I love to sing! I may not have perfect pitch and there are times I sing totally off key, but I sing from my heart and soul and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Singing in our church choir has been a joy for me. There are times I can sing really well, and if I listen to myself, I wonder where that voice is coming from because surely it can’t be from me. And then there are other times I sound like Kermit the Frog and I end up lip syncing my way through the music so no one will wonder where that squeaking and groaning is coming from (though some would say Kermit is a great singer!).
Music is big industry! Everywhere you look, you can see people wearing their ear buds while listening to their favorite artists. Granted, I can’t tolerate loud music where you can’t understand the words, there’s no beat, and where musical instruments are doing more screaming than playing. It seems that so much of our music anymore is just loud noise. In fact, some of the lyrics of many of our songs can be extremely negative and even frightening because they propagate so much hate and violence. Give me a positive, loving song any time!
I always say that you can tell you’re getting older when you appreciate your parents’ generation of music. I love the 40’s and 50’s genres! Music was cleaner and it was easy to sing along with the artists. When Elvis and The Beatles came on the scene, it caused an uproar as parents thought it was the end of civilization as we knew it. Today, their music is quite mild compared to what we hear today. The Beetles wrote many songs that had positive messages that we still appreciate and sing to this day, and many continue to listen to both Elvis and The Beetles.
I used to love the old-time Gospel music and still do to a certain degree. I grew up singing many of the old spirituals and Tennessee Ernie Ford was always my favorite gospel singer. My all-time favorite gospel song and one of my favorite songs to sing, especially in public, is “Amazing Grace” and I sing it to the melody of “The House of the Rising Sun” made popular by the Blind Boys of Alabama among others. In the song, I do change the word ‘wretch’ to ‘soul,’ though, as I don’t believe any of us are wretches.
Today, I love the more upbeat, inspiring spiritual music that is filled with positive and affirmative lyrics. Singing is good for the heart, mind, and soul! Music and singing can be very healing! Whenever I’m feeling down or discouraged, I’ll sing many of these songs over and over to make myself feel better. If I’m hearing a lot of hatred and negativity, I like to sing the chorus from Kenny Rogers’ version of “Love Lifted Me.” “Love lifted me, love lifted me, when nothing else would do, love lifted me.” Or if I’m feeling discouraged and/or low on hope, I’ll sing, “Don’t worry about a thing, ‘cause every little thing gonna be all right” from the song “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley.
There are many wonderful spiritual artists who write/sing spiritual music with positive lyrics. Some of my favorites are Richard Mekdeci, Karen Drucker, Dale Worley, Lauren Lane Powell, and many more. I would highly recommend looking their music up on the Internet. There are also many secular songs with positive lyrics as well.
Music is universal and good music brings people together. There’s a wonderful organization called “Playing for Change” that was established in 2002. They take mobile recording studios and cameras all over the world and record people singing on the same track so you get a beautiful blend of cultures and voices all singing and playing the same song. Their music is phenomenal and always lifts me up! You can find them at playingforchange.org
So…. “Sing, sing a song! Sing out loud! Sing out strong! Sing of good things not bad. Sing of happy not sad. Sing, sing a song! Make it simple to last your whole life long! Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear! Just sing, sing a song.” (“Sing,” made popular by The Carpenters; lyrics and music by Joe Raposo.)
Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper May 8, 2014.