Singing for fun, feeling better!           Ros Thomas

I have loved singing with other people since I was a child, singing with my three sisters, Mum & Dad in the car on the way to holiday camp holidays - largely in an effort to prevent my dreadful car sickness! In fact, I believe that my first experiences of call and response singing were the endless renditions of ....

"Oh you can't get to heaven .... Oh you can't get to heaven .... In a baked bean tin ..... In a baked bean tin..... 'Cause a baked bean tin ..... 'Cause a baked bean tin....'s got baked beans in ..... 's got baked beans in ....."

to which we subjected our long suffering Father who was also the  driver!

It seemed the most natural thing in the world to be singing for the sake of singing (and feeling better) and that is the approach I bring to my work as a singing group leader. I run groups which allow people to sing for the sake of singing - because it makes us feel good; because it creates a connection between the singers which we don't experience anywhere else; because songs can make us remember, smile, think (or stop thinking!), laugh, cry or touch us very deeply. 

Maybe it was the employment of singing as an antidote to car sickness, or maybe it is an intuition that we all have, but I have always known that singing simply makes you feel better and when a group of people focus on the learning and the singing of a song, without any need to rehearse or perform, something magical happens. The group is transported, the anxieties and discomforts of everyday life are transcended and there is only the moment - the listening, the laughing, the sharing, the singing, the song.

The participants in the singing groups and workshops I run demonstrate patience and trust each time I present them with something new to sing -either that I have composed myself (when we have our very own 'world premiere' moments) or that I have learned elsewhere and want to pass on. There is a stage we go through when I know that these seemingly disparate parts will fit together and sound fantastic - honest! - but others appear doubtful, and it is my job to hold that certainty for the group until they hear the first couple of parts sung together and get the feel for the overall arc of the song. Then, before we know it, all the parts come together and people are visibly amazed that, yet again, they are making a beautiful, natural, uplifting sound 'just for the sake of it'!

The singing is the end result, the song will never be sung again in quite the same way by the same group of voices and we have created and shared something immediate, magical, memorable and fun .... 

Sing for fun - you'll feel better!