I have no musical talent. My sole purpose for joining a church choir is to encourage those around me to sing loudly to cover my voice. Although our parents exposed me to piano lessons, I am immune to the piano. I love the idea of being a percussionist, but my different drummer would not keep time with the band.
None of that keeps me from loving music. I am in a quiet office and Richie Havens’ Freedom is playing in my head as I think about being off for the next 4 days. It replaced The Vandals’ Come Out Fighting after Bob called to tell me about a quarrel with the back fence neighbor. If you asked me to sing those songs for you, you’d not recognize the melodies. It never sounds the same coming out of my mouth, but it’s perfect pitch in my head. I like Richie Havens and Joe Cocker because I think I can imitate them.
I often dance walk to the music in my head which might look odd to folks I pass who often start looking for the headphones. They are internal ones. I have a better selection than Sirius XM although I love Sirius radio. My new car has a 6 month trial subscription so I can flip between Muddy Waters, Hank Williams, Herbie Hancock, and Streetlight Manifesto. I get itchy switching fingers when someone rides shotgun since I have to control the urge to change mid-song.
The great thing about internal music is that I can switch it any time, even listen to songs that I remember but don’t own the recording. I fell asleep for years listening to my son strum the guitar and compose songs. Most of them were never recorded because, of course, I believed we had plenty of time to do that. After he died, I could still listen to the music in my mind.
I am so thankful for the refuge that music can give me. It’s usually loud enough to drown out the voices in my head. The smile on my face is often because I am listening to Raffi’s Banana Song (it’s a song with a peel). My whole mood, my demeanor changes when I am listening to upbeat music. I’ll never be able to play it or sing it, but I love to listen to it.
When I die, I want kazoos distributed to funeral attendees so they can play Amazing Grace on them. I told my 88-year-old aunt and she exclaimed joyfully, “I want to be there!” We agreed that she and I will share the back pew and play air guitar in accompaniment.