My first time singing bossa nova; also, a temporary farewell to Baroque flute

Two weeks ago, I reported on finally performing some sonatas for Baroque flute, at a party at my friend Henry’s.

Ironically, tonight, at another party of Henry’s, this time a birthday party for his father (his parents have been visiting), I ended up deciding to temporarily stop playing the Baroque flute.

Also, more significantly: this was the first time in my life singing a song at all as a solo vocalist with accompaniment.

Why and how?!

Music plan

Since at the last party two weeks ago, I ended up playing on Baroque flute some selections from “English Airs and Dances”, this time I decided to play some other Baroque selections instead, from the “4 Scottish Sonatas” album.

At the party

The party was great fun. We met more people, Henry’s parents were great, we ate a lot of food, and a surprising number of people played music, including some of the young children who came to the party. Accordions, tambourines, violin, piano, me on Baroque flute, Abby on tambura, etc.

I enjoyed doing some Scottish Baroque flute sonatas with Henry, but felt frustrated, as I have for some time now, both by the difficulty of playing the Baroque flute as well as the quietness of it, particularly noticeable tonight because of the large crowd of people.

How I ended up singing bossa nova unexpectedly

The musical highlight of the evening was Henry’s friends Gabe and Eric entertaining us with some virtuosic and often hilarious four-hand piano music.

After they were done, Gabe hung around and periodically jammed with other people, including some who decided they wanted to sing.

I was so inspired that some “non-singers” (as they billed themselves) had the courage to sing, that I said, hey, I want to sing something! I didn’t have anything prepared, but asked Gabe if he could play bossa nova for me, and he said, sure, where’s a score?

I said I wanted to sing my favorite, “Chega de Saudade”, so in a comic frenzy, I brought up the score on my smartphone, accessing my Dropbox. Someone gave me another smartphone so that I could do a Web search for the lyrics (which are in Portuguese, and which I have not memorized yet) and sing them.

Gabe did what he could, but it was difficult for him to read the score off the smartphone while someone tried to scroll and zoom in on it in real time. Still, we did sort of go through the song before giving up.

Breaking the barrier

In any case, this was the first time in my life singing a song at all as a solo vocalist with accompaniment. I was crazy nervous, but tried not to let on that this was my first time. I didn’t do too badly, considering the ad hoc circumstances.

The important thing was, I had broken a barrier. I knew after this experience that there was no turning back. I want to sing, seriously, in the future. It’s time I started. I’ve wanted to do this for decades, since I was a toddler singing along to records and to TV and to myself and to my sister. The singing impulse got killed in me in middle school by a music teacher who made me feel incompetent and unworthy at a time when that was the last thing an adolescent needed.

I never expected that I’d get my start goofing around at a party. I have gone to karaoke-type events before, at which I never once considered singing, even while everyone else was doing it.

After the party

I made some decisions after the party:


Yet another musical party has changed my life. I now sing. Also, with some sadness, I am taking a break from Baroque flute.

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