For many people I know, and also speaking for myself I can say that music has well and truly been healing. It has saved many people I know from the brinks of despair. Music is such an individual thing and of course no two people can claim to have the same musical tastes.
Personally I have always had a thing for the traditional songs of England especially (I use some of these combined with baking, like the ones about windmills and flour and harvesting). I have also written a blog about working songs.
And classical music from anywhere which touches the soul can move me beyond measure. I think as a teenager, having been brought up on classical piano music via my Dad, I was looking into Vaughn Williams’classical music which eventually led me to traditional English Folk music.
Nothing touches me more deeply than the song and story of the Shepherdess wandering about the hills or Polly Vaughn being mistaken for a swan and shot by her true love. When listening to these or singing them I am literally transported.
Singing together is so wonderful too. When my two boys were toddlers I had just moved house and as a single parent struggling to cope I was quite isolated and knew practically no one in my new area. I found Beeston Mum’s choir which then was just a handful of lovely and welcoming mums in a little room in a church.
Every Monday morning we went to sing. All the mums sang actual songs (rather than nursery rhymes!) while the children played together as kids do and no one minded if there was a nappy change or tantrum while we sang.
I used to love singing the rounds the best and the folky songs but did some new songs too even though I did not read music. The Mum’s choir is still going strong and has many singers singing some lovely songs (I still pop in time to time as am very fond of the time spent there)
Four part harmony and Shapenote singing
And speaking of reading music – something which I still cannot do – one kind of singing that I must tell you about is Sacred Harp (nothing to do with harps at all), also known as Shapenote singing.
It is a kind of four part harmony choral music which was brought about to teach the ordinary man how to sight read and it has really helped with mine.
To get the full effect of this music you just have to hear it in real life. Rather than me explain it, take a look at this 7 min video. But to hear it live you will be blown away I can tell you !
How can sound and even singing be therapeutic?
For anyone who has sang in choir before I am sure you know that singing together in harmony with others can be so healing – it can raise your spirits no end and the energy created when singing a favourite song can often render one speechless.
These moments have happened to me a handful of times in my life when singing with others. It has usually been quite a spontaneous and in the moment decision to sing the song in question (around the fire at a party for example)
We just gather in a beautiful space to do a bit of improvised singing. Anything goes really – just using the human voice. Let’s see what sounds we can make. There is no bread baking at the moment but I always bring homemade cake! All welcome 🙂