Why Sing? by Helen Douglas
Helen Douglas, a singer and songwriter and frequent participant on Full Self Singing courses, shares her valuable perspective on the importance of singing and why we do it.
One of the first things a new mother does is sing to her baby.
The soothing lullaby helps calm an often restless child.
Then come the nursery rhymes.
The simple repetitive tunes and language helps develop a sense of achievement and success, hence the ‘showpiece’ when a toddler can memorise and repeat one:
“Sing the Wheels on the Bus for granny…”
At the other end of the spectrum- how amazing is it to see the elderly, who may not be able to recall names of their family, but who can still sing the words to, ’Silent Night’ word perfectly.
And in the years in-between, what is it about singing and listening to songs that we all feel drawn to? – that magnetic pull.
I think, for me, it’s about empathy and a sense of connection.
A couple of years ago, at the start of ‘lockdown’ in a world of emotional turmoil, Salwan started an online singing course.
One of our first ‘homeworks’ was to just sing or make up a couple of lines of a melody and then put some words to it.
Being a diligent student, I did my homework and was surprised at the sense of satisfaction and creativity which I felt by creating a melody.
Then as I hummed my melody, I found words flowing out to the tune. Before I knew it, I had composed my first song.
Over the past couple of years, I have continued to develop my song writing and compositional skills, and for me this is a way to connect both with myself and to share those thoughts with others.
I still don’t know where these tunes and words come from – but I’m pretty sure they are from a place deep within, and the song writing process is a channel to set free hidden emotions of both the happy and sad variety.
Singing gives us permission to express out loud how we are truly feeling.
We can say through song what it is that we really want to say without fear of judgement.
When we experience heartbreak, how relieved do we feel, to hear someone on the radio singing about how heartbroken and worthless they are feeling? We get a sense of security in knowing that actually we all feel the same emotions and it’s ok to feel like that – and anyway in their next song they are delighting in their new-found love… Everything will be ok…
So, just like the mother singing to her child, the melody, the words, the voice the felt emotion, all help soothe the soul.