I’m Mark De-Lisser, and I believe that singing is for everyone.
Since the beginning of time, singing together has been part of life for human beings. It is something that is within us, something that we want to do, that makes us feel good; something that almost feels like it is supposed to happen when we are together.
We know from research that singing together gives us an incredible boost of connectedness, and connectivity is the fuel of our human existence. A study in West Africa some years ago suggested that many tribes lived through singing: they sang for worship when they woke in the morning; those going out into the field sang whilst working; those who stayed at home sang throughout the day; children would sing at school and the teacher would sing along too. Today in the Western world, we talk about tone-deafness or people not having great voices, but in that society, everybody could sing – everybody felt they had a good sound and these issues did not exist. This research shows us that if singing is encouraged as part of daily life, then confidence is higher, our voices become so much more relaxed and therefore so much better.
Adding your voice to a mix of multiple voices creates such a powerful sound that lifts spirits and makes people feel good. Take a look at the terraces at a football game… filled with thousands of cheering and singing fans that bring such an incredible energy to a game, singing songs about players that can make them feel 10ft tall. That power of a collective sound can boost anybody who hears it.
When I was at school in the 70s and 80s, we used to have assembly and everybody in the room sang together each morning. Nobody shied away from it. It doesn’t really happen as much at schools these days; in this current society, if you ask somebody to sing, or sing along with other people, you might hear, “that’s not my thing, I don’t sing.’ You don’t have to be a singer! You just have to open your mouth and create those long sustained tones that you did when you were first born!
Growing up in the church, singing was something that the whole congregation did. Whether you believed you could sing or not, in that moment and in that space, you had a voice. All of my friends who I grew up with, who do not consider themselves to be singers now, all still have a voice. Why? Because we all sat together and we sang together, and no one judged anybody on their voices, we just sang and created incredible sounds as a congregation.
One of my favourite texts from the Bible says ‘make a joyful noise unto the Lord’… it doesn’t say ‘make a tuneful sound’, but a joyful noise. A noise isn’t something that is necessarily perfect, but singing should come from a place of absolute joy. It should be about having fun, enjoying yourself, expressing yourself and being true to the message of the song.
Nowadays, leaders like you and I need to be able to give people license – that their voices are ok, that it’s ok to lend their voices to a collective sound. They need to be encouraged into an environment that is safe, within which they can express their voices with others. They don’t have to sing the solo, they can just be part of a choir. They just need to be given that license to do it.
We are born with a voice and that voice is unique to us. Do not compare yourself to others; know that you have your own voice and therefore singing is absolutely for you! It is for everyone!