two!) The customers seemed to like it and fed me chocolate. Granted, this could have been to give me something else to do with my mouth, but hey, this was back in the days before I got all angsty and self-conscious about the sound of my own voice, and just sang for the joy of it.

At school I was considered a bit of a girly swot (Not entirely true- Couldn’t count then, can’t count now); so when I dared to try out for an inter-schools singing competition, I was met with a positive tsunami of ridicule. I subsequently won the competition, but this seemed beside the point. The message was clear- you have no business calling yourself a singer. Lesson learned.

Fast forward a few years, and as the song predicted I became a dancer and an actress, and in the midst of all this, I accidentally sang- a lot. I performed in cabaret, I did charity concerts, I sang in stage shows- but all the while with the nagging feeling that I didn’t really know what I was doing, and that I might at any moment be exposed as “not a proper singer.” I really, really wanted to be though. In addition, I’d also battled recurrent throat problems for years, and to be honest, singing hurt.

Eventually, two revolutionary things happened. I finally had my chronically infected tonsils removed; and, more importantly Karen for this story, I took singing lessons.

Now, the Hollywood ending here would be that I immediately became a platinum award winning recording artiste, making millions and sticking up proverbial fingers to everyone who had ever doubted or mocked me, or otherwise rained on my parade.

This didn’t happen. What did happen was that I learned a whole lot of things about my voice and what it could do; and what it couldn’t; and how to make the latter into the former. Childhood whooping cough had left behind some breathing issues, and the breathing exercises really helped there too. It took time- all good things do- and there were times I got so caught up in trying to remember the technique that I literally had no control of what was coming out of my mouth. With practice though, things began to make sense, and it was fun to hear how my sound developed, and with it my confidence. My performance persona changed. Sometimes I surprised people. Sometimes I surprised myself.

Even if your musical ambitions don’t extend further than your own shower, time spent working on your voice is time your body, mind and spirit will thank you for. Getting to know your voice and learning to care for it are well worthwhile, whether you want to perform for others or sing for yourself, and singing with others is one of the most joyous, life-affirming experiences you can have.

In class I tell our beautiful ladies, “The world needs to hear your voice in it”- and that’s never been more true. As for me, well, music is still the place I go to lose myself. Or find myself. Or both.

And for that, I am beyond thankful.




Here are 3 ways we can help you to strengthen and develop your singing voice:

1. Come along to our regular Singing Sessions:

2. Sign-up for our free singing resources, and newsletter, to access exercises, tips & offers:

3. Learn with our Online Singing Courses:

We look forward to singing with you!
Sheena & Karen

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