Yes, for a time that was a rule in the Gordon household, but it never stuck. All the Gordons displayed some form of musicality (singing, guitar, piano, drumming, etc.) and chose to share it at whim. For her part, Jackie displayed the usual traits of a budding singer—putting on “shows” for the grown-ups, singing show tunes and Top 40 hits after class with her girlfriends, wailing along with Aretha Franklin and the Manhattan Transfer on her school lunch hour. Singing, singing, singing right along until the critics got hold of her…
“It’s weird how much power we give our peers when we’re growing up. Some kid, I barely knew, said I couldn’t sing and I decided it was gospel. I became so self-conscious. I stopped singing where anyone else could hear me. I remember looking at ‘real’ singers, wishing I could be like them and then dismissing the idea. I had no courage, no confidence.”
Her passion overruled her fear to the point that she decided to take singing lessons. But even at her first singing lesson, she owned up to wanting to be a singer.
“When asked what I wanted to get out of singing, I could barely whisper that it was just a hobby. Apparently, everyone can sing as children, but we make all these fear-based decisions as we grow up and shut down that ability. I had to learn to let go and be as free as I was as a kid.”
Jackie always has a chuckle to herself when she hears about yet another amazing singer who has never had a lesson.
“If it’s really true, good for them. I think a few of them just might be fibbing… Personally, I don’t like the idea of singing being this mysterious unattainable dream for people. You have to be born with the gift or else you can’t do it. I say, if you want to do it, do it. If you’re really passionate about it, do it to the best of your ability. Take lessons and practice, practice, practice.”
Myself, I studied voice for years, practiced regularly and I still take lessons. I don’t believe that you get to a level where your voice as an instrument is finished. I do believe that anyone who exercises a skill and does it well should stand up as an inspiration to other people. Especially for young people, who really need to know that it takes work and perseverance to achieve goals. Plus, I’ve had wonderful committed teachers and coaches in New York and in Australia who would never be acknowledged if I decided that I never had a lesson.”