Stories

Faking and Flunking: My Tragic Musical Career

When I was younger I used to be able to sing. I mean, this is a lie, I was always crap at singing, but my mum forced me to join my school choir in Year 3.

I distinctly remember one meeting in the hall with my teacher and about 30 other kids, aged 7-54, rehearsing, probably, a Christian song.

The song was going well, I assume that everyone was slightly off-key and a little high-pitched; but all was good. That is, until we reached the third verse.

There was a line that we couldn't quite perfect; my teacher was practically having an aneurysm after containing her despair for 20 minutes. So we were repeating, and repeating it; each time getting gradually worse.

By the time we sang the line for the 5th time, my teacher started to lose it. Her voice grew to almost a baby-like scream, which no doubt sounded better than what my classmates and I ever produced.

So when one child had to leave due to stress-induced trauma, I decided to question why we were always incredibly awful. I thought that I was alright at singing, although my dad said otherwise. But deep down I knew that I wasn't great; so on the 14th repeat I stopped singing and mouthed the words.

And when everyone, bar me, finished, my teacher actually started to smile and she praised everyone for singing the best they had done in months. I'm not joking.

She proceeded to congratulate everyone for the entirety of the rest of the session, which ultimately led me to the depressing conclusion that I was actually shit at producing noise from my mouth.

Orchestra was somewhat similar.

Obviously when you join a club that requires you to know the pieces that you're playing, you practice at home; I didn't get the memo.

I chose to play the flute when I was 7, and, at the time, I didn't anticipate on hating the instrument; which correlates to my musical downfall, and also the (minimal) amount of time I would spend playing it at home.

Therefore when my lesson partner decided to have solo lessons there was no competitiveness to even spur me to at least try, which drove me to become increasingly awful.

It was particularly heartbreaking at orchestra when my ex-lesson-partner and I were sat next to each other; making the difference in our "abilities" to become strikingly evident. So evident, in fact, that I couldn't actually play any of the pieces we performed.

Instead, I pretended to okay the flute, which carried me through numerous concerts.

Of course I would join in during the easier sections, but the rest of the time I wouldn't blow air into the tube, and would fake hand actions.

It was a method that worked well; I got away with it. I did not, however, get away with not practicing.

I carried on the flute into high school. My teacher had long grey hair to her waist, a long nose, and also hated me. I guess it was because I failed to care (or turn up to any of the lessons lol).

It was due to this lack of caring for that I never tried; this showed, especially at my grade 3 exam.

Now grade 3 isn't exactly noteworthy; you don't hear people screaming about it (probably because it's so easy).

As you know, I can't carry a tune to save a failing choir, so you can imagine my examiner's face during the aural section of my grading.

One part is that the examiner plays a note on the piano, and the examinee sings it back. I executed this extremely well, and lost many marks.

Another section is clapping the beats per bar (or whatever it was) of a certain song. I can remember the examiner shaking his head midway through one song, and looking at me in disbelief when it was over. So this went well too.

The scales were great. I mean, I asked to skip them after attempting (and failing) the D major scale twice, so I guess from my perspective not doing them was the peak of the exam.

Three months later I received the results: the pass mark was 100; I scored 101. To be honest, it was probably because he felt bad for me.

After that disaster I distanced myself from attempting to play musical instruments and singing, and decided that letting others do it was better for my sanity and self-confidence.


That's all you're having, folks.

I hope that you had a little giggle, and laughed like I did when I heard my sister playing the violin for the first time (hint: my musical inability runs in the family).

Best wishes,

Sofia

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3 thoughts on “Faking and Flunking: My Tragic Musical Career

  1. as somebody who has been put through music lessons for the majority of their life, i can sadly relate very strongly to this. especially the part about music exams – damn, those aural sections always messed me up! i’m loving your blog, hope to read more in the future 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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