Sing Your Way Out of the Crisis

By Claire Hayden, Vocal coach @ Sally-Ann Fitzgerald and The West Cork School of Voice
Photo credit: Sharon O’Rourke

Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.
Lao Tzu


I remember when I was a child,  heading into my room singing along to the radio and genuinely just feeling an awful lot better in myself after.

With everything surrounding COVID-19 more than ever now is the time to embrace any hobbies or interests you have and singing for many is right up there.

There is a reason why singing is so beneficial to us, especially in these times, for children and adults alike.

Here are some of the many benefits of singing:

  • Singing strengthens the immune system.
  • Singing is a workout. … especially  on your lungs
  • Singing improves your posture.
  • Singing helps you sleep. Many people struggle to sleep with everything that is going on at the moment so singing is such a great way to release any anxiety you may be experiencing.
  • Singing is a natural anti-depressant.
  • Singing lowers stress levels.
  • Singing improves mental alertness. .
  • Singing can widen your circle of friends.
  • Singing builds confidence.

Song Writing

Writing my first song when I was 11 brings with it a lot of memories. Granted I cringe when I recall it now, but at the time I was absolutely thrilled when I had finished my first very-own song.

I continued to write songs, and at times lost my confidence with it, but my love for music would always bring me back to it and it was my introduction to Sally-Ann Fitzgerald (singing teacher) many years later that instilled in me the confidence I have today.

Often when asked about songwriting the question is what comes first, the words or music?

I can only give my opinion and for me there is no magic formula, It is whatever works for you, and for me I like to find a quite spot in the house and I tend to nearly always have a melody in my head first, then add my chorus, next to the verses – but as I said above there is no right way that to write a “good” song.

There is just experience and continuing to write, keeping at it and going out of your comfort zone. You do not have to be professional to songwrite nor do you need permission, it is your song and like anything musically we all have very different tastes.

For children at home who you may want to introduce to singing what helps?

  1. Warming up those vocal chords – vocal exercises of which so many are available on YouTube and different platforms.
  2. If you have an instrument, keyboard, etc. try to get them to “match pitch” by hitting a note on the keyboard and singing it back. This helps hugely to develop pitch and if they did that even for even 5 minutes a few times a week, it’s great.
  3. Make it fun – let them choose the songs they like by the artists they like; print off the words and practice, practice, practice….
  4. Have a lockdown concert – yes that’s right, have each family member sing a song of their choice for the rest of the family. A  great way to take away the anxiety around singing for others and again encouraging kids to shake off those nerves associated with singing in front of people.
  5. Have different music available to them – while I know a lot of children are drawn to the current chart toppers, introduce them to some of the greats and different genres of music.

Everything above is relevant to adults too, to simply enjoy singing/music, to maybe take a moment to yourself if feeling stressed or anxious – and if singing is something that you absolutely are not interested in, then even sitting and listening to music can change a mood very quickly.

 

Lastly I just want to add in my time with Sally-Ann Fitzgerald and The West Cork School of Voice the main benefits that stand out for kids/teens/adults, is watching them grow as singers becoming more comfortable within themselves and confident. There are such happy hormones released when we sing – and even more magical when we sing together.

No better time to sing than now… so get practising and remember have Fun…

Songs

 

Sally Ann Fitzgerald, Claire Hayden and The West Cork School of Voice

Useful Links compiled by wc19

Comments

  • Aisling
    Sun 17 May at 09:50

    Fabulous piece Clare and great advice!

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