Sing across the border

When we received a Sing for Good entry all the way from London we were excited to connect with people from across the globe. Even more inspiring was the song entrants Tus and Natasha wrote titled ‘Border Door’ in support of breaking down barriers and welcoming refugees. The song aims to motivate others to change, act and heal as their message to ‘open up the border door’ plays in the minds of listeners. We asked Tus to share some of the highs and lows of her singing journey, how she came to Sing for Good and her new found confidence in singing every day for a year.

Where did you first hear about our singing project Sing for Good

I came across Tania de Jong’s talk “How singing together changes the brain” from TedxTalk. I tried to find her contact and sent her a message right away to express how much I was inspired by the talk. Listening to her speech, I felt very motivated to sing with other people more often and to set up a WithOneVoice London. Tania replied to me and also let me know about Sing for Good. I entered right away, such an awesome way to raise awareness and fundraise for people in need.

How long have you been singing?  

I have always been singing and humming since I was little. I performed sometimes in special school events. I have always been quite shy about my singing ability though. I went through depression 3 months ago because of many different reasons. During that depression phase I was very critical of myself, I had zero self-esteem and I could not sing, even just for myself. Then I met Melanie Garside (Maple Bee) who is a music therapist, musician. She offered me weekly music therapy sessions which changed my life totally. I was able to overcome depression. I started singing again and enjoying life much more. I now see life full of hopes and possibilities.


What sparked your interest to write the song “Border Door” to raise awareness about the refugee crisis? 

Here is what Natasha Gilbert wrote: “After holding a fundraising event for refugee support projects, I became very passionate about the future of those stuck between borders. I wanted to write a song that has a simple calling: ‘open up the border, open up the border door’. We hope that it will echo in the hearts of listeners  growing their empathy to the point where they are ready to read more , donate and volunteer for refugee services. Singing has the power to motivate others to change, or to act, as well as to heal. We can do this best as a community, which is why Tus and I came together to sing this.”

You are also singing one song a day for a year and sharing it on social media. How many songs have you recorded so far? And how has this helped you become more confident in your singing? 

I have been singing every day for 42 days now! In the first week, I was very shy and nervous when I posted a video, I thought a lot about whether I sang well enough, what people were going to think of me and now I’m not worried anymore! It has been so awesome! Lately, I have also been feeling much more energized and creative every day! I am a full time art student and singing has enabled me to have more ideas in my art practice. My friends have been noticing the changes in me and ask why I am so excited these last few days!

Where can we hear more of your beautiful songs to share with others?

Check out Natasha Gilbert music and follow Tus on her amazing Sing for 365 day project.

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We wish Tus all the best for the year ahead of singing, which will no doubt have a happy, healthy and positive impact.

Watch Tus and Natasha Sing for Good here and support them in their hope for opening the border door and welcoming refugees.

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Mental Health Week: Sing your way to happier you

In recognition of Mental Health Week and World Mental Health Day on Saturday 10 October we are asking you to take the next step towards acknowledging your own mental health and wellbeing. #mentalhealthbeginswithyou

As the stigma around mental illness reduces, more people are recognising the benefits of participating in activities which create a more positive psychology. And one of the best ways to feel happier, healthier, smarter and more relaxed is by singing! Whether you sing in your car, sing with friends or in the shower, taking five minutes out of your day to sing it out will put you in a better mood both mentally and physically.

When we sing, we create new neural pathways and release oxytocin, the hormone responsible for love and bonding. Singing also fires up the right temporal lobe of the brain and releases endorphins, “feel good” chemicals that trigger fun, enjoyment, happiness and relaxation.

Not only is singing a great way to improve your mental wellbeing, but singing in a choir or group is proven to be an even more valuable resource for those in need. Regularly singing with others in the community allows you to build strong networks and this is especially beneficial for those who don’t have strong family or community supports in their lives.

In recent years I have struggled with depression (2)World Mental Health Day is a global day to raise awareness and advocacy for mental health issues worldwide.

This year WMHD has three objectives:

  • Encourage help seeking behaviour
  • Reduce the stigma associated with mental illness
  • Foster connectivity throughout communities

By simply having a singalong, encouraging others to sing, connecting with the community and raising awareness about mental health you can help achieve these goals and improve you own mental wellbeing.

