One of my goals is to help develop community through group singing, and I personally find the energy in group singing very energizing. However, it is helpful to incorporate solitary singing into your life, so that you develop a repertoire of songs you know well and increase your confidence and skills. The great thing about singing is that we all carry our voices with us all the time. We may not always be able to sing, due to circumstances (jobs, classes, eating, sleeping, etc.) which demand our quiet attention to the task at hand. But everyone’s day contains pockets of singing opportunity. Singing here and there in our daily lives not only helps us helps us learn more songs and get better at singing but feels good in the moment. Here are some suggestions about potential singing situations:
Walking – Some people are self-conscious about being heard by others, but this does not need to stop you if you think about it. Remember that when we walk by someone and we are singing, they only hear us for a short time, not long enough to get annoyed or tired of our voices, even if they hate that kind of singing. Most of the time we don’t pass a lot of people on residential streets anyway. You can really belt it out when you are walking on deserted pathways in parks or later in the evening. I have also always felt that singing is a good self-defense technique. Who would attack someone who is striding along, in her power, breathing deeply, fully alert and clearly able to yell?
Waiting at the bus stop – Many times we are alone at bus stops, or there are only a few people and we can stand a little away from them if we don’t want to share.
On the bus – This is a little trickier as you don’t necessarily want to annoy the person next to you. When I want to sing on the bus I use a very quiet voice that can hardly be heard over the noise of the engine. This doesn’t fully exercise my voice but it is great for rehearsing lyrics and tricky tune bits.
In the car – Turn off the radio and turn on your voice. If you are alone, the car is a great place to really get into it. You can sing loud, make mistakes, improvise and compose, all without worrying about being heard.
At home – If you can pull out some new songs at home when you have some time and energy to study lyrics, you will find you have more material memorized and ready for those moments out in the world when you feel like singing, alone or with others. If you don’t live alone you may be able to find a quiet place to go in your home while others are busy with their own pursuits. While group singing works best without reading, private study of lyrics in a focused manner (looking and singing, looking away and singing, looking back, looking away) is often an efficient way to learn songs. The main thing is to remember to try singing without reading so you actually learn the lyrics. If you only sing with lyrics in front of you, it is much more difficult to recall them when they are not there.
These are just a few potential singing situations. You will find opportunities if you get into the singing habit. Where do you like to sing? Leave a comment and share your ideas.