'Since it is so good a thing, I wish all men would learn to sing.'
So said William Byrd. But being a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal and living in the sixteenth century he clearly hadn’t had the dubious pleasure of trying to instruct Kayleigh. For those of you new to this blog, allow me to explain. Kayleigh is so far the only person to present herself as a result of this shameless self-publicity for singing lessons. And I rather wish she hadn't.
'Just sing the note that I play on the piano, Kayleigh' I began by asking, adding that it might help if she removed her chewing gum as well. I played her middle 'c', then we tried 'g' and 'a' and then went down the octave - nothing, not a sound, which you'll understand was not a very promising beginning. 'I can’t sing those notes you’re playing' Kayleigh muttered, sullenly. 'They're just, like, not the notes I sing?'
'So what notes do you sing then, Kayleigh?' I asked.
'Ones like this' she told me, demonstrating what might pass to somebody completely tone-deaf as a reasonable approximation of a person actively engaged in the noble art of singing – someone, that is, in extremis due to acute asphyxiation and a lifetime's smoking.
'Kayleigh - are you sure you want to come to me for singing lessons?' I demanded.
'Oh yeah' she replied, 'cos I’m, like, gonna be a singer.'
Dear Lord Above - the creature wants to be a singer! My repeated 'why-oh-whys' had been intended for the ears of the Almighty, but they seem inadvertently to have been made audible to Kayleigh.
'Cos you're cheap' she told me as a bubble of gum popped in my face. Cheap! Cheap, I ask you! I immediately informed her that my fees were set in strict accordance with the current I.S.M recommendations, but she seemed to think that I was talking about driving lessons.
‘Not BSM young lady – ISM – the Incorporated Society of Musicians. My, er – my union, I suppose.'
'Oh, cool' she said. 'So you’re, like, in a union.'
'No, I'm not - 'like' - in a union, I am in a union.'
'But aren't you - sort of – self-employed?' she asked. 'So what d’you do, like – have negotiations with yourself?'
'Aha. Very funny. Well, you see now Kylie – '
'Kayleigh. Sorry. Well you see now Kayleigh, really – in a way – it is my pupils who are my employers. If I agree to take you on, then for half an hour each week you will be my pay-master.'
'Cool' she said.
'Quite so, and now I’m afraid my other pay masters will be getting rather annoyed if I keep them waiting any longer.'
'You got other pupils then?'
'No – I mean yes, of course I have. But not right now, no. Now I’m singing evensong.'
'Evensong – you know - one of the great offices of the Church of England, sung daily in the Cathedrals up and down the country.' But the creature clearly hadn't the first idea what I was talking about. I did think of suggesting she attend the service with me, but good sense prevailed. Dear God, can you imagine what the Precentor might have made of her?
Ronald Stevenson Piano Music: Volume 2 - I was confused. When I knew that I was receiving a CD of Ronald Stevenson’s piano music to review, I mistakenly assumed that it was a second volume to Murr...
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