You can’t whistle while you work because YOU CAN’T WHISTLE

My kids can’t whistle.

It’s a sad statement for me to make because I love to whistle. Songs like “The Stranger,” “What a Day for a Day Dream,” and “Me & Julio Down By the Schoolyard” are near and dear to me as there is a segment where I can unattractively purse my lips and “sing” along.

For a while there were two childhood hurdles my girls could not master. One was, of course, the whistle, and the other was the finger snap. I could never snap my fingers properly. I can clearly recall sitting on the carpet in 4th grade circle time and the teacher calling for us to snap our fingers in time to a song. Holy crap! What was I going to do?

Like a true woman in training, I faked it. With a smile on my face and a beat in my fingers I went through the motions and nobody was the wiser. But me. I wouldn’t remember this insignificant moment if it didn’t really bother me.

Yet somehow both of my daughters, through schoolyard shenanigans and cafeteria downtime have managed to learn how to snap their fingers. What they have not done is learn how to whistle. And I’ve tried to teach them. I swear.

But have you ever really tried to explain how to whistle? Think about it…it’s a pretty complex series of events that makes that sound emit from your lips; tongue and teeth and jaws and breath are all involved simultaneously. It’s really rather complicated. And here I stand trying to teach my girls how to do it – I couldn’t even get my youngest to understand simplifying fractions, but I am supposed to be able to show her how to whistle?

I’ve showed them the proper tongue and jaw position. I’ve told them that it’s not a question of how hard they blow, but how the mouth is shaped in order to get that sweet, melodious tune to flow through that narrow lip hole. And I tell them to PRACTICE. It’s not a matter of do A), B), & then C) and you will whistle – every mouth is different. You have to sit in your room with the TV off and fiddle around until you find the perfect shape that your mouth/tongue and lips need to be at to create a tone.

Well, like most kids of today, when they are not instantly gratified they are pissed and they therefore give up. Plus, they don’t appreciate the marvelousness of the whistle, so it’s not something that is worth an hour of their time to try and master. I can’t recall how and when I learned to whistle, but at some point I mastered it and mastered it well. I consider myself to be an above average whistler, and here my kids can’t carry a mouth crafted tune.

I hope that one day during a sleepover or a party, someone will be able to finally get them to make that wonderful leap into the league of whistlers. To show them their lips are as good as any instrument; that they too can be a musician without the use of a trumpet, flute or saxophone. Cause when you are stuck alone somewhere, bored in your car, or just in need of some musical accompanyment…

It’s better when you whistle.

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