The next year at Artsy Lawless I signed up for Voice Training. It was taught by The Voice Professor, an old Downtown NewYorkCity Reality who always wore a bright yellow and green sweatsuit that made her look like a parrot.
First she needed to figure out whether to put you in Amateur Group Training or Expert Private Training, so you hadta do an audition where you sung something you already knew by heart. I had never sung before without The Radio being on at the same time and couldn’t remember the words to things without it. When it was my turn I had to be honest.
“I don’t know anything by heart,” I said.
“Uh huh,” The Voice Professor said. “See that’s not true, cuz everybody at least knows how Happy Birthday goes.”
“Happy Birthday” is a song about wishing someone is happy on their birthday. All the words are known by every Reality everywhere.
I did know that song, and sang it for her, but it didn’t give me a chance to match any high and powerful vocals. I couldn’t help sounding like a kid who just wanted the song to be over so they could get cake and presents.
“Uh huh,” she said. “We’re gonna put you in Group Training.”
Group Training was me and several other Realities. The Voice Professor would make us stand in a row, and she’d go down the line and sing nonsense words at us like “wawamamawama,” and then we were supposta sing it back. Some Realities were able to repeat it exactly, and then she’d go “uh huh” to them. But most Realities just quietly mumbled the wrong pitch, and then The Voice Professor would ask them if they could cry.
“Yeah,” they’d say.
“Well,” she’d say. “If you can cry you can sing. Now go ‘Waaah!”
Then they’d try to go “Waah!,” but they still wouldn’t do it right.
It was like this for a long time until one class The Voice Professor said we could finally sing a line from a real song of our choice. The only thing I could think of was the “oh whoa whoa whoa oh,” part of Journey’s “Faithfully” cuz it didn’t have any lyrics to remember. I knew there was a good chance the class was full of MeNotzies who hated that song, but most of them had also embarrassed themselves by poorly singing nonsense words so I went for it.
“Uh huh?” The Voice Professor looked confused. “Could you sing that again?”
“Alright,” I said.
Then I sang it again, and she squinted her eyes and leaned her ear in right next to my mouth. Her eyes suddenly widened.
“Ooh!” she said.
She hadn’t said that word in the class ever before.
“Can you sing the rest of that song?” she asked.
“Not the words,” I said.
“What about the sounds? Can you just sing the sounds?”
Then I did the song just singing ‘la’s’ instead of the lyrics, and I realized I did know the melody and was actually nailing it.
“Uh huh!” The Voice Professor said. “I think you may… I think just maybe… You’ve got It.”
“Got what?” I said.
“You don’t know what It is?”
“Uh huh, well, It is The Gift.”
“A Gift from whom?”
“The Goddess of Music.”
After that I didn’t have to go to Group Training anymore, cuz I was in Private Training.