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Why We Sing

Why do we, who call ourselves singers, sing?

In the world before the coronavirus, we generally sang FOR something: for others (and with others), for auditions, for performances. But in this new crazy, scary, upside down time, we can’t do any of those things. There are no auditions, no performances, no others… no “for”.

So, do we stop singing? No. Absolutely no.

So, NOW why do we sing?

The quick and easy answer is that we sing in preparation for the future when auditions and performances will in fact happen again. I am not one of the doomsday group who say ridiculous things like, ‘there will never be choral singing again,’ or some such nonsense. OF COURSE there will be public singing and performances again, of every variety. But not now. Not soon.

Which then still leaves us with the why, because that future is so uncertain.  So…?

Here are the real, profound WHYs:

Because it gives us a natural high- adrenaline, endorphins, serotonin- like nothing else can.

Because it lifts us up.

Because it soothes us.

Because the sound of our own voice brings us a deep-seated psychological, physical, and personal pleasure.

  • A note about this rather bold but profoundly true statement: When one day I was foolish enough to say I hated my voice, my brilliant voice teacher, Cornelius Reid, replied, “you are lying. Of course you love your voice, because otherwise you wouldn’t sing. Singing is an optional activity. We sing, first and foremost, because the sound of our own voice turns us on.” This startled me at first and then the truth of it hit me. We may hate aspects of our voice, we may hate that it doesn’t always do what we want it to do or sound the way we want it to sound, but those things are fixable. If we really hated it, we would be silent. We just say that out of frustration or self-deprecation. We sing for the pleasure of hearing ourselves sing, to feel ourselves sing, to express our innermost longings. Singing makes us intensely and inexplicably happy.

So therefore we sing now, and always, because we love it: the doing of it, the act of it, the feeling and the sound of it.

Because, let’s face it, we must; we have to sing because it is an essential part of ourselves. As Cornelius also said, our voice IS us. So, virus, or no virus, we sing on.

Our souls are listening, if no one else.

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