Sunday, 6 November 2016

"Music Makes You Shiver"

by Nicola Watson


Music makes you shiver.
If you are happy or sad, you shiver
                                                          
This is Tim Minchin describing writing the musical Matilda.  It describes though how music makes me feel and react.

If you were to ask me what one thing I would wish to pass on to my children, it would be music. I was lucky to start music lessons at 3 ½ years old.  It was that classic first instrument, the recorder, which led via a brief piano experience to brass. All through School, I played the Horn and was in School bands and orchestras.

However, the one thing that has been constant from School to now is singing. I have sung in choirs since School and was for a number of years in Bath Choral Society, singing classic pieces such as Handel’s Messiah. After having my daughter two years ago, my husband suggested I find something to do for me; I decided to join a Ladies Choir that my friend sang with. Since then, I have had an amazing two years. We rehearse in a pub function room for two hours a week; some ladies are confident musicians and some can’t read a note. Every song is learnt by our part being repeated until it is absorbed. Sometimes we feel we will never get a song right such as ‘Hold On’ which we were asked to sing at a recent wedding. 

The best part of singing is performing and in the last year, we have sung with G4 and Blake on their national tours and the Britain’s Got Talent tour.  A highlight was auditioning in London for Gareth Malone’s next Choir programme. We had to learn a verse and chorus of Postmodern Jukebox’s version of ‘Creep’. We were filmed in London singing the song, having had two days to learn the song and harmonies.  The producer and director then interviewed us and asked us what was special about the choir. We summed it up as being a group of ladies leaving daily life behind and, as the song says, being ‘lost in music’! 

There is nothing better than getting to a part of a song such as Rhythm of Life and the last two lines where the key changes to sing ‘life’ 3 times.  It is then that only music reaches into you and finds an emotional reaction.


Some pieces of music will always be emotional. I listened to the Royal Marines Band in the Cathedral recently playing ‘Nimrod’. It was the music we had played on the organ as we signed the register when my husband and I were married in the Cathedral. It moves me to tears every time as it is so powerful.

Will my children find music too? My 7 year old has just started as a Chorister and is now singing anthems and hymns round the house. My 6 year old is getting drums for Christmas and has picked up an old guitar we have at home to play. My daughter however, refuses to sing at her music group - so she may find a different  path in life!


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