Friday, June 17, 2011

Voices In Harmony

What is it about singing that moves us? What is it about putting words together with music that resonates deeply within our soul? We sing when we are happy, we sing to mourn, we sing in our showers, we sing through our tears after a break-up.

My brother and I have (unwisely) been taking singing lessons for the past week. It has been really interesting standing before our singing teacher, who could pick up immediately what was wrong with our singing.

The main problem, she says, is the fact that we were singing. Our singing should be outlawed, she said. We should be arrested by the Singing Police and locked up in a soundproof prison. She then ran away screaming with her hands over her ears, never turning to look back at our dejected faces.


I remember one of the things I was doing while pretending to be oozing mystery as a teenager on my school bus was that I would be softly singing to myself at the back of the bus.

"Oi, Heng Khuen!" came the jeering voice of the St John's boy behind me. "Trying to sing ah? Afterwards the snow come then you know!"

Often in Malaysia, when we are trying to insult someone's singing, we say that their singing, like the frogs', would bring the rain. This insult brought it to a whole new level. Bastard!

Back to the singing lessons. She taught us how to warm up our voices by running through the scales while blubbering our lips. We sounded like singing motorboats....

*leaves his blog writing to write his To-Do List: Make A Children's Programme About Singing Motorboats. ABC Kids will love it!*

.... and then we went through other vocal exercises. What was interesting was seeing how our voices started out thin and strained, and by the end of one lesson, she made it a lot more rich and resonant, surprisingly. Can't wait to see what the other lessons will bring!

Random Memories: Fourteen Years Old

One of the things of having a brother two years older than you going to the same school with you are the inevitable comparisons.

My brother was often labelled a little eccentric while I was the sensible younger one. Don't get me wrong, I love my brother as he is and I wouldn't want him any other way. When you are an awkward teenager growing up, however, the temptation was always to distance yourself from your brother at school.

This distance carried on at home as well, and it was often difficult being two different individuals under the same roof, which often led to arguments and fights.

One night, however, I was standing at the study room door, while he was sitting down on the swivel chair. He started singing a church song, and I added in the harmony. Our fraternal voices blended together in golden accord, and I must say, there was a little bromance right there.

We tried a few more songs in simple harmony, and there was something inexlicably bonding about singing with your brother. As we grew older though, I find our voices became a little more discordant.

Hopefully these singing lessons will help us rediscover a little lost love.

I'm the thin one. of the group, of course.  With the feminine shirt.

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