I think, if we all think hard enough, there is at least one thing that we are significantly better that than the general population is. For me, it’s songs. Both lyrics and tunes. I have a pretty freakish memory for an exceptional number of songs, that stretch back right into the mists of time.
I like to test the skill periodically on “new songs” – that is, new to me. I have done it today specially for this post, with Hank Williams’ “I Saw The Light”. I chose this song because I happened to hear it for the first time about 3 days ago. Today I found it with lyrics on YouTube and gave it a go. By the 3rd listen I can sing along with it with about 90% accuracy and on the 4th I can sing most of it independently. Granted, this is quite a simple song, as songs go, but I find that listen 3 and 4 generally result in a secure knowledge, irregardless of the song. The same goes for foreign language songs, suggesting it is working in my brain at a deeper level than purely language. And once the song is learnt, it’s there in my brain forever and ever. I still remember songs I learnt years and years ago, and haven’t sung for just as long.
And like all talents, most of them start off from when we are young. Because, as everyone knows, if you want to become expert at something, you need to start young. I developed this particular skill aged 5, with the soundtrack to ‘Joseph’. I listened to it constantly and would be “tested” with the lyric book by being given a lyric, and me saying the next one. I don’t recall ever getting it wrong. And now, being able to recite the colours of Joseph’s coat, in order, is still my party trick.
Musicals in general are still my strength. I guess it’s because it’s what I started with, but there are soooooo many musicals I know the whole thing of… Off the top of my head I know ABSOLUTELY ALL of:
Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Lion King, Miss Saigon, Matilda, Oliver, Love Never Dies, Wicked, Joseph, The Sound of Music, Cats, Chess, and probably a load more.
Then there are another load that I know mooooost of…
In all, the number of songs I know probably counts well into the thousands.
I guess this incessant rote learning put the necessary skill into my five year old brain, the perfect age for something like that. And 25 years later, I’ve still got the knack because I have practised it. I still hunt out or stumble over new music and my brain sucks it in just as quickly.
Aren’t brains weird?!
What’s your unusual talent?