What is the most important lesson you learned as a child, and who taught it to you?

i was special.

in kindergarten or something. maybe it was first or second grade, we all had to sing privately for the music teacher who was also the kindergarten teacher. i of course sang my very best. i tried my best at everything i did. (at that time)

i didn’t think i was very good, but i had nothing to compare it to except the audition tape. compared to the audition tape i was not that good. i was about 6, and those people were probably like 9 or 10 years old with years of voice lessons and they were paid professionals.

i thought i had to be perfect in order to be chosen to be in the “better choir”

i did not have to be perfect because it’s impossible to be perfect and in fact it’s most likely the case that not only did those paid professionals record in a special recording studio after being specially chosen to perform on the tape, they possibly autotuned all of their voices so they would sound completely perfect. i don’t know this for certain and i don’t currently have a copy of my 6 year old choir audition tape handy but i’m betting that’s what happened.

i was not aware of this industry standard practice at the time.

i believed that i was horrible.

i was currently in a children’s choir and taking piano lessons once a week from a professional pianist.

she believed i had talent. i agreed.

i enjoyed the piano at the time. i was excited to go home and practice piano when i was 6. i was excited to show my piano teacher my improvements.

my choir teacher told me i was very talented right after the audition and let me know that i was chosen to be in the special choir and that i would be getting a solo in front of the entire elementary school.

i couldn’t believe my ears.  A SOLO?

that wasn’t the first time i had a solo. i had them before but i just thought i was lucky or something. none of the kids were brave enough to perform and i wasn’t scared of singing in front of people.

i just went up to the microphone and sang the song.

so now i would have to memorize my own part and sing it at a specific time and come to a special rehearsal just for soloists. for the christmas musical. i would have to wear a soloists costume.

as the christmas musical came near, a lot of the other students were wearing their christmas costumes and i became extremely jealous. many of them had VERY LONG speaking parts and got to wear exciting makeup.

they were dressed as beautiful angels or mary and got to hold a baby, and were the STAR of the show. i thought this was outrageous and the casting choices needed to be changed. for a long time in my life i continued throwing diva fits because of this reason. many music teachers didn’t give me any speaking parts at all and continued giving me solos.

i didn’t get to be an elf one year, and I didn’t get to be mrs. clause, and I didn’t get to be an angel year after year. no movie star makeup, just me. standing in the spotlight singing some boring song i had known my whole life. every opportunity someone had to give me a solo they did.

until high school there was so much more competition for solos, and much more talent to draw from.

many more people threw diva fits and it became very clear to me that i had been given a very special gift and i hadn’t been appreciative of what i had been given early on in life and i should have been more grateful and worked harder to do the best possible job with it i could have. i should not be jealous of someone who can’t sing so they have to put on a whole bunch of sparkly makeup in order to feel good about themselves.

i already felt good about myself. i just felt unappreciated.

i don’t know if people liked my solos because i wasn’t paying attention after the musical. i was mean and grouchy and upset at things that didn’t matter.

now i know what matters and i’m so happy that i have my most precious gift of all. my voice.


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