Posted in Musings

Isolated, But Not Alone

Dear MuSingers,

I didn’t want to write a post like this.  I never believed that I would.  Not in a million years.

I wanted to be telling you about how good my study life had started to feel, how my mind had been expanding and my brain cells jumping as I learnt new things about the worlds of communication, religion, and philosophy. 

I wanted to tell you how I had started to connect with others, and was ever so gently beginning new friendships on campus.  How, in the first week I felt like a giant sore red thumb amongst people at least half my age, but how I had now felt accepted and normal.

But, instead my heart has been swept up in this coronavirus pandemic and am observing my fellow human beings scrambling for the everyday things we take for granted – toilet paper, tissues, bread, and milk.  It is not for lack of having these things – they are coming – but some of my fellow human beings have taken more than they need, leaving the elderly and other vulnerable people to go without as they stare at empty shelves.

Continue reading “Isolated, But Not Alone”
Posted in Musings

Be a (Music) Rebel – A Cure for Singer’s Blah

I believe that every singer has a little rebel living inside them.  In fact, I would encourage every singer to find that little rebel as soon as they possibly can.  Why?

Well let me first explain who that little rebel is.  Rebels generally have a bad reputation – think James Dean, surly, possibly chain-smoking (please, please do not ever smoke or give up if you do – it kills!), reckless, anti-social, maverick, and unorthodox.  But the music rebel I am referring to can actually be a great asset for singers and musicians.

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Posted in Music, Singing

How to Sing When You Don’t Feel Like It (or Can’t)

All singers, whether you are a professional, hobbyist, or volunteer, will encounter times when creating music just won’t come easily for various reasons.  The most obvious reason will be because of an emotional event that has happened to us or someone we know.  This has happened a few times for me when asked to sing at funerals or weddings (yes, weddings – a happy event, but one filled with high expectations!). 

The most challenging time was when I was asked to sing at the funeral of a woman I had known at church for many years.  She was an amazing lady who struggled with health issues all of her life, but was as sharp as a tack and lived her life with wit, humour, and determination.  When her family asked that I and another person sing at her funeral, I knew that of course I had to do it, even though my guts were churning.  You see, that was the first time I had to sing at a funeral – ever

Continue reading “How to Sing When You Don’t Feel Like It (or Can’t)”
Posted in Music, Singing

Instrumentalists: don’t drown your singers!

As singers we have many reasons and personal purposes for singing.  But essentially our ‘mission’ is to deliver a message to our listeners based on the composer’s lyrics.  We want to impart this message with feeling, dynamics, and emotion.  We also want to articulate the words well, so that people will understand what we are saying and feel that we have touched their hearts and minds.  Clarity, enunciation, and articulation are important.

Most singers are accompanied by instrumentalists – whether they are piano, guitar, organ, violins, brass, a complete orchestra, or other types of instruments.  Together we must work as a team, blend, and share the same aims in producing a seamless and beautiful sound.

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Posted in Books, Music, Reading, Singing

Book review: ‘Master Your Voice’ by Freya Casey

Firstly, please don’t be put off by the title of this book – Master Your Voice by Freya Casey. 

Even if you do not sing or are not a musician, there is so much to learn from this book.

We all have a voice for speaking as well as singing, so loving it and taking care of it is important for everyone.  Even if for some reason you ‘do not have a singing voice’ (which, by the way, I believe is not true – anyone can sing if they are prepared to take the time to work at it) you can still take away many things from this book. 

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Posted in Singing

Singers, you must have a purpose

When you sing, do you think about why you are doing it?  It could be just because we love to make a joyful noise, or that we want to improve our technique, we want to hit a particular note as accurately as possible, or just because we are happy to be alive.  We don’t want to overthink our singing, but we do want to ensure that we have a purpose.

More often than not singers don’t even think about purpose, but are too busy judging their own sound rather than enjoying the moment and the music.  Many singers find it difficult to get past the psychological battle going on in their heads – negative self-talk is a hard wall to get over.  Understanding why we sing or finding a purpose to sing is impossible if we keep telling ourselves that our voices are terrible, we keep comparing ourselves to others, or we think that people are either born singers or not.  You may want to sing with a greater purpose but find yourself stuck in this frame of mind. 

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Posted in Music, Singing

Singer beginner? Start with your head!

Everyone is musical and can be a singer.  We all have music in us –  to some it just comes more easily, strongly, and naturally, while others have to work harder to find it, but it is there as part of our souls – that is what I believe.  And you don’t have to be ‘on stage’ to qualify.  If we don’t block the ears of our hearts and minds with the worries of life, all of us can hear music right here and now in some form.  I am not just talking about the music we hear blaring out of the radio, CDs, or through other devices, but noticing how real music feels in the rhythms of life around us.  This is the type of music that gets deep into our bodies and spirits.  We may find ourselves casually tapping our fingers to what we hear and start humming a tune, or sing a random song.  When we were babies and children we made noises and didn’t care who was watching or listening.  Did you know that these small things are the start of something wonderful?

Stop reading this post right now and take a moment to just listen to the sounds around you for a minute…

Continue reading “Singer beginner? Start with your head!”
Posted in Musings

Spit spot! Why a Mary Poppins perspective positively pleases

I recently saw Mary Poppins Returns and while today’s post will not specifically review this movie in too much detail (hint: go and see it for yourself!), the cast and lead characters are wonderful – particularly Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins and Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack the lamplighter.

From the opening scene you have the feeling of being taken right back to a simpler (albeit difficult) time in history – it is set in the 1930s during the ‘Great Slump’.  I also found that this initial reaction extended to how the movie itself looked and was made – first impressions count, right?  The cast and crew have done a grand job of pulling you into a now-lost world of lightness, whimsy, and the sweet innocence of old-time musicals from the 1950s.  The music, rich orchestral sounds, costumes, artwork, details, and more are to be absorbed in all their enchantment.

Continue reading “Spit spot! Why a Mary Poppins perspective positively pleases”
Posted in Music, Singing

Why music and singing are important

I love singing.  I’ve been singing since babyhood.  How do I know this?  Because my mother told me.  Singing comes naturally to babies, doesn’t it?  They gurgle, coo, scream, and are not afraid to make the most hilarious noises. What happens to us as we grow older?  Why can’t we continue to use our voices in speech and song, even in the privacy of our own homes, to make the weirdest noises we can?  This is good for the voice and for our creative exploration!

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Posted in Musings

Welcome to The MuSinGer

Hello, and welcome to the very first post by The MuSinGer!

Every approaching New Year brings opportunities to start afresh.   I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a while, but with the proliferation (or saturation) of blogs out there, it was always an idea that was pushed away.

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