“Everyone can sing.” Said my piano teacher when I expressed concern over the singing part of my Grade 4 exam. Over the next five minutes, I presented some fairly convincing evidence to the contrary and we both agreed that the only worthwhile singing preparation was to prepare myself to get no marks for singing.
In the exam I was handed a score: four notes, no dynamics, could not have been easier.
It was awful. It makes me wince thinking about it now. I get the same reaction if I imagine catching the pointy end of a ferociously kicked rugby ball with my unexplainably sunburnt scrotum.
The ABRSM website has a lovely explanation of why singing is part of the exam:
Singing, both silently in the head and out loud, is one of the best ways to develop the ‘musical ear’. It connects the internal imagining of sound, the ‘inner ear’, with the external creation of it, without the necessity of mechanically having to ‘find the note’ on an instrument.
As someone with the musical ear of an armadillo trapped in a jacuzzi, I don’t have the authority to challenge this statement. As someone who is guaranteed to shed marks and dignity in every piano exam, I find the concept incredibly annoying. In fact, I’m not even going to try singing next time. I’m making my stand — it falls to the piano alone.