Yes, you can sing!

There is an African saying "if you can walk you can dance, and if you can talk you can sing". Pretty much everyone is born with the anatomy to make and shape sound. The rest is practice - starting with those language-forming skills in our earliest years, our ability to sing develops naturally over time.

In lots of cultures, particularly indigenous ones, singing is such a normal activity that nobody thinks twice about whether they can sing, let alone when they're allowed to. In fact, some cultures don't even have a word for singing, because it's so universal. People learn songs by hearing them repeated many times, they are part of the aural landscape from birth, and many cultures have a tradition of learning by ear, without any written prompts for words or tune. Important cultural information (history, safety, tikanga) is encoded in song, and people take pride in remembering complex songs by heart, and passing them down to the next generation.

Here in the West it's a different story. Many people have had a disturbing event of some kind "shut them down" from singing. In our culture, to open one's mouth and sing can be an incredibly vulnerable moment, and the slightest negative response can scar a person for decades. We also live in a culture of revering perfection and we're fascinated by extremes of ability - its no wonder that so many people steer away from the idea of singing. So often people say to me "you wouldn't want to hear me sing" and my heart sinks, because yes, I really would like to hear you sing. I'd like to hear your authentic voice, and I'd like to help you to develop it to become your best singing self.

Singing, especially in a group is beneficial for physical health (strengthens breathing, posture etc) and mental health (focusing on a creative task, learning new stuff, playing). Not to get too woo-woo about it, I think singing together has the possibility to connect each of us to something greater - be it a spiritual power, the collective unconscious or simply to feel part of a community. it's an easy way to socialise without having to make small-talk, to feel part of a team and to make an awesome, corporate sound. The whole really is greater than the sum of its parts.

Singing in a community choir, with no expectation that you have any musical experience is a fun way to gently introduce your adult self to the joy of singing in a group of like-minded people. Sometimes it takes courage to begin with, but know you are safe and you'll add to the sound in your own way. Everyone in the room has been through that first night, and will welcome you in an atmosphere of encouragement and acceptance.

So yes - you can sing! And you'll get better at it with intention, self kindness, time and practice.

Yes - you can sing. You can sing here, with us.


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