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Singing With Your Whole Heart

Updated on February 28, 2012

Have you ever felt so good that you just broke out into song? Have you been in a situation where you were so emotionally caught up that you sang with your whole heart?

Maybe you were in a concert and the singer or band pointed the microphone out to the audience and you sang out the favorite song as loud as you could. Maybe it's in the shower, or like Maria running out into the Austrian hills singing the "Sound of Music" or the head-banging Wayne's World guys singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" in the car.

I really like buildings with booming acoustics and so I find myself singing in stairwells, foyers and for some time now in my local bank. I walked in and there were no customers so I started singing something like "You're Nobody till Somebody Loves You" with a big grin on my face. The tellers all knew me and smiled as I sang. I broke into a tune a few more times when there was no line and now, if I go into the bank without singing, they all ask me why--even when there are customers in line. The guard, the loan officer, even the bank manager all go out of their way to say hi to the guy who has enough nerve to brighten up the bank's routine with a happy song.

Author and lecturer, Wayne Dyer has a chapter in one of his books entitled: "Don't Die With Your Music Still in You." The idea is that each one of us has our own unique contribution and often we are so reluctant to get it out there that we keep it inside. We die with our music still in us and that is one of the saddest things I have ever heard.

It doesn't matter if you can't carry a tune or you fumble a few keys on the piano or whatever music making instrument you attempt--you have your own music and it is just as worthy as Grammy winning professionals. There is only one person like you and you are not complete until you let it out.

Don't Die With Your Music Still in You

Some of the earliest singing was in the form of Latin liturgical music sung in unison to accompany the text of the mass. Originated by Pope Gregory and hence the name—Gregorian Chants.

The haunting, ethereal melodies have experienced a revival and are included in some pop music as well as sound tracks like that in “The Name of the Rose” with Sean Connery and Christian Slater. For the soundtrack of the popular games Halo 3 and World of Warcraft, chants were incorporated into various songs, making them popular with players and resulting in a chant-based spin-off album.

Hans Zimmer captured the joyous African tribal singing in the heartrending but victorious "The Power of One." Paul Simon, in his classic album "Graceland," used the wonderful harmonies of South African singers in the songs "Under African Skies" and "Diamonds in the Soles of Her Shoes."

Often, a handicap in one sense magnifies the others. Few can equal the expressive vocal exuberance of Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder. Paul Simon used a contemporary version of the "Five Blind Guys from Alabama" to back up his hit "Loves Me Like a Rock." The original group was formed in 1939 at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind. In 2000, the group was inducted into the American Gospel Quartet Convention Hall of Fame.

In the U.S., acappela groups (without accompaniment) were some of the earliest singing groups. Barber shop quartets with wide vocal ranges and tight harmony were included in the film "The Music Man" and recently, groups like Straight No Chaser have staged a spectacular merging with pop. The only men's singing group at Indiana University, the group did a youtube of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" that went viral and were immediately signed.

The fifties and sixties saw the birth of rock and roll with Little Richard, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and the Beatles belting out tunes from their heart. Rhythm and blues was a blend of rock and gospel music. Aretha Franklin sang at the Detroit church of her father, the Reverend C.L. Franklin as she grew up in the 50s. Her first recordings as a gospel artist was at the age of 14.While the fledgling Motown wanted her to join them, she ended up at Atlantic belting out hits like "Respect" and had ten Top Ten hits in 1967 and 1968.

I still remember my sister singing and vacuuming to the vinyl booming sound of The Platters singing "Oh oh oh ye-ess, I'm the Great Pre-e-te-en-der."

Janis Joplin was a poet, dancer, painter and music arranger who in her short four year career rose to prominence by singing from the depths of her soul. She was one of the main attractions at Woodstock and the Monterey Pop Festival. Her number one hit, Me and Bobby McGee, has been covered many times, but no one to date has touched the sheer audacity and soulfullness of her version. She sang so much from the heart, she even asked us to take a little piece of it.

Next to the Beatles, the only rivals for all time massive impact as singers was Frank Sinatra and the man who was the icon of 50's rock and roll, Elvis Presley. From the intimate, "Love Me Tender" to "Hound Dog," Elvis poured his soul into every song and rightly earned the title: "The King." The music video "Jailhouse Rock" was the most memorable of his 30 movies and is credited by musical historians as the prototype for the modern music video.

One of the more fun institutions of the 60's and 70's was the coffee houses that launched singers like Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Carol King and Carly Simon. I was privileged to run the lights for the famous Ice House Comedy and Music Club in Pasadena. Bob Stane, coming fresh from a stellar coffee house run in San Diego of "