De-stress your life and do something good. Do it for you and those around you. Join us in song and enter Sing for Good. #dogood #feelgood  #WMHD

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Singclusion becomes a reality

By Eloise Mahoney

Imagine what the world would be like if everyone sang when they talked and danced when they walked. A world where we were all united through the pure joy of music. A world where ‘singclusion’ was actually a word and we all sang in perfect harmony.

Imagine waking up every day and instead of saying ‘Good Morning’ you begin belting out a bit of Wham! before you ‘go-go’ on your merry way. Crazy, I know, but one can only dream!

Wham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This utopian world where music is the universal language is a far-fetched dream for some. Like many, you may have been told you can’t sing. The reality hurts. Trust me, I can barely sing in tune!

And while we may never sound as dreamy as George Michael, we need to stand up and push past the ‘shushes’ from those demanding silence. Absolutely nothing is stopping you from stretching your vocal chords a little further than your shower or car.

One thing I have discovered from opening up my voice is that it’s good for you! Neuroscience has proven time and time again that singing – especially as a group – makes us happier, healthier, smarter and more creative.

Singing releases those little feel good endorphins you get from eating chocolate, but without the unwanted calories. Sounds like a diet for life if you ask me.

Not convinced yet? Let me introduce you to a group of do-gooders who are making the singclusion dream a reality. Playing for Change is a social movement inspiring and connecting everyone through music.  They believe that music and song has the power to break down boundaries and make us more connected globally.

It is the vision of an ideal world, but its working! Just like Michael Jackson sang to Heal the World, Playing for Change are ‘gonna make a change, it feels real good… they’re gonna make a difference, gonna make it right…’ mj
The Playing for Change movement was founded in 2002 by Mark Johnson and Whitney Kroenke when they hit the streets of America to sing with the soul shakers of the suburbs. Since then, the musical team has grown and they have been tirelessly globetrotting to record a series called “Songs Around The World”. Each musician is welcomed with open arms and hearts into the global music family.

A Playing for Change band was also created as a result of this journey, bringing the greatest musicians together through song. The band members come from all different countries and cultures, but the best part is they all speak the same language: music. It’s real life ‘singclusion’ happening right before our eyes.

“With music we are always working together – the musician and the audience create the shared experience. This is a great foundation to build social change”
– Playing for Change

Playing for Change is in tune with the message we hum for Sing for Good so it seemed fitting they enter our community singing challenge. Their video ‘Cotton Fields’ is an oldie by Huddie Ledbetter from the 1940s being played by Blind Boy Paxton, Luke Winslow King, Esther Rose, Takuya Kuroda and the California Feetwarmers.

It’s a toe-tapping folky performance that is bound to leave you with a smile from ear to ear and feel-good goosebumps all over! Watch the Playing for Change video here and donate or vote to show your support.

Playing for Change Day is taking place on 19 September 2015, where musicians and music lovers can gather together for a global day of action to help bring music into the lives of children and promote positive social change.

The day sees 400+ musical events take places in over 60 countries around the world with money raised go towards providing instruments and music inspiration to today’s youth.  To support the day and get involved check out playingforchange.org

Are you ready to step out of the shower and master the new universal language?

You can also join us in Sing for Good and help us spread the singclusion movement. Simply enter a video, share it with friends and celebrate the power of the voice.

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Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive

Last week our lovely ambassadors The Pacific Belles and Neighbours star Alan Fletcher took to the mic to promote Sing for Good on the Melbourne radio station JOY 94.9. The dynamic team sang the popular song ‘Accentuate the Positive’ giving the audience a taste of their delightful harmonies with support from the toe-tapping ukulele. The song was first written by Harold Arlen in 1944 and later performed by The Andrew Sisters and Bing Crosby. The song choice couldn’t be more fitting for Sing for Good with the key lyrics explaining ‘you got to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative’.  Watch their radio performance below. 

“It’s important to reach out and connect with people and we feel so lucky to do this through our favourite pastime, which is singing”
Betty, Dot & Mabel (The Pacific Belles)

JOY 94.9 is a gay and lesbian volunteer-based community radio station listened to by 329,000 people in Melbourne as well as online, podcasts and blogs. The station is self-funded and committed to enabling freedom of speech and breaking down the barriers of isolation. JOY 94.9 is also joining us as community partners for Sing for Good 2015.

Working together our ambassadors and community partner put on a fantastic show and we can’t thank them enough for their continual support.

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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

To continue reading, click here

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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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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