Singing should be so easy. We open our mouth and set our voice free ...
In days gone by and in some other countries we could probably find a large proportion of a population that would sing without any fear of embarrassment or judgement. Sadly, in our present society the majority seem to experience many problems with this most simple and natural of things.
Over the years I have heard many stories from people who are terrified of singing and particularly of being heard by others. They range from a thoughtless negative remark from a parent, sibling, teacher or friend to a more extreme link with abuse or punishment. Others link singing with performance and the fear of failure.
Even a throw-away comment by someone else on the quality of our voice which suggests that we can’t sing ‘well’ can affect our confidence for the rest of our lives and leads some people to stop singing altogether or never to start. Some can even experience strong physical symptoms which can emerge at the mere thought of singing e.g. tightness of the throat and chest, shallow breathing and nausea.
I do not profess to be technically knowledgeable on this subject nor do I offer any kind of ‘therapy’. All I can say is that when people sing together the benefits can be huge. Not only does it send breath around the body thereby giving the internal organs a good work out (!) but it increases our self-confidence and connects us with others. Singing can bring an all-over sense of well-being very quickly.
Singing can also stir up the emotions and people can experience huge surges of joy or sadness. This is okay.
Singing songs from different countries help us to connect with other cultures. We learn language, history and customs and more importantly we connect with our differences and our similarities. If everyone could sing together, the world would be a better place.
Harmony is so wonderful and not difficult. It is important to listen both inside and outside and to relax the body as much as possible. But the most important thing is not to worry and to have fun!
The challenge of performance is another big step for many of us and can be a hugely rewarding and enjoyable experience but only when you are ready ! Singing in a larger group or choir is a good place to start since there are lots of others singing the same parts as you and providing a wonderful body of support.
Ideally, community choirs should welcome all abilities of singers throughout the community. This means no auditions and no pressure to sing solo in front of others. They therefore offer a great opportunity for everyone to join in.
Over the last few years, more and more people seem to be joining groups and choirs across the country. In our increasingly suspicious and paranoid society this can only be a good thing. Let's get the whole world singing together to improve all aspects of our lives.