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something for the heart.

October 26, 2014

Years ago, while taking a qigong class, I was told that I should do something for my heart. The teacher did not mean cardiovascular exercise, or eliminating red meat. She meant do something for what I guess I would call my spiritual and emotional heart.

I’ve sometimes wondered what I should do. I understood what she meant, but finding an activity that fills my heart and allows me to release from my heart joy that will bless others.. what could that be?

I had for so many years been fixated on trying to learn how to play guitar. I’d been so fixated on guitar that I could not accept the fact that I, instead of having a knack for playing guitar, have quite the opposite. Also, being fixated on guitar had kept me from acknowledging and developing my actual gifts.

One of these gifts is singing. I’ve almost never thought of developing my voice. But I really should do this.

I’ve got a good voice. Very raw, and needing a lot of work, but still, a good voice. I can sing many different styles of music, imitate certain singers, and, with practice, sound great!

Why haven’t I worked on my voice in the past?

One reason is the guitar fixation. I also got stuck on focusing other instruments I was unable to learn for a variety of reasons.

A second reason I have not, as yet, developed my singing voice is that I don’t want to bother my relatives. I live with my mom and dad, who are both 69, and my aunt, who is 66. They are not especially pleased when I belt out songs by such bands as Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Volbeat, and The Melvins.  I love singing hard rock! But, when I do so, I sing very LOUD. This does not go over well. I was once singing a Melvins song, called “Billy Fish,” while I was digging around in the garage for something. I freaked out my mom, even though she was in the house. She still mentions this sometimes, when I talk about wanting to improve my singing.

In case you are wondering what “Billy Fish” sounds like..

Ok.. so.. no practicing caveman rock or grunge while the relatives are home..


I went to a Curtis Stigers concert here in Boise months ago. He is an American jazz singer (although he does more than just jazz). During this particular concert, he performed a lot of standards and some originals. I thought of singing songs by Stigers, and music by Sinatra, Harry Connick Jr., you get the idea. Great music, but I’ve never been really into that. I don’t want to be a crooner. Do I?


Here’s a Curtis Stigers tune.

Wow. Ok, yeah, that is amazing. Maybe I would like to sing like that. Actually, yeah, I would.

But even so.. not one of the main genres I’m interested in.

So what then.. hmm..

Has to be something mellow.. what genres do I like a lot that are mellow?

I can think of a few.. classic soul..

Hmm.. no..I can’t sing like Ray.

I’m a high tenor.. mostly.. I might be able to sing songs by..

How about..

Hmm.. well.. I suppose if I sang entirely in my falsetto range and.. well.. even so.. maybe not. Awesome song though!

I could try this one from one of my all-time favorite movies, “The Commitments!”

Hey.. that’s a white guy.. singing a soul classic! Yes! (I’m white, in case you are wondering).

So.. soul.. a possibility.

What about..

Classical? Really? Well, yeah. I very much like some classical pieces, and have been a part of several choirs in the past.

Maybe this..

Truly beautiful.. and with practice, I could eventually sing this. But I don’t think this song would be my first choice. I’m not Catholic (not like I have to be Catholic to sing this, of course).

Let’s listen to this one, also performed by The Priests (who are actually parish priests, not just dressed up to look like priests).

I can sing this one! It’s not hard to make my voice sound “classical.” And this is a lovely song!

Alright then.. since the song was called “Irish Blessings,” this will make a nice segue into..

Celtic music!

I’ve been listening to Celtic music for years.

Here are a few of my favorites:

I like the version by Appalachian Celtic Consort best, but I could not find it on youtube, so this will do.

Here’s a beautiful lament..

And something much more upbeat..

And this one is a must for singing in pubs!

And one more..

Yes! Celtic music! I can already play the tin whistle a little (though I am really out of practice), and can learn a few tunes on my melodica, which sounds like an accordion, but is much lighter and easier to play.  I will not be able to play either instrument while singing of course, but could play in between verses, or when someone else is singing.

Soul, classical, and Celtic, with maybe a few crooner tunes and jazz standards thrown in. I can do this!!

Singing really is good to do. For me, to feel as good as I can, and be healthy, it is not only a positive thing to do, but, I’m guessing, necessary.

And once I have improved my voice, practiced, and learned songs well, I can perform, and not only bless myself, but others too.

Singing.. something for the heart!




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