Singing belongs to EVERYONE
At its most elementary, singing heals and brings joy to people. It grounds us, defines us and connects us.
Which comes as no surprise, because singing has been a feature of human society for at least as long as recorded time. It has taken the form of individual and group expression in every single culture in the activities of daily life.
The values and practices of singing vary across the world, and these priorities shape singing expression within every single culture. The powerful myth that singing is a capacity with which one is either born, or not, has long dominated western culture. Human experiences influenced by this cultural myth, especially in youth, have led many people to mistakenly doubt or disbelieve that they can sing. This has been exacerbated, in the developed world, as value has become attached to singing products, rather than processes, resulting in sweeping changes to the way singing is practiced (or perhaps more accurately, not).
In many ways, singing has become a commodity – a product produced by others which people acquire and consume – shifting away from the participatory experience it used to be, resulting in much-reduced actual singing for its own sake (Wise, 2009). Sloboda (1999) summed it up, saying that music had become a matter of “talent, achievement and success, rather than community, fulfilment or transcendence.”
As a result people have bought into the idea that you are born with the talent to sing, or, not. And that this ‘club’ is exclusive. Whereas, singing is a developmental capacity inherent in our human design. Growing The Voices: Festival 500 aims to refocus the value of singing through increasing access and opportunity to engage in its developmental nature. It is our desire to enable new singing practices which connect people to each other in participatory, communal settings. This approach provides a broader, inclusionary ecology of expressive life. And it is possible because virtually everyone has the capacity to learn to sing. Despite views to the contrary, we intend to demonstrate it through the successful adult recovery or discovery of their singing selves.