The Secret Art of Whistling

“Stop whistling, Clemens. Only laborers whistle,” my great friend and teacher Christian K. used to say. Christian was Austrian, and like many citizens from that cutlet-shaped country,  leaned towards eccentricity. Highly sympathetic, but thank you for the advice. Meanwhile I am glad I listened to most of Christian‘s suggestions, and ignored this particular one.

Many years later I had an eye opening experience with music. As a birthday present, my wife gave me a weekend-long harmonica training. A crash course with a professional harmonica teacher, Dale King. At the end of which I walked from the experience with the rewarding conclusion that I would never be able to play ANY musical instrument. Except for a CD player or smartphone, my limbs are unable to extract any melodious or rhythmic sound from any instrument.

There is some truth in the statement that everybody can and should sing, but for once being modest, I admit that my singing capabilities are limited.

But I can whistle. The tunes that Yehudi Menuhin squeezed from his Stradivari after long years of tortuous practice, effortlessly leave my two lips with no practice at all (a few heretics, like my family members, disagree with this assessment).

Whistling – it truly seems to be a secret art. I couldn’t find any article or reference  about the effect of whistling on well-being, physical health, war and piece, the economy or whatsoever. There are no lists of famous Hollywood actors or politicians that indulge in this activity.

But I LOVE it. In fact, I will now render Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. Beats my vocal version by a length.

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