How can I keep from singing?

SingersWhat is an article about singing doing on a blog dedicated to compassion and justice? I am very aware of the problems in the world created by poverty and injustice. But hey! Life isn’t all doom and gloom. Yes, I feel passionate about justice, but singing is a part of me. Singing helps keep me sane in a mad world.

The ills we see in the world around us are caused by the free wills that God has given to us humans. But he has given us so much more to enjoy. Beauty, colour and music are three gifts which, although we could function without them, add so much richness to our lives.

Playing an instrument

A recent report by TEDEd said that when you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What’s going on? Anita Collins explains the fireworks that go off in musicians’ brains when they play, and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout.

Benefits of singing

Singing in a choir is making music with our voices. We have to listen to each other to make sure we don’t sing off-key. We have to breathe together. We don’t all sing the same notes but we harmonise with each other. We sing words which can be inspirational or emotional. Sometimes when I sing the emotion suddenly catches me and prevents me singing for a second or two.

Scientists in Sweden have said in a report that singers in a choir unconsciously coordinate their breathing patterns, which leads to synchronised heart rates.

A report by “How stuff works” says that all types of singing have positive psychological effects. The act of singing releases endorphins, the brain’s “feel good” chemicals. Singing in front of a crowd, a la karaoke, naturally builds confidence, which has broad and long-lasting effects on general well-being. But of all types of singing, its choral singing that seems to have the most dramatic effects on people’s lives.

Christine and I belong to a secular choir. Some Thursday evenings, we might feel tired and don’t really want to go out. But when we return home, we feel invigorated. Whether we are singing in English, French or Latin, the shared experience of singing together beautiful melodies in harmony, certainly lifts the spirit and makes us feel glad to be alive!

Singing and worship

For thousands of years, singing has been an important part of expressing our worship of God. Singing is usually communal and emphasises our togetherness. We may not be good with words but singing words composed by others frees us from our limitations. Does God enjoy our singing? I believe that he certainly enjoys the unity and the good effect that singing has on us.

How can I keep from singing?

I love this song. The original composer is unknown and there are many variations (see Wikipedia), but this is my favourite. It expresses the fact that whatever happens around us, or to us, something within us wants to sing.

My life flows on in endless song
Above earth’s lamentation
I hear the sweet, tho’ far-off hymn
That hails a new creation
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing
It finds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?

What tho’ my joys and comfort die?
The Lord my Saviour liveth
What tho’ the darkness gather round?
Songs in the night He giveth
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that Refuge clinging
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

I lift mine eyes; the cloud grows thin
I see the blue above it
And day by day this pathway smooths
Since first I learned to love it
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart
A fountain ever springing
All things are mine since I am His
How can I keep from singing?

Words: Attributed to “Pauline T.”
Music: Robert Lowry
Arrangement: Sally DeFord and James Loynes

Author: George Dowdell

I was the founder of Karuna Action (formerly Kingscare) and was the director for 24 years. I have now handed control over to younger people but continue as an advisor and trustee. My passion is to see extreme poverty eliminated and to see justice for the powerless.

3 thoughts on “How can I keep from singing?”

  1. Singing is important art in our life.some people uses this as a part of worship of god we can say that…Hopefully god is being enjoying our singing i can say..Thanks for such a nice article..!!!!!!!!!


  2. I like the thought that singing takes us beyond the limitations we may feel about using words. Music at at least for me is a deeply spiritual experience which lifts me out of myself and helps me relate to and communicate with others in a much deeper and more profound sense


  3. Singing and laughing are probably our best therapies for a healthy, less stressful life. I think God is happy when we sing, even with my poor voice.


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