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I didn’t realize what I know

This might seem off topic, but I will end up relating it to my business and to crafting.

When I was growing up I loved to sing, as many children do. My older and younger sisters couldn’t stand to listen to me sing. They asked my mom, on more than one occasion to “make her stop” singing.

My mother also related a story of my grandfather holding me in his lap while we sang and rocked and sang and rocked. He sang “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”. Before she died my mother and I sang that together. She said I still couldn’t sing that song in tune. I couldn’t hear where I was going wrong.

My mom was a strong soprano, and I ended up an alto. Singing the hymns at church was the thing to do. Only I couldn’t sing soprano, which meant I had to find the alto part. That has always been work for me, whether singing in a congregation, or singing in a choir (part of a special youth event for a few summers).

The leader of our local church congregation is called a “Bishop”. A few months ago he called me into his office and extended a call to serve as our congregation’s choir director. I burst out laughing. Not because I thought he was joking, but because I thought it was so funny, considering my history. (Yes, we did explain it to him.)

Our congregation’s choir has been few in numbers. Since I am sympathetic to the plight of the altos, I have them sit next to the piano. That way they don’t have to listen around the sopranos, trying to find their note.

I have also tried a number of things that I did for myself while learning alto to try and help those in the choir. We do the alto part by itself, then add in the sopranos. I separate the altos from the sopranos by a ways while learning – this provides the soprano note, but it’s less likely to drown out the alto note. I told them what I remembered hearing from a professional musician: the musical note produced by an alto vibrates in the nose.

Not only that, I also work with the choir to sing from the diaphragm. I talk about enunciating words (“and only” becomes “an donly” while singing). I talk about only breathing as a choir at punctuation marks, rather than where we might otherwise breathe.

I realized yesterday that I really do know something about singing. Not that I necessarily do it well or easily.

This relates to craft and business how? Let’s say that you are learning how to braid, whether hair or with “yarn”. You learned how to select the yarn, divide the yarn or hair into portions, start the braid, adjust the braid along the way (maybe transferring hair from one section to another), and end the braid.

You may not realize that you are learning all these things until you are asked to teach someone else. Perhaps you will demure, saying that you aren’t very good. That doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to teach. You can at least explain the steps you learned from someone else, and explain what your trials have taught you about braiding. That will probably help someone else too.

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