This essay was originally published on May 22, 2013. It is being re-shared in support of LPR’s 10th Anniversary celebration.
My first memory of a structured music environment comes from the fourth grade at Nativity, a Catholic school in Washington, D.C. The overexuberant nun insisted that we bend our thumbs at a ninety-degree angle, open our mouths, and stick the top of the crook between our lips so that they would form an oval. That was how we were supposed to sing the hymns and old Americana songs such as “Oh Shenandoah” that we were taught. It felt like torture to me, and I discovered early on that I often did it wrong. Even when I managed to get it right, I still could not carry a tune.
NOTE: If you enjoyed this essay, please check out LPR’s Issue 14: Music. https://littlepatuxentreview.org/issues/14-summer-2013/