Sunday, 8 April 2012

Step 1: Thank you for the music

When I was at university, I went through a really rough period.  In the space of a month, I lost my grandfather, split up with my first love and was so seriously let down by a close family member that my life changed irrevocably. 

Weeks turned into months of sadness and I still remember how my cheeks stung with the tears that streamed so easily down my face.  I'm glad to say I got help from the counselling service at the University which I am still so grateful for.  I learnt to cope (better) with severe deception and although I still have difficulties with this, I also learnt to understand that I cannot control everything.  It's crushing to realise that even the people that you should trust without question can break your heart.

During the initial period at University, when everything was just too fresh, I had one main coping mechanism.  Music.  I had always loved listening to the Radio 1 breakfast show and decided to buy a mini portable radio with headphones.  On the way to uni on the bus, in between classes, on the way home, I listened to the radio.  I had to keep tuning it in as we travelled on the bus to keep a good reception, that was quite funny actually!  I was never 'alone'.  I had company of the DJs and the music that they played.

If I wasn't listening to the radio, I was listening to Christina Aguilera's album, Stripped.  My poor housemates suffered!  This was the only CD I listened to for months.  It was on repeat and had to be played loudly!  The lyrics that spoke about heartbreak, deception and learning to love yourself really spoke to me.

If I wasn't listening to the radio, or Christina, I was singing.  I had joined a Gospel choir at University and I looked forward to every rehearsal.  It wasn't a religious choir, we just had a great time singing gospel, accapella, soul or pop songs.  Our choir master was an great inspiration and I always left the rehearsals feeling much better.  It taught me to control my breathing, relax and focus on something positive.  When I singing, I was not thinking about my demons.

Why I am telling you about this?  Since leaving uni, I have been looking for another gospel choir to join without success.  Until now.  In March, I started attending the Gospel Challenge.  For 10 weeks, we have weekly 2 hour singing lessons and learn the techniques required to sing Gospel and in June, we will give a concert with 15 or so songs.  We pay a 50€ fee for the lessons (it's a bargain for 20 hours of instruction!!) that is used to help a small local association get funding for their cause.  The money raised in our Challenge will be used to build 40 water wells in Mozambique.  Going to the sessions has unfortunately brought all my bad memories flooding back, but also good ones too.  The choir is open to everyone, and beginners are encouraged, hence the Challenge! We sing in English and the choir master doesn't give out the lyrics which really helps good pronunciation as my French class mates (ie, everyone else) are forced to repeat what the choir master says and not what they read (and pronounce in a French way) It really is fantastic, it's just a real shame that once we do the concert in June, the Challenge will move to another town and my rehearsals will stop.  For the moment, I don't want to think about it, I just want to be thankful for the music at the moment and think about the progress I've made with my demons over the last 10 years.



Andromeda said...

Sounds like a great experience for you! Maybe some of the others in the group would be interested in continuing to sing together next year?

Mil said...

I feel quite the way you do about music. It can really heal my soul. Do you watch Glee? Frankly, a bad gets good when I watch that show. I'm not a professional singer but I love to belt out songs anyway. Glad you joined this group!

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