April – You Can Do It
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What do you do when you show up to work and The Boss says, “OK, it rained a lot in March. I get it. You wrote a song about rain. Next month I want a song that’s upbeat!”
I’ll tell you what you do.
You freak out. You start by tapping your finger on your desk. The tempo is fast. It has to be. Then your toe joins in. You keep the tempo quick till it’s lodged in your body. With the rhythm set, you hum bass lines on the way to the break room (where you make your green tea extra strong). When you’re alone in the elevator, you add melody to the rhythm that is pulsing in your head like a jackhammer. When you leave work, you’re singing at the top of your lungs. You’ve got a headache throbbing in sync with your song. If you don’t record it NOW, you’re going to explode. You power up the computer, the microphone and the metronome. The rest is history.
At least, that’s what you do when you’re in a movie. The whole thing, from The Boss walking into the office to the song sweeping the nation, takes about 4 to 5 minutes.
But that’s not what happened. Instead, my quickly tapping finger got tired. It slowed down and I thought about that sad melody I whistled for the abandoned March song. Why not just finish that tune? It was cool, it had a xylophone made of orange juice glasses, and it was so close to being done. But it was so far from being what The Boss demanded.
After two weeks, I didn’t have a peppy song written, not to mention recorded. This was troubling. Free time in April was scarce because I moved to a new house. Any downtime was spent packing, unpacking, making trips to the hardware store or staring at the wall, completely exhausted by it all. My to-do list had no end in sight.
Fearing that I wouldn’t record a song for April, I told myself, “you can do it”. And I said it over and over. You can do it. You can do it. You can do it! Before long, those words formed a melody. It was slow, and not particularly upbeat, but it was catchy. Would it still work if I jacked the tempo and made it faster? It would. It actually sounded better that way. I had my chorus figured out. I could do it!
Once I realized April wasn’t going to be a bust, all kinds of upbeat songs blossomed in my head. It wasn’t a matter of trying to come up with something to work with, but a matter of picking the right pieces to put together.
“You can do it” is the finished puzzle. Surprisingly, my cello stepped up to the plate and kept it peppy. In fact, it totally hogged the plate. Not only was my ukulele shunned for yet another month, but so was the mandolin. This was all cello, all the time. Plus stomps, hand-claps, my voice and morton (my trusty box of salt). This might be the first cello “pep” song every written.
You can try this song at home! Here’s the chart!