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Today You are Here: Silly

It’s time for vocal warm-ups. My husband is gone for the day and has asked me to lead the choirs in their day’s assignment. I have the men’s choir right now and am looking at ten gangly barely-teen age boys standing on the risers in front of my piano. I play a chord and buzz my lips. They follow in my example. We stretch our bodies. We move our lips as fast as we can. I get their adolescent voices moving, doing all I can to get music moving freely from their confused and constantly changing bodies. They want to sing well, I think, but nature and fear of an embarrassing sound escaping their lips are working against them.

We have this one warm up about an alligator named Alfred being thrown down a water-spout in England. They can’t help but smile as they put on their best British accents and sing through this catchy tune. A hand goes up. “Can we act this out?” Sure, why not? You can act it out, even though it doesn’t do much for your tuning, even though it’ll take class time, even though you’ve already done it a dozen times. If you want to get onto your belly and army crawl across the classroom as if you were an alligator, if you want to fake cry because you’re pretending to be Alfred’s lonely owner, if you want to let your sillies lose, by all means – let’s act it out.IMG_4804

IMG_4468IMG_7272.jpgI find myself going through most of my days rigid and uptight. I don’t want to look bad, I don’t want to mess up, I don’t want to make a fool of myself. I don’t want to stand out for being weird. I don’t want to be noticed for any behavior that could be considered slightly strange. I feel my shoulders creeping up to my ears in tension, my jaw clamping in stress. I care so much about how I appear, I care too much about being normal. I am serious about being serious.

Maybe I should have hopped down onto the floor and crawled around like an alligator for a minute.

I’ve known these boys a while. I’ve seen them in the hallway and on the football field. I’ve seen them swish their hair around girls, and I’ve seen them unable to open their mouths in choir – so concerned that something might come out that sounds slightly embarrassing. I’ve seen them strive to find an image that portrays them as too cool for anything – and then I watched as they let their guard down and acted out a song about Alfred the alligator.

I love the sheer goofiness of this moment. I laugh at their antics. I make sure they each get a turn to be ridiculous. Because we all need the chance to be free from the heavy burden of image preservation. We all need the chance to lighten up. We all could use a little more silly and a little less serious.

{This is a part of my Today You Are Here series. Join me over here for the 31 days of October as we practice being present together. Or enter your email address below to have updates sent directly to your inbox!}

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    talknmore
    October 8, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    I just stopped by from Write 31 days. You have a beautiful blog and this was a great story. Silly is often under-rated; I am certain some of my best teaching has happened with a nice dose of silly mixed into the lesson.

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