Monday, October 20, 2008

My Shattered Dream: A Song Left Unsung

As it sometimes happens, I found myself in a karaoke party last week-end. While people sang and made merry, I sat in a corner. Unnoticed. Alone.

As I nursed my drink, my mind wandered to one summer a long time ago. The memories are almost faded but the residual pain still stings sharply

Let me tell you my story.

I was innocent, naïve, bright-eyed and hopeful. After all, I was only 36.

I had a dream, you see. I wanted to sing. By God, I wanted to sing!

But all my life , I was told I could not. I was told I was out of tune. I was told I could not carry a note.

My attempts to prove otherwise had always been met with much taunting and derision. Vulnerable and unsure in my younger years, I kept silent.

But the music in my soul was restless. Finally, it could no longer be kept still.

It was that summer that I enrolled in the Ryan Cayabyab School of Music and met Teacher Jun. I knew – I was sure, certain – that with the right teacher, I could be a great singer.

I would show the naysayers. I would show all of them. After the end of the ten sessions I had paid for in advance, I would be asked to do a solo in a recital.

My friends and family would be there – invited on some pretext. I knew they would snicker as soon as they saw me on stage. But I also knew they would be be struck silent as soon as I had opened my mouth to release the beautiful notes that had been too long suppressed.

Everybody would rise at the end of my song, clapping wildly, tears pouring down their eyes. I would look down on them from the stage with triumph and magnanimity, generous with my love and forgiveness.

On my first session, I was ushered into a small room with a piano, a stool and a mirror. Teacher Jun was there waiting for me. He asked me to sing a piece of my choosing to show my range. I chose I’ll Never Say Goodbye which I had practiced over and over again in the bathroom to prepare for this moment, my moment.

Four lines into the song, I was asked to stop. Teacher Jun said it may be best for us to begin with scales. One hour of do-re-mi’s standing in front of a mirror with your hands on your tummy can pass by very slowly.

On my second session, a week later, I was prepared to give my showcase piece another go. But Teacher Jun had other ideas. He still wanted me to do scales. Who was I to argue? At the end of the session, I was sweating. So was Teacher Jun. But I felt we were making progress. I was on my way.

I was happy. But, alas, all too briefly.

On the third session, I did not even have the chance to do scales. Teacher Jun sat me down, looked me in the eye and very gently informed me that in our short time together, I was not able to hit one note right.

He suspected I might be tone-deaf, thus unable to emulate the piano notes correctly. He said that I should not waste my money by finishing the singing lessons . I had 7 pre-paid sessions still unused but he could make arrangements to convert these into Introduction to Piano lessons.

Starting from the basics would train my ears. And then maybe, someday, I could go back and try singing again. Who was he kidding?

We had 45 minutes left in the session. But there was no point in staying.

I left the room with my shoulders slumped and my head bowed. On my way out, I saw the ten-year olds waiting for their piano lesson sessions. I was better than them. I had an MBA. I hated them. I hated them all. I wished them acne and a lifetime of spurned love.

I never went back to Ryan Cayabyab's School of Music. I have never sung in public again.

Less you think so, I have no bitterness in my heart. None, whatsoever. But, let me just say that Paul Potts stole my dream 9 years later and made it his reality. I hate Paul Potts too. I have perfect teeth. He needs to go to a good dentist.. And I wonder - when Susan Boyle finally gets kisssed, will she turn into a princess?

Next time you see me in a karaoke party,leave me alone or buy me another beer and let's just discuss Friedrich Nietzsche


pretty len said...

Videoke tayo soon, bilis na!! Kailangan ko mag-release ng stress!! :-)

I was laughing so hard while reading this entry, I could imagine you saying all the words kasi :-)

Keep singing, to hell with Teacher Jun! said...

i know this story and yet i was hooked from start to finish, engaged from the first word to the last, laughing silly at the right moments imagining i had a glass of wine in one hand and microphone on another. you're such an excellent story teller my friend! i read the whole thing even without pictures.

bzrmom said...

Have you not heard of William Hung?

Tarcs said...

Hi L - sheth nga sya. Let's have lunch or dinner soon.
Hi F - Im so proud you read an entire post without pictures :-). Pa burger ka naman!
Hi M - Not wanting to be another William Hung is exactly the point.

Anonymous said...

