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!
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…’
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.
Sing for Good singing challenge has been open for nearly two weeks and we have seen an array of amazing entries! Each performance captures the joy and happiness that group singing brings to one another and we are looking forward to seeing many more inspiring sings in the coming weeks. One entry we are loving though comes from our community partner OzHarvest.
The Australian band Air Land Sea has offered the song If You’ve Got Love in support of OzHarvest’s efforts to rescue food, educate and nourish Australians in need. The video captures recipients of OzHarvest food rescue services and features members of With One Voice Sydney and The Sydney Street Choir. You can check it out here.
We are delighted to work with OzHarvest, who provide suppers for several of our inclusive community choirs. Part of the donations raised from this Sing for Good entry will go to support the important work of OzHarvest. So please support this fantastic cause and give generously!
Air Land Sea is a new writing and recording project from songwriters Tony Buchen, Nadav Kahn and Lior. The single of If You’ve Got Love is out now on iTunes.
Watch, donate and vote for OzHarvest: http://singforgood.org/ozharvest-if-youve-got-love
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
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.”
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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