There’s a Zimbabwean proverb that states “If you can speak, you can sing.” And strangely enough, my singing teacher said as much just this week: “Singing is speaking.” In other words, I truly believe we all can sing – just some of us have had more and/or better experiences than others.
As a professional music educator, I have spent my life listening to, singing, creating, and playing music in a variety of settings. The number one contributor to my musicianship – the aspect of musical thinking and being that everyone has to varying levels, and which can be developed through quality training and practice – has been singing. Singing, more than any other musical activity, has improved my practice as a musician.
Singing engages the primary instrument that we are born with – our body and our voice. There is plentiful research to back up the power of singing, such as this page by London based On:song https://www.onsong.co.uk/wellbeing. Suffice to say, it improves health and wellbeing, builds team cohesion, and engages all aspects of ourselves – physical, mental, emotional, interpersonal and intrapersonal.
After over 10 years of teaching music, I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the number one ways to ensure quality lessons and experiences – whether for students, ensembles, or audiences – is to pick quality repertoire. In other words, to choose the best available songs or pieces, taking into account the performers’ interests and abilities, the audience, the context, and so forth. As one singing judge put it, it’s all about “song choice, song choice, and song choice.”
Putting these two together, quality repertoire / song choice, and singing, and you get the transformational effects of singing better songs.
Personally and professionally, this has become more and more of my focus, my mission, if you will. To see people flourish through singing better songs. Right now, that’s as a music educator at an international school. But I see the applicability of this to people in every sphere of society – children, families, educators, employees and employers, and leaders.
If you’re a music educator, you might find my resources useful – see the Music Education page here.
Whoever you are, I truly hope you’re able to engage with singing, through singing better songs. Whether that’s in your community, your workplace, your place of worship, or your family. “Lift your voice and live your song!”