At about 5:20pm my mom and I would head to the church. This is when I knew that I had access to “the Church” and began calling it my first home…my own sanctuary. Each year the schedule was about the same. The Christmas eve service started at 7:00 with the small Methodist choir faithfuls, mom playing the organ and me in the front row of the loft just in her peripheral view. I began sitting in that loft with my matching burgundy robe at the age of 7. This is when the osmosis portion of my voice journey began. I sang as a little girl, felt the depth of any Streisand or Carpenter lyric, but didn’t identify as a singer. No, I was a dancer, then a french horn player, then a cheerleader. It wasn’t until I was 15 that I received formal voice lessons which is a story for another day.
I value the internal work that happens when I watch, listen and emulate singers. As a young singer to be, I gained presence. I learned to match pitches. I learned complicated rhythms and timing all while having fun singing into an unplugged microphone (and some tap classes). There is a very important aspect of teaching young singers to listen to good, bad, professional and amateur singers. To give time to singing in the church choir, praise band and karaoke at middle school sleepovers. To make time to attend local high school musical productions, residential theater and Broadway traveling troupes who come to town.
Listening, emulating and enjoying the process of singing is a wonderful first step to Becoming….a voice in the song.