“No, but I really can’t. My grade school music teacher told me I should mouth the words so I don’t throw everybody off.”
This is a true story, and not just from one person. The result: they went decades never singing with another human being. Then there are the people whose partners and other trustworthy folk have told them they should never sing in public, when they’ve been warbling happily in the kitchen or wherever.
I’ve heard this so many times now, and it gets me so worked up (clearly), I’ve taken on a mission:
To whit, I started a Singing Group for People Who Don’t Think They Can Sing. Which really needs a shorter name, although it does state what it’s all about. At the moment it’s all women, brave souls who have brought their sweaty palms and nervous nausea over to my house to try and find their long lost voices in a place where no-one will laugh. Men will want to join us soon, and that’s cool too.
Why am I doing this? Because I believe that raising our voices in song is one of the great gifts of being human. Singing together creates connection, yummy endorphins, joy, release. Science backs me up on this.
But science aside, I don’t get why our society has developed a performance orientation towards singing. As in, we don’t get to do it in front of other people unless we’re ‘good enough’. Good enough for what? Carnegie Hall, or just for regular humans making music together for the sheer fun of it?
So here’s the result of the SGPWDTTCS Group (I know, even as an acronym it’s impossible):
Within two sessions, people who swore they couldn’t sing were actually singing, all together. Pretty much in tune. Even the ones who were only there ‘to watch’ (totally allowable) ended up singing, because singing together is that infectious.
How did we manage this?
Willingness, for a start. A safe environment. A couple of people who already have confident voices, to create momentum. A bit of theory as to how the instrument of our voice works. A bit of note-by-note practice to start training ears and brains and vocal chords to work together to get notes sorta right. Then plunging into songs everyone knows, to discover it’s not so scary after all.
This is a friggin’ major gumptious act for my singing peeps and I’m loving what it’s doing.
If you want to start a group of your own, drop me a line in the comments section and I’ll tell you everything I know (which isn’t much, but it’s enough to get you started).
Oh yeah, and if you have a nice snappy title, send that along.
Spread the musical love!