Some years ago I picked up my trumpet for essentially the first time in 3 decades, realized that it was going to take more effort to get and keep my embouchure in shape than I was willing to give, and donated it to a young man who was headed off to college for a music degree and who I knew would love it.
I have, occasionally, over the years, strummed a few chords on a guitar, but as I think about various square dance music I need something that'll do MIDI in. A friend gave me a rather nice 2½ octave keyboard, and I've one-fingered a few things in and re-timed them with a mouse, but the other day I was in the used section of Copperfield's, didn't find the book I was looking for, but picked up book one of Alfred's Adult All In One course.
Which is the long way of saying I just spent 45 minutes trying to play the chorus of Jingle Bells at 80 bpm (I tried at 60 bpm, and that was even worse...).
The good thing is that on Friday, as my voice lesson was wrapping up, the instrument repair guy came to my teacher's house with a fixed keyboard, heard me singing and said "nice voice, do you sing out anywhere?" Which was really nice to hear.
The last three weeks, especially, have been really good. We're working on "Hooked on a Feeling". One of my challenges is trying to figure out how to project emotional cues in a way that they're received as intended, so we've been working on that. Things like "Can you do the 'lips as sweet as candy' a little more flirty?", and I sing "...tAAASte is on my mind", and "okay, no, that was far past flirty well into creepy, dial it way back."
But we've also been working on ... well ... I experience it as huffing on the eight notes, and it gives a hell of a lot more texture to my held notes and I think, based on the few people who've heard me sing, it's been a huge leap.
Now to integrate these things I've learned on the full versions of the songs, in their own tempos and flow, into square dance calling, with the fixed tempo and interspersed into all of the mental stuff that goes into reading the square and delivering the choreography.