No one needs to sing to stay alive. In fact, no one needs to speak. You could take a vow of silence (people do) and get along just fine. You certainly do not need to express music to communicate with others.
So, why sing? Why bother? Ask anyone who does….you will get all kinds of responses.
I sing because I love to sing. As a child, it was the most joyful thing I could do. Singing was a very wonderful experience. Later, when I understood it better, I would have ranked it as a “high experience”. Right alongside eating vanilla ice cream or kissing my sweetie.
As a child, whenever I sang, I got noticed. This was a mixed blessing. Sometimes the attention was nice and sometimes it made me uncomfortable. I didn’t understand why what came out of my mouth was any different, or better, than what came out of other kids’ mouths, but the world seemed to think it was. It wasn’t like I tried to make myself sound a certain way.
I found out quickly that some people said they couldn’t sing, and even amongst those who could sing, as in “carry a tune”, that not everyone had a “good voice”. I could have opted to keep my mouth shut, I suppose, but it would have been almost impossible, as I sang for myself. My life at home being less than happy, singing was one way to cheer myself up and to get away from everything else. In high school, the experience of getting a leading role in a local musical at 17 changed my life. Actually, it gave me a life, as up until then, I really didn’t have one that made me want to continue living in it. Singing was a miracle, it was a path, it gave me a reason to get up in the morning, and that was something I really needed. If I could have measured my love for singing, I would have had to find a very large scale.
Little did I know that my singing was going to be a lifelong journey. Learning about singing has been the biggest passion of my life and continues to inspire, enchant and enrich my life every day. With each person and each lesson, I learn something valuable about singing and about life.
The saddest thing to encounter is someone who used to sing but gave up after taking singing lessons unsuccessfully. What an awful legacy! The second saddest thing is to encounter someone who has lost the ability to sing for unknown reasons and can’t seem to get it back. The third saddest thing is to meet someone who has never sung because they were told to “be quiet” due to “sounding bad”. Such a terrible and unncessary fate! Fortunately, if anyone in any of these circumstances would be willing, the situations can be remedied with guidance from a knowledgeable authority.
I think the best question to ask is “Why not sing?” Since it is a fact that everyone can sing, even if they have little ability to do so at the outset, why not? Singing is a healthy, free, available, entertaining, fascinating thing to do. It’s a great hobby, and an interesting profession, with lots of avenues to explore. We all agree that singing is different than speaking, but the agreement stops there. What if we sang in our day-to-day conversation instead of spoke? What if singing was so rare that it was difficult to find anyone who could do it? Our entire world would be different, wouldn’t it?
No one knows why we can sing, where singing came from or what it’s for. All cultures have singing in them somewhere, so it is a universal thing, something very human. Remember that the next time you hear someone singing. Remember it when you hear yourself humming in the kitchen or singing along with the radio in the car. Be grateful. You are experiencing something inexplicable and powerful, something unique and ordinary. Enjoy!