Do you sing in the shower? How does singing make you feel?
“Mummy – why are you always singing?”
Honest answer – singing makes me happy. It brings joy to my soul. It takes me out of myself and lifts me to a higher plane. I have a song for every occasion. Unfortunately, my singing doesn’t seem to do the same for my small son. Apparently, I have “singlitis”.
A few years ago, I went on a National Trust Working Holiday building dry stone walls and cutting back overgrown plants. I went with a couple of friends, and had the coincidence of meeting another old friend there. It was a brilliant week (apart from the early starts), one I have never forgotten.
Sing while you work
We were singing as we were working. It was a mix of songs from the shows and 90s hits, but it didn’t go down well with one person. We were working with a different member of National Trust staff that day, and he just couldn’t cope with it. We were told to stop. It was a strange feeling – like the joy had been sucked out. We struggled to get back into the rhythm of singing the next day. He had broken us somehow.
We have had some work done on our house recently. At one point I told the electricians I was going out. They were pleased, and said that meant they could sing. I said they could sing when I was in the house, but they didn’t seem keen. I sneaked back in at one point and heard them in full flow. I admit it wasn’t absolutely in key, but I could tell they were enjoying themselves, and they seemed to work better while they were singing.
You can’t sing!
Were you one of those children who were told they had to stand at the back of the choir and not allow any sound to come out? People have shared these stories with me, and are still scarred by them 70 years later. They may not have been the best singers, but not to be allowed to join in was both insulting and crippling. One worship leader told a church congregation that they are the worst singers he had ever known. They tell me this whenever I come to take a service, and as a result will only have 4 hymns, not 5.
At the beginning of life, babies love to hear their parents sing, whether it is tuneful or not. At the other end of life’s journey, many elderly people with dementia gain a great deal from joining a “Singing for the Brain” choir. The participants seem to be able to recall songs and music more easily than many of the other things they have forgotten. It gives them great pleasure, and helps them to relax.
Will you give it a go?
I know that not everyone likes to have their voice heard in public, but have you tried singing along to the car radio? Or putting on headphones and singing your heart out without having to hear your own voice back? Go on – give it a go.
Since telling me that I am not allowed to sing, the others in my family seem to be doing it a lot more. They are now really enjoying it. “Singlitis” must be infectious! I think I will have to sing in secret while they are out and let them get on with it. Hopefully they will give their permission for me to sing again once they have had a break!
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