January 13, 2021 / Source: The Bizz USA
By Isabelle Sitchon; Edited by Pallavi Vemuri and Haarika Kalahasti
From singing contemporary songs at my church to belting out to Adele's “All I Ask” in my room, I’ve always surrounded myself with music. There is not a single day that goes by where I don’t plug in my earphones and delve into a full-out jam session. Music has brought me comfort, joy, and close relationships--and it all started when I was handed the microphone to sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on a karaoke night.
My mother had grown in a musical community, going on tours in the Philippines with her church choir. I didn’t know that her musical blood was flowing through me as a child until I grabbed the cold handle of the karaoke mic and started singing. Of course, I wasn’t a full-on Ariana Grande. That day, my younger brother tried taking the microphone away from me in order to keep the audience from hearing my awful attempt at serenading them. I dashed to another room with my eyes full of tears. In a moment of vulnerability, I turned on my father’s computer and listened to “Firework” by Katy Perry to calm myself down. I was dejected and embarrassed, but I longed to go back to my living room and sing again, no matter how bad I sounded. From there, my heart knew that music would become a huge part of my life.
Middle school year was a big break for music in my life. For my birthday gift, my parents bought me a phone. Through this, I was introduced to a whole new world of music. I wasn’t confined to my father’s computer anymore; I could listen to songs anywhere I went with the magic of earphones! Walking down the grey school corridors, my face would light up with a grin as Amy Winehouse’s version of “Valerie” blasted in my ears. It felt like a representation of my newfound freedom during middle school.
After a thousand karaoke sessions, I was invited to take singing lessons at my local church and join my church’s worship team in middle school. I was excited to finally learn how to use my voice and become more serious about music in my life. Developing my singing in a more healthy tone improved my well-being along with it. As I sang louder, I felt a growing sense of confidence in my singing abilities that I’ve never experienced before. I became aware that it was important to use my voice and speak up more, not just through singing. As I went to more voice lessons, I grew closer to my friends through our shared bond of singing. Singing with my friends in a chorus allowed me to feel a connection I’ve never experienced before. Our church stage was small, but our voices would mix into a sweet harmony that would echo a beautiful sound throughout the sanctuary. We were merely a group of novice singers who had no idea how to belt like Mariah Carey, but our memories shared together on that single stage was more important than any ever singing technique we could ever learn.
On one Sunday, I finally realized the importance of music to me. Moments earlier, I was singing my heart out on stage to the church congregation, my abs a bit tight from reaching many high notes. After, a kind church member walks up to me with a smile and says “ Your voice brought me to tears today.” At the sound of her words, I felt a pang in my heart. While thanking her, I realized that the significance of music isn’t just measured upon the level of artistry that is put into it. Our emotions are important as well and can be considered by many as the central focal point of music. Delving into music has allowed me to express emotions that I couldn’t just explain to someone. Music is a way of bridging audiences with shared emotions. With music, comes love, comfort, joy, sadness, calmness, and other feelings that wouldn’t simply fit into one sentence.
Last year, one of my friends came up to me after a birthday night karaoke session to compliment me on my singing. The conversation went a little like this:
“Isabelle, you’re so good at singing!”
“Thank you so much! You’re not so bad yourself.”
“Oh, I could never. I don’t think I’m cut out for music.”
While I do understand her position, there is nothing stopping you from incorporating music into your life. To practice singing, I didn’t have a luxurious microphone set to record my vocals. All I needed was my own voice and a piano app on my phone. I found free singing lessons online for me to learn from when I wasn’t attending my lessons at church. For my friends who focused on instruments such as the guitar or piano, they had access to instruments from our church or borrowed instruments from their other friends. Improving your musical skills is a result of patience, determination, and continuous practice. With time, you’ll find yourself wanting to invest in fancy equipment as you hone your abilities. If pursuing music is an aspiration that you really desire, you need to believe in your capabilities and have faith in yourself. With that, I leave you with one piece of advice: don’t give up, and don’t let your fears hold you back from pursuing what you want to do.