I recently completed Opening Bars, a full length account of my singing lessons so far. Yesterday I emailed the MS to literary agents. Here are extracts from my covering letter:
Opening Bars describes what happened – and is still happening – following my decision to take lessons as a classical music baritone. Big deal, except that I was eighty at the time and had no previous formal training in music. The normal route, based on months of musical theory, was barred to me since it was clear I might easily be overwhelmed by the sort of thing that happens to all of us and especially octogenarians. ...I reckoned I could pick up the crotchet stuff as and when it became necessary.
Fifteen months have now passed and (my teacher) and I are presently working on the Pamina – Pappageno duet, Bei Männern, from Mozart’s The Magic Flute. We sound pretty good.
Problem is Opening Bars is shortish (33,000 words) and may not be commercially viable... I’m pondering offering the story as a programme concept to BBC Radio 3 but I worry they may not regard me as sufficiently solemn. One of the problems with classical music.
By return one agent (Anne Williams, bless her) said this:
I read this and thought it was lovely - and in a line with others discovering a new artistic skill, such as Alan Rusbridger and his piano, and it would I think be of interest to all those people who join choirs in later (or mid, or early) life. It de-mystified singing to an extent, taking the scariness out of having to stand next to a teacher and SING! But you are right, it is too short for a book - it would need to be more than twice as long to be viable. So I'm afraid I can't see how I would help. My only thought it that it's more Radio 4 than 3...
Now that's being turned down the nice way. (Alan Rusbridger, BTW, is the former editor of The Guardian).