Oops! It appears that you have disabled your Javascript. In order for you to see this page as it is meant to appear, we ask that you please re-enable your Javascript!

I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing

I was raised in the Catholic Church, during the time when the mass was in Latin, I had to wear a veil on my head, and I greatly feared throwing up after Communion.

Because every Catholic school kid knew that if you threw up the blessed host, the priest had to come over, bless the vomit, and then the janitors had to whisk it away for immediate burial.  Then you would be subjected to the nuns who would look at you rather severely and shake their habits disapprovingly.

It never happened to me.  But it did happen to several classmates of mine.  And I took great pains to make certain that when I arrived via yellow bus at morning mass,I dilly dallied in the vestibule long enough to miss Communion.

A couple of years later, the Latin mass was replaced by English.  SO THAT’S WHAT THE PRIEST HAS BEEN SAYING ALL THIS TIME!  And my little progressive church was among the first to introduce the guitar mass.

I was mesmerized by the sleek stringed instruments and the beautiful folk music that they accompanied.  Suddenly, I no longer hid out in the back, waiting to be ushered in by the nun on vestibule patrol.  I walked into mass on my own accord, pausing by the pews occupied by the guitar strumming students so that I could have a good look at what they were doing with their flying fingers.

From that day on, I began badgering my parents for a guitar.  They were hesitant, because I already tortured them with daily piano recitals.  At the insistence of my beleaguered piano teacher, Mr. Keller.

Finally they relented, and got me a 6 string Yamaha guitar.  And poor Mr. Keller was elicited to instruct me in all things guitar.

I’m not a person who generally likes to be told what to do and I most certainly don’t care to read instructions.  So as you might imagine, most of what I picked up on the guitar, was what I gleaned on my own.

Consequently, I never really learned the right way to play.  But that didn’t stop me from joining the guitar mass when I came of age in high school.

We were really bad, so it was a fit.  And when our church musical director quit when I was about 16, I became the guitar mass musical leader.  I have no idea why.  Other than I was the only one who had the unmitigated nerve to do it, despite a rather obvious lack of musical ability.

But I looked really groovy in my platform shoes and bell bottoms.

And I could start us out with, “One, two, three, ready….go.”  Before every song.

I used my newfound position as leverage, and talked my parents into getting me a 12 string Yamaha guitar.  Arguing that by singing worship songs and playing a really fabulous guitar, I was securing my place in heaven.

I really didn’t know what to do with all those strings, but usually 7 or 8 of the strings were actually in tune.  So, it sounded kind of okay, and looked really good on me.

I left the guitar mass when I went off to college.  And traded in calloused fingers for acrylic nails.  Obscenely long acrylic nails.  It’s a wonder that I never blinded myself.

And for many many years, my guitars sat idle.  Collecting dust.

Until my daughters expressed an interest in learning the guitar.  Not wanting my precious Yamahas used as potential weaponry, we purchased the girls youth-sized guitars.  They took a little homeschool co-op guitar class, and they learned to pick “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”  Which they practiced until our ears bled.

They even enjoyed serenading their little brother while he bathed until that one fateful event.

Anyhoo.  I’ve been wanting to teach them the correct way to play the guitar.  And since I really have no idea, I’ve turned to the professionals.

To find out more about what DVD I’m using to teach them, head over to Fiddledeedee Reviews.

And there is a giveaway as well!

But don’t worry, it’s not a recording of me playing the guitar while singing Kumbaya. In hotpants.

Please stifle your disappointment.

But for your listening pleasure, I’ve linked to Joan Baez’s version of Kumbaya.  And if you listen carefully, she says OH LARD, KUMBAYA.

Which just makes me 5 kinds of happy.

3 Responses to I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing

  • I really enjoyed reading that – highly entertaining! My mom got me a guitar and guitar lessons when I was in Grade 1. Then came the piano lessons, and so the guitar stood in its case in my room as a valuable ornament…until Grade 11 when I became part of my school’s guitar club and we played during some assemblies. And now, at 34, the sound of the guitar has pulled at my heartstrings again! So, I’ll have the snapped string replaced, and I’ll start strumming with enthusiasm again!!

  • I luv the grade school story of your classmates! Thanks for the laugh this a.m.


  • I have been a Catholic Christian all my life and have never heard of blessing vomit, or hearing of someone vomiting after Communion (yuck) but I thank you for the laugh of reminding me of all those guitar lesson memories in middle school. I tried to pick up lessons in college but gave it up as soon as I gracefully could.