You can't be good at everything | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

You can't be good at everything

I have a huge confession to make.

I am not good at Karaoke.

I know, I know. One would think that I'd be a pro, being a fairly accomplished singer and all. But that's just exactly the problem.

Talk to any musician and you will find that they always have a weakness that they have had to overcome, or are working to overcome. I just asked my husband, and he admitted that his weakness is the ability to quickly understand theory, despite his excellent ear. My weakness is actually my ear. I am quite an accomplished sight reader, if I do say so myself, but I've always felt that I tend to use sight reading as a crutch to cover up the fact that my ear is far from excellent.

And that's why I'm no good at Karaoke.

Sure, it's fine if I really know the song well and have sung it several times. Then I can do the Karaoke. But, how many Karaoke bars have you been to that offer a wide selection of opera arias and musical theater? Exactly. I can only do popular music that I know well enough that I don't need the sheet music. And, unfortunately, (or fortunately, you decide), I don't actually listen to pop music all that much anymore. And I definitely don't go out and buy the sheet music to the latest hits. The songs I once knew so well as a teen I would now have a pretty difficult time pulling out of the air to sing. Maybe I could do the chorus, but most likely not the verses.

I would be so good at Karaoke if they just gave you the musical notation instead of the stupid bouncing ball over the words.

So, when I went with my sister-in-law Ashley to Las Vegas this last weekend, we had to do Karaoke. Not because I wanted to, but because Ash is the queen of Karaoke. I bucked up and did it, but I stuck to the few musical theater songs offered and The Carpenters. You can laugh all you want, but I can do a pretty mean Karen Carpenter when I want to. Apparently it was good enough that the Karaoke master called me up to do a duet of Top of the World with him as the finale number on Friday night.

Saturday night was not quite so successful for me. I sang Whitney and it was fine, only because I sang The Greatest Love of All as a solo in Jr. High and I've never really forgotten it. But when I went up to sing Memory from Cats, it was a bizarre arrangement and my crappy ear couldn't hear the melody. So, I had to sit down feeling thoroughly embarrassed and wishing that Karaoke machines all offered a sheet music option, and some guy named Spider got to come up and do the final duet with the master.

I'd like to tell you I was any better at Rock Band, except for the fact that the last time I did that I ended up singing the very obscure opera version of Livin' on a Prayer because that's what was winning me points. Let's just say I won't be doing Rock Band vocals again anytime soon after the ridiculing I received from my brother.

I'll stick to Karaoke.

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PS The Karaoke bar we visited in Vegas posts slideshows of its participants each week. If you're interested in seeing what I look like while trying to be good at Karaoke, have at it.

Friday Night (Ash and I are towards the end, along with our friend Lili)

Saturday Night (Again, kind of towards the end)

24 comments :

  1. I have never done karaoke in my life. I'm sure I would be awesome at it, just like everything else. ;)

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  2. Well, aren't you coooooouuuuuuteeeee!

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  3. And maybe you are just too darned trained and too darned good to just wing it!

    I will go check out the slideshow!

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  4. Amen! I have the same problem. And when we lived in Korea, we got MAJORLY pressured to go do Norebang (Karaoke in Korean). Apparently it's the only way to bond with friends and coworkers.

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  5. My big musical weakness is that I'm absolutely incapable of improvising. So when people at parties say things like, "Yeah, let's jam!" or "Oh, just make up some background music," I run away and hide. All I can do is play (over and over, forever and ever, Amen) the stuff I was formally taught, and stuff I sight read. Pathetic!

    Even if karaoke isn't your natural talent, you look adorable! Weirdly, I've never done karaoke, although my karaoke dream is to do "What's Up" by 4 Non Blondes...it would be completely, ridiculously over-the-top. I bet I'd blow it, though!

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  6. I never really done karaoke either- unless you count the "Guitar Hero" version. I'm really a sub-par singer no matter what arena.
    It was really fun to watch the slideshow and see what songs certain types people chose. The old guys singing the rat pack songs were funny- but accurate, I'm sure.
    And Lara- you are really looking fantastic!

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  7. I'm not much for karaoke, either, but it's mostly because I don't know the songs. I have a great ear and am really good at theory (sorry!) but like you, I would prefer the sheet music to the bouncy ball.

    I so wish we could have met this weekend!! I hope you had fun at the concert!

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  8. The first time I did Karaoke was at Christian's work party in Iowa. I had never met these people before (it was right after we moved there) and they talked me into doing one. I chose Angel by Sarah McLachlan and quickly realized that it was way too slow to be singing karaoke. I made a fool of myself, but most of them were tipsy so they cheered me on anyway.

    I looked at the pictures. You look so cute!

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  9. I am so afeared of karaoke I actually made it a plot point in my current manuscript. One of the most mortifying experiences of my life was singing karaoke. Oi.

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  10. So nice to know that you aren't perfect musically :)

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  11. I bet you did an awesome job. Looks like fun!

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  12. I am shocked Joel is still married to you... with that kind of a flaw.
    This slideshow is VERY creppy. FYI.

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  13. I don't do karaoke because if I did, people would throw all kinds of things at me. It's not a matter of "not being as good at it as I am at other things" (i.e. you with karaoke vs singing really great music.) It's more a matter of "my vocal cords produce very scary sounds." Good thing I can play the piano.

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  14. Well, I have a decent ear, but no sight! I mean, I can read the music, but don't ask me what the notes are.

    I bet you ROCKED the Karaoke! In fact, we're busting out the machine for your bye-bye party.

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  15. I've never done Karaoke in a bar or anything. I bet it's fun though! LOL!

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  16. I love "On Top of the World." Wish I could've heard that one.

    And I NEVER sing on rock band. Not because I'm an accomplished singer without a great ear, but because there is no part of me that's a singer. I'm a bona finde accompanist for good reason:)

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  17. Before I use to be very bad at karaoke. I recently discovered a website that changed my perspective on karaoke, The karaoke channel online ( online.thekaraokechannel.com). You can record yourself, which is helping me to improve my performances each time; from my vocals, to the presence I give... A good tool to have !

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  18. I share Chandler's musical weakness! You'd think with 30+ years of playing the piano I could improvise a mean little ditty...but no. I can site read pretty well, I can pick up right where I left off with peices I learned 20 years ago, but improvise? Not even a little bit. Ok, maybe just a little bit where the primary hymn book is concerned, but only a teensy-weensy little bit, I mean, like breaking a chord down into an arpeggio...that's improvisation on my part. pathetic. Its the rule follower in me. But I have to say, I secretly love to be the singer when we play rock-band. i suck, but I don't care, its a blast and i can ROCK THE HOUSE on Radiohead's "Creep". Cuz I'm a creep, I'm a weirdo-o-o- what the ....ok, ok. I'll leave it at that.

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  19. Good for you I have never done karaoke before.

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  20. That sounds like a lot of fun. I love Rock Band and usually Karaoke but that is probably because I am not a professional singer and know that I am not too good. I bet it was great.

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  21. I've never sung Karaoke, much less in public. Two thoughts come to mind:
    1. You are brave.
    2. Me, being a Vegas gal, I'm kicking myself that I didn't hustle down to wherever you were to watch!

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  22. Miss Candy's song choice was appropriate. Those eyebrows! I will look exactly like her in about 15 years or so . . .

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  23. How did the other people sound?

    I don't think I'd ever have the guts to do karaoke. I don't have a great voice, but worse is my fear of being in front of people for them to make fun of it.

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  24. HEY! You know Lili! Did you know she I used to live together? Will you please tell her hi from me and ask her to email me or something? Thanks Lara! :D

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