I hate you too. You made my tummy ache from laughing!!!! Okay, I don't really hate you. This actually helped me forget the stress. I see Len made the first comment!! Tara videoke tayo!! ;-P


bzrmom said...

You can either sing for a cause, a purpose or for applause. The purpose can even be unwittingly self-serving. Look up what Hung has been up to lately (and how much money he already made).

Anonymous said...

Hey Tarcs!
This is hilarious-- more than the first time you told me the story.

Keep singing-- or do another"Long Haired Lover From the Liverpool". Imagine, lipsynch na, boy and girl voices pa! Ikaw lang may kaya non!

Thanks pala for promoting Do Good Day--


angel_lady_ella said...

Di lihim sa akin na gusto mo talagang umawit, but I didn't know na nag-enroll ka pa kay Ryan Cayabyab. Ha ha ha. I was imagining that moment where you were going out of the studio.
Well, ikaw ay magaling sa napakaraming bagay, higit lalo sa pakikipagkaibigan. Love you friend.

carla o. said...

it's only now that i feel so guilty. i remember that you always blamed you for keeping your hopes high. pero i took it for granted.. but honestly, i thought (at idudugtong ko sana "and still think", pero wag na) that you could really do it, tarcs. i realize now whom we should really blame - butch albaracin, my singing teacher! i remember him saying that anybody can sing, given the right training and determination. i guess i believed him. (naipasa ang blame) but what the heck, tarcs, continue singing... not for anybody else..but for your self, first and foremost. nakikipakinig lang sila ano kaya wala silang k magreklamo..hahaha. but seriously tarcs, i enjoy and appreciate your please continue singing..for me and your other friends....

and as pretty len said "to hell with teacher jun" (and to hell with mang ernie, too!).

miss na kita. sana kita tayo soon.

carla o said...

correction - you always blamed "me" pala, not "you" for keeping your hopes high on becoming a good singer...and for encouraging you to take those singing lesssons.. but then, again...keep on singing....

Tarcs said...

Carla - HAHAHA, si Mang Ernie - our driving instructor. Subject of another post yan. Dami nating shared memories - sa yo pala dapat dedicated tong post na to :-)

paris phil said...

tarcs...i've known you since childhood, and i'm aware that singing is really your frustration. i thought you will out grow this...little did i realize, it will become more intense as we grow old...but this just means one thing, my dear friend...God will not give you everything in this world...spare some to others...keep your brain and give the singing voice to others...masyado kang makasarili!!!!

Anonymous said...

Maybe ballads aren't for you.

Have you considered singing to rock tunes? Drunk or sober, the music will always make you sound "right".

Of course, the more drunk everybody is, the better you sound.

Trust my experience in this. :p

-Paolo V.

redbolts said...

No wonder you skipped our july 4th reunion sa Vallejo. I have a story too. My father can sing the old standards from Frank S to Nat King Cole, but his talent skipped my generation ....Although there was a sliver of time when I thought maybe I could sing like him. My landlady at UP Campus was a music teacher. She insisted I join her "Carolling Group". She said, "You have a good speaking voice, you should sing." Wasn't i flattered. To make a long story short, her dog sang along everytime I did the warm-up vocals and the giggles just totally disabled whatever latent talent I had. Maybe in the next lifetime Tarcs, we can cut a record deal together, ha ha.

Jun-G said...

nice post... hehehe...

naalala ko tuloy nung grade 2 ako. i joined singing competition. ang kinanta ko "Greatest Love of All"... nung kumakanta na yung contestant before me na-iihi na ako. but i didnt dare to go to the CR and pee because i was afraid to be disqualified baka tawagin ang pangalan ko at wala ako dun. so i stayed. time ko nang kumanta. sige lang. kanta lang ng kanta. hangang sa umabot na dun sa pinaka climax ng song... kasabay ng pagbirit ko ang pag-agos ng aligamgam na ihi... then the audience started to laugh... but i didn't stop. i finished the song. At... second placer ako. sabi ng tatay ko, "alam mo anak, kung hindi ka nakaihi first ka sana." hahaha...

sna pala pinanista nalang ako. kasi kahit nakaihi ako sa pants hindi mahahalata. hehehe...

salamat sa post na ito at tawa ako ng tawa. ayan na-iihi na ako. hehehe...