Tuesday, September 28, 2010

If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out: The Yum of Music. (No Talent Required)

When we are children, there are many opportunities to be loud. The playground, the playing field, playing an instrument and performing in the school play all provide kids the chance to make grand, passionate sound. Though if you asked your average child, he or she is likely to complain of frequent shooshings. For some perspective, however, ask yourself when was the last time you were shooshed. For most of us adults, it has been far too long since we've earned ourselves a good “Shoosh.”

Adulthood provides few socially acceptable outlets for the joyful creation of tremendous sound. Music is one of the few exceptions our culture provides.

(Shouting team cheers and chants like, Boomer Sooner, Go Wings, and Purty Cow at sporting events is another. That discussion, however, is for next week.)

Music is recreation. Whether you play an instrument or play the stereo, the operative is “play.” To the Yummish, there are few concepts holier than “play,” defined by the Yummish Council as “an act whose sole purpose is to bring pleasure, firstly to the “player” and secondarily to any “playmates.”

Music gives us emotional release. From manically happy pop to the most soul-sucking emo (is that still a thing?), there is music to match any emotion you might have... or wish to have. It also gives structure to that emotion, allowing you to fully experience and express your emotion of choice, but only for the length of the song. Be it a three minute pop song or some multi-day Mahler fiasco, there is a definite beginning and conclusion, letting you experience intense emotion for a short period of time rather than allowing it to take over your life.

The tragedy is that there are many people who do not allow themselves to experience this Yummiest of treats, simply out of fear that they aren't good at it. Out of fear that others might not enjoy their singing, they stay silent. They don't clap, out of fear they'll miss the beat. They deprive themselves of the simple pleasure of listening to music they honestly enjoy just because others might mock their taste.

The Yummish Council is deeply saddened by this and wishes to reassure these musically-deprived that talent is not necessary for the enjoyment of or participation in music. It is necessary to be able to sing like Lea Michele if your goal is to sing on Glee, but not for you to enjoy singing in the shower. It's OK if you aren't Frederica von Stade. She is. You don't have to be. Being intimidated by her, vocals-wise, makes sense if you are auditioning for a Rossini opera, not when singing “Happy Birthday” to your child-of-choice.

Nor is it necessary, or even proper, to apologize for your taste, which is part of your unique Yum. Whether you like M.I.A or ABBA, revel in the Yum you share with others who feel the same. Remember that no matter how esoteric your taste in recorded music, there is at least one other person who likes the song at least as much as you - the musician who created it.

So... if you want to sing out, sing out! If you miss the note, call it “experimental jazz fusion.” If you clap off beat, you've just invented “percussive harmony”. If you get off pitch, celebrate it as your own unique interpretation of the piece. Don't worry about “performing” and enjoy simply “playing.”

Today's exercise: Join your church choir, local drum circle or other. Sing in the streets or in your shower. Turn the stereo up to ear-bleed levels (read: 11). Make some noise!

Next: The Yum of Sport

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