We can all sing – we all have a voice and if you can speak then you can sing. The voice is our very first instrument.
Singing is a wonderful thing – it provides a sense of wellbeing and triggers endorphins (the feel good naturally occurring opiates) – much like exercise. Studies show that a good hearty sing can strengthen immunity. Anecdotally I know from my own experience and of others, you never feel worse after a good sing than you did before.
I have made music my entire life but only dabbled with my voice until my 30s when I joined a Gospel Choir. I started just singing, but very quickly, necessity required me to step up and lead. I trained on the job and enjoyed the lucky position of being in the front and in the centre of, a blend of voices and people. It’s a sonic bath – bathe in the music.
Through leading a group – I learned a lot about singing, and singing together. I learned how closely the voice is connected to the individual. Many people came to audition and were paralysed – the music became a therapy to regain the speaking voice. Some came to rehearsals and were unable sing a note – only weep. Their singing voices came back after long silences – such a joyful gift.
As a director I have led people through songs to celebrate a wedding/union, to comfort the dying, to sooth the disrupted, to ease funereal pain and to farewell the departed.
As a singer I have sung to the living, and the dead, to the dying and the newly born, to elderly and students, MPs and the homeless. I will sing for anybody and everybody.
Singing happens everywhere in the world. The sounds that rang in your ears as a child shape your aesthetics – but singing the songs of the world has shaped me.