Sing out loud in the car even, or especially, if it embarrasses your children.

It is not that I can’t sing.

It is that I suck at singing.  I cannot hold a tune.

I sound like a very bad audition for Idols.  I am the “wooden mike” award who would actually make it on to the show, just for the laugh factor.

I have had these fantasies – yes, fantasies – that I would stand up and this voice would come out of me.  People would swoon in wonder and look at each other and smile as a tear ran down their cheek – that is the effect my “fantasy” voice would have on them.

They would murmur to each other that they have sighted the second coming.

It is all too much, it is all too much wine actually.

I can’t even hum without scaring little children.

I am not the “I can’t sing” and the then the crowd cajoles you into one last rendition of “Misery” and you bring the house to tears.

For sh*t sake, I seriously cannot sing!  I cannot carry a tune – even drunk, and often that is when people do their best work.

I actually mime “happy birthday to insert-child’s-name-here” when we go to birthday parties as I seriously cannot sing.

At my kid’s birthdays I try to look busy when it is time to sing as I do not want to scar them for life.  I usually scout the room beforehand and grab who I think is probably the loudest person and get them to start the sing along.

I make excuses about having to organise cake and candles, and well being busy-busy.

I am a little embarrassed by it.  Unfortunately since Jane Austin standing around the family piano and singing a medley has not longer been a necessity to finding a husband and being part of a social circle, there are far fewer moments where one is actually MADE to sing.

When I was at primary school I was in the choir.

I have no idea how.  It appears I have the gift of imitation on my part, or deafness and/or disinterest on the choir teacher’s part.

I found a way to sort of imitate the person next to me and follow their general sound.  I really enjoyed choir, like nerdy enjoyed.

A growing-up-scaring-moment for me, was when the choir teacher was suspicious that there was someone way off key in her little group of singers.

She let everyone sing, and then slowly “zoned” in … on me.

She cancelled out everyone and then stood in front of me and asked me to continue singing.  It was not even sad and embarrassing it was just tragic.

I had to stand there and sing all by myself as all my choir mates looked on – in horror.  Then as the chorus rose to a sort of Mariah Carey level, my voice totally disappeared.

I was so embarrassed, but carried on (the trooper I am) – even when I was doing that silent voice thing.  The part where you open your mouth and f*k all comes out.  Fond memories those.

My primary school was big on staging Operettas.

I am not sure how to explain them other than I think our headmaster had a thing for plays/dramas and writing really bad songs for school children to sing.  I am sure if he was still a head master, someone from ChildLine would have been giving him a call and raised some concerns.

I recall the teacher who was conducting the entire thing telling us that the headmaster had written them while he was in the army.  At the time we all made the obligatory “ooohhhh” and “aaahhhh” sounds, but bear in mind I was about 7.

If I knew now that a boy in the army was writing operettas, I would want to check the ruling parties policy on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the armed forces.  But at 7, I thought it was very cool and manly.

Any the who.

I was in this Aladdin play/operetta/stage show extravaganza.

During practice I realized I was a better than Belinda Dennison who was cast as Aladdin’s mother.  Sure she had 25kg on me, but I could totally upstage her.  Which I preceded to do in rehearsals.

It was quite a big supporting part, and had a ton of stage time.

Then the teachers who were organizing asked me to attend an audition where they wanted me to sing the opening song with a piano accompaniment, as the part required quite a bit of acting but (sadly  for me) quite a bit of singing.

I would love to say that as soon as the piano piece started I belted out the piece to audience applause.   Unfortunately the reality is that I sucked and even at 7 I recognized that I was going down without a parachute.

I could not hit a note – any note!

Instead of my big stage moment, I got moved to the understudy’s understudy of Aladdin’s mom.   As Belinda was not going to die from Influenza on opening night it seemed I would need to be satisfied with being cast to appear on stage in part 2, scene 4 as a Chinese palace guard.

Which would have been fabulous had I not forgotten I had a mascara-chinese-moustache on 2 minutes before going on stage, and then managed to smudge it all over my face!

Fast forward thirty odd years, I still can’t sing.

Tonight Isabelle was crying.  I went to pick her up and comfort her and soothe her to sleep.

Again I was reminded of the fact that I appear to know no lullabies.

I sort of stumbled through “Hush little baby” and then fumbled through “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” After the first line I was at a total loss and sort of hummed the rest, but badly and off key.

A few nights earlier I had been called upon to sing lullabies and realized that I did not know any.

Three kids and no knowledge of lullabies, what does that say about my mothering skills and my ability to comfort my children?

I did realized that I knew “Ten Green Bottles hanging on the Wall.”

The stuff that comes to you as you rock a child to sleep in the darkness, in the middle of the night.

Easy to sing.  Words sort of flow from there, and a really simple melody that even I could not muck up.

Tonight I felt that I did not want to try a bit harder and not resort to  “Ten Green Bottles hanging on the Wall,” so I figured I would try to work my way through a Christmas carol.

I realized I knew almost all the words of “Silent Night” and sung that as a lullaby.

Even I could hear that my voice was shockingly off key, I also did not know the words just after “all is calm, all is bright” and sort had to muddled my way through that.

I totally suck at lullabies, but Isabelle rested her head against my chest, put her thumb in her mouth and her eyelids got heavy as I tickled her back and totally massacred “Silent Night.”

Leave a comment


  1. Jana

     /  January 13, 2011

    Oh my word, how funny! I had the EXACT same choir experience. I LIVED for choir. I think I made friends with the choir master’s daughter and then blackmailed her into forcing her dad to put me in the choir. However, it didn’t last. I was found out. Now I don’t care anymore. I belt out the songs on ‘Lollos’ and my unsuspecting 18-month old loves it.

  2. Hahaha! I laughed all the way through this. I can’t sing a note either, and my kids’ birthday parties are exactly that way. I seriously pretend to be singing. But when I try to muster my way through a lullaby, it didn’t turn out quite like your experience. My one-year-old son actually put his hand over my mouth and said, “No,” shaking his head.

  3. suestuart

     /  January 13, 2011

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one! I am totally tone deaf and it has embarrased me my whole life! I must have been about 7 also, when our teacher lined us all up in a row, listening to us sing. I was one of the unfortunate ones sent to sit down, I was horrified and mortified!

  4. Sharon

     /  January 13, 2011

    Yeah! I can’t sing either, I suck as much as you do but get this… I take Ava to Kinder Music lessons where we SING to our babies!! Our very kind Kinder Music teacher always assures me that babies LOVE the sound of their mothers voices no matter how badly they sing. So I sing away anyway and try not to notice the bleeding ears of the other mom’s around me! 🙂

  5. Tania

     /  January 13, 2011

    I remember I was also one of those kids called to sing solo once the teacher had narrowed her hearing onto my voice… and I also recall it wasn’t a good moment in my Standard 4 school career… high school choir did not see me attend and there was no way anyone would convince me to go, oh no!… but then again, it wasn’t cool to be in the high school choir 🙂


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