Too many sickies? Get your staff to sing daily

Tania and Choir

Group singing inspires creativity, reactivates weary brains and improves our wellbeing in countless ways – international research is proving it again and again. So why don’t more businesses sing daily?

According to IBM’s CEO Global Study, which polled over 1500 executives across 60 nations and 33 industries, creativity is now regarded as the most important leadership quality for success in business, outweighing integrity and global thinking.

In today’s fast-paced business environment, creativity and innovation are a prerequisite for success, and possibly even survival. Yet in many companies there are no clear pathways for developing personal creativity. In fact, often those with the ideas are ignored or stifled, so that eventually their voices fall silent

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International Women’s Day 2015: Celebrating the voice of Melbourne women

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Some years ago I went to a corporate breakfast for International Women’s Day. The guest speaker was a life coach for women of power and influence. She referred to herself as a Persuasion Expert. She wore a pale lemon suit and exhorted us to set our goals. She talked about the imperative of women finding their voice.

I imagined all the husbands, at home, rolling their eyes.

“Find your voice? Find the off-button, more likely.”

Read more here

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Top 10 Songs to Sing in the Shower

A Music Buff’s Guide to Singing… In the Buff

Ferris Bueller

Not only does everybody sing in the shower, everybody also thinks they sound better in the shower. The reason why we sound better is fairly simple, it’s due to your voice bouncing off the smooth hard tiles and glass surfaces, giving it more power. This makes a regular Joe or Joanne sound as powerful as the late Roy Orbison or as soulful as Adele.

Research into shower singing has provided even more reasons to belt it out first thing in the morning. A Swiss study found singing to have a huge effect on your heart rate, so much so that it can even reduce the risk of heart disease. Swedish neurologist Bjorn Vickhoff said that singing “gives you pretty much the same effect as yoga breathing”.

So what other reasons do you need to realize the beauty of shower singing first thing in the morning? Maybe you’re just stuck for ideas on what to sing next? If that’s so, enjoy 10 songs selected to belt out in a hot shower on a cold morning.

10: Tiny Dancer – Elton John
The song is short and sweet. Sweet because it recounts the day Elton’s long time writing partner, Bernie Taupin, first met the woman he would soon make his wife.  The hook erupts after three verses and is easily one of the catchiest and most recognizable in Elton’s amazing catalogue. “Only you can hear me/ when I say softly slowly/Hold me closer tiny dancer/count the headlights on the highway”.

9: Sweet Child ‘O Mine – Guns N’ Roses
Wake up with a bang and pull out your best shower air guitar moves. “She’s got a smile that it seems to me/reminds me of childhood memories/where everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky” is one of the catchiest opening lines in modern rock.  The song is about lead singer Axel Rose’s future ex-wife in happier times, but let’s remember it for why it was created and not what happened after. Fans of the comedy Step Brothers will understand how the song lends itself to some ‘beautiful’ harmonies and is just as affective a capella.

8: Hey Jude – The Beatles
Paul McCartney was inspired to write the song after consoling Julian Lennon, who had felt neglected by his father John, once he began dating Yoko Ono.  That coming from the man who wrote the ultimate song of love and peace, Imagine, shows how greatly complex people are.  Yet McCartney stepped up in the role of surrogate uncle and delivered one of the greatest songs of re-assurance, love, and support ever written.

7: Fake Empire – The National
The National, while unknown to many, are the modern masters of understated, ambiguous, and simple lyrics. With three simple verses Fake Empire is perfect song to belt out in a hot shower. The song can be interpreted a number of different ways. The first can be an ode to imagination and reminiscing. The second is a dissection of the United States under the presidency of George W. Bush. And the third is simply forgetting your troubles, and that of the world, it’s time to: “Turn out the light, say goodnight. No thinking for a little while”.

6: You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling Stones
Wants versus needs is a classic theme of the arts. Its most often found in film and literary characters that often start of a story trying to achieve their need, but walk away more enriched discovering what they truly want. Of course sometimes the opposite occurs.  The song is about life not always going the way you think it should, yet somehow at the end of the day more often or not we get by with what we have. You can’t always get what you want/ but if you try sometime/you just might find/you get what you need.

5: Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
A song about being you and not letting what people say get in the way! This is a feel good, high energy, sass-filled tune that can help you launch into the day. The song is fun, filled with attitude and is all about being the person you are meant to be. It deals with perception versus reality in a fun light hearted way, and is just as catchy for men as it is women, just try and shake, shake, shake it off!

4: Rolling In The Deep – Adele
They say “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”, and whoever broke Adele’s heart found out how true that sentiment really can be. Combining her powerful voice with beautiful lyrics, the song is about proving to someone who was meant to have your back what the cost of their betrayal is. Adele proved her point by going on to win the 2012 Grammy for song and record of the year.

3: Wild World – Cat Stevens
This song, about saying goodbye to an ex-lover can be interpreted as goodbye and good luck or goodbye now don’t stuff up. The subtle lyrics beautifully encapsulate the contradictory feelings of a break up, while remaining peaceful, controlled, and quiet.

2: Like A Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan
“Once upon a time you dressed so fine/threw the bums a dime/in your prime/didn’t you?” After the thunderous kick of a snare drum Dylan fires out the first line of the song with an energy that never lets up. The song tells the story of an affluent girl’s lack of concern for the dangerous path she’s walking. It’s a song about high society, wasted opportunity, and karma that contains some of the greatest lyrics ever written.

1: Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac
A song to be belted out any time you’re starting something new, feeling confused, or taking a risk. The song is written by the male lead of the great Fleetwood Mac Lindsay Buckingham and is about the end of his relationship with female lead singer Stevie Nicks. This song is filled with a lot of hope and a wonderful sense of ease, knowing that what has happened did happen and it’s time to move on.

What’s your favourite  song to sing in the shower?

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A BIG thank you to all our volunteers

Thank you volunteers

It’s National Volunteer Week and Creativity Australia’s With One Voice family wants to say a big thank you to our 100 volunteers who support and contribute to the community every week.

Without their ongoing support, the With One Voice choirs wouldn’t be able to operate as successfully as it does and for that, we are truly grateful.

Together, our volunteers and other wonderful team members are helping change the world… one voice at a time. Creativity Australia’s aim is to bridge the gap between people experiencing disadvantage and those more fortunate through the neuro-scientific benefits of community singing, choirs and singing projects. We build supportive networks that help people connect to brighter futures.

Coinciding with Volunteering Australia’s motto this year, our team members share the same value: Give Happy, Live Happy.

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Nerves On A Choir: My First Rehearsal

Sam Siddons

I had no idea what to expect heading into the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins for my first With One Voice choir. I had just landed a gig as an intern for Creativity Australia and assumed I’d be there in an ‘observational’ capacity. That assumption proved to be incorrect. I’d never sung in a choir before, let alone publicly, and was nervous about to be doing so.

As I stood awkwardly wondering what I had got myself into it was suggested I go and join the “boys”. The boys, or the bass section, consisted of six men all much older than me, yet some were years apart from one and other.  Summing up the situation I attempted to sneak into the back row unnoticed, but this close knit gang of basses weren’t about to just let anyone in.

“A tall older man turned and looked at me.
He offered me his hand and joyfully asked “do you sing often?” “No, not really,” I said. He smiled before saying,
“You have a voice. That’s a start”.”

The tall man then introduced me to the rest of the boys, each as welcoming as he.  After being accepted into the “gang” I noticed how much they enjoyed bouncing off one and other, telling stories, and checking up on other members. As more basses arrived I was continually introduced and made to feel welcomed in their jokes and chit chat.

As Kym, the choir conductor, began to take the warm up I got a chance to see how excited everyone was to start singing. Some focused their breathing to prepare themselves, others joked and smiled, and some just sat there content in the company of others. Yet the fact remained, the most daunting part was coming, and the singing was about to commence.

Kym stood before us with the song lyrics we were about to tackle projected brightly for all to read. As we went through our warm up I tried to sing under my breath, as not to offend anyone with my untried voice. Before we sang the first song together Kym broke it down into sections and helped everyone to understand their role. With each attempt I began to grow with confidence, as if I was catching it from the other choir members by seeing their joy manifest through their singing.

I couldn’t help but feel the sense of anticipation building to start singing as one.  Once Kym was satisfied everyone felt comfortable we began our first group rendition. Any nerves or fears I had quickly vanished as the energy, joy, and passion quickly became contagious.

“Before I knew it I was singing as loudly as anyone else,
and dare I say it I think I sounded pretty good!

But my individual performance didn’t matter, as the
sound of so many different and unique voices from people all sorts of backgrounds became one. I couldn’t help but feel camaraderie and a sense of inclusion.”

We went on to sing another two or so songs and by the choirs end not only did I feel a part of it, I felt I had truly enjoyed it.   As the singing ended the Sofitel provided supper for the choir members; a chance to move around the room and talk to people in different parts of the choir. I quietly slipped out feeling uplifted, with a sense of enjoyment and accomplishment, with my previous perceptions completely re-shaped.

Never before have I taken a chance to sing in a choir. After my experience at With One Voice I realised what I have been missing out on. There is something so liberating about singing, and when you’re given the chance to be who you are and sing, I highly recommend you take it. You will not regret it, how could you?

Find your local With One Voice choir at www.creativityaustralia.org.au

Melbourne choir

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Submissions close 18 November