This photo is from an article about babies and imitation. Imitation is a key skill for both beginning and experienced singers for some of the same reason that it helps babies learn – interesting!

Everybody deserves to sing! People have been singing for all recorded history — there’s plenty of evidence that we humans chanted and sang before we developed spoken language. Singing is a profound way of expressing every emotion, and a great way to have fun with friends and family.

We sing as a way of gathering power and energy (as in war chants, protest songs and sports cheers) and we sing to connect with our sense of reverence and awe (what religion doesn’t include singing?!). We sing as a way of bonding with each other in community at celebrations, at times of mourning, for relaxation and for the sheer joy of it. We have done so all throughout human history. It is more natural for us as a species to sing than it is not to sing.

Have you ever experienced strong emotions while listening to music? Have you had the feeling that the music was commiserating with your sorrows, energizing your joys, or giving you inspiration when you needed it? Imagine a movie without any music in the soundtrack. That would be very unusual, since music is such a powerful mood-modifier. The power of music to reach in and move us is certainly recognized by marketing experts as well as movie directors, as we know from soundtracks and jingles in commercials. In religious ceremonies, wedding celebrations and funerals, you will often find music playing a vital role. And during everyday activities such as riding in the elevator or exercising at the gym, music is often playing in the background, affecting us subliminally.

Take a moment to reflect on how music affects you in your life. Has a song ever made you teary? Have you listened to music to soothe yourself or cheer yourself up? Have you put on music to inspire yourself to exercise?

If you are able to recognize the amazing power of music as a listener, then imagine the depth of experience you can have by making your own music, and in particular the expressive and emotional power of using the most primary instrument of all — your own body — to make music. Your voice is a miraculous instrument that you carry around with you every day, all day long!

Do you wish you could sing but feel that there is something holding you back? Share your stories here! You are not alone!


Nancy Salwen is a vocal coach and singing teacher who specializes in teaching “non-singers” or hesitant singers to sing. Email her if you’d like to learn more about singing taking lessons in person or over SKYPE.

This article is an excerpt from her book in progress – Fear of Singing: Learn to Sing Even if You Think You Can’t Carry a Tune.