When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I discovered singing. I had always loved to sing, and had been encouraged to do so. As the first (and most precocious) grandchild I was endlessly encouraged to sing along with Jimmy Osmond to his rendition of Long Haired Lover from Liverpool for my grandparents delight (an embarrassing revelation if ever there was one).
But when I got to around grade 6, people started commenting, saying they enjoyed my singing and I needed little more persuasion than that to continue. So I kept on singing. Then I thought well I need some accompaniment and although I had been to piano lessons when I was little, it wasn’t something I had had the motivation to keep up with. Being rapped across the knuckles with a ruler for poor hand placement will do that to a small child.
So I decided I would play the guitar. My mother managed to get hold of a second hand nylon string guitar from an op shop and I taught myself to play. I borrowed a book from the library which showed me where I should place my fingers and I played every chance I got.
I earned money busking in the small country town where I grew up. Busking was big in the city but it was still quite a novelty where I lived and so I did pretty well. Mostly making enough money to buy a Frankie Say Relax t-shirt here and a few lunch orders there, not huge money but it did give me a taste of the independence I so craved.
I would sit in my bedroom for hours each weekend, carefully avoiding homework and playing up a Beatles inspired storm. I would imagine myself in a large stadium playing to adoring crowed. I would practice my Grammy acceptance speech, I would plan for all the spending I would do with the millions I was going to make.
By some bizarre twist of fate, I have not ended up as a Grammy award wining, multi-millionaire singer/songwriter. Shocking I know. But I have been blessed with two amazing children, both of whom also love to sing and have beautiful singing voices.
And one of whom has decided that she wishes to play guitar, and so, just like me before her, she has taught herself to play. Now admittedly I have helped her a bit but she has now far surpassed me (I am actually not very good). With the magic of the internet and a very old iPad she is able to find out pretty much all she needs to know. She even made herself a capo out of four pencils and some extra strength rubber bands and taught herself to play with that. I am so impressed!
I never realized how much it would make my heart swell with love and pride to see my child behaving so similarly to me. This sounds a tad narcissistic I know but I just feel such a strong connection to this kid through our shared loved of music and singing. She is just entering her teens and finds me loathsome much of the time so it’s lovely for us to have this thing we can do together.
She’s lucky that my own mother encouraged us towards music and that this is something I am able to pass down to her.
As hard as the teenage years are (I’m right smack bang in the middle of it with her older sister), it’s nice to see there are some moments in which there is still some connection between my children and me, where they don’t tell me how I “just don’t understand”, or that I’m “so overprotective”, or the absolute classic “you’re so annoying mum”.
Plus, I’m determined to have a Grammy winner in the family… so there’s that too.