I have been singing in an acapella choir for several years. We sing without sheet music and learn by ear. As we don’t have written music, I learned to listen to the other parts more carefully so I know what’s coming by when I hear the other parts. I don’t know what key we’re singing in or what specific notes my part is singing – only that we should be in tune with each other and with the other parts.
I have recently joined another choir. Singing is one of my favourite things and I am very much enjoying singing with my new choir – who have made me feel very welcome. In my new choir we sing with sheet music and accompanied by a piano, so it feels and sounds very different. I was so used to learning by ear and not following sheet music, that although I can read music, it’s taking me a little while to get used to it again. Translating the dots in front of me into what I should be singing and following the other lines of music for the other parts requires more concentration.
I am grateful to be able to experience both ways of singing. Sometimes it can be helpful to try things differently. There’s no right or wrong way and no better or worse way. Just different approaches. These different approaches suit different people as we’re all individuals.
Likewise with Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s is a very individual condition and different people will experience different symptoms, and will learn to manage them in different ways. Some people don’t start taking medication for years after diagnosis, others like me will start immediately. Some people respond to certain medications, others may not respond as well. Those of us with Parkinson’s share the same condition and it can be helpful to share our experiences with each other. However, as individuals we have to find our own way of living with Parkinson’s. One size doesn’t fit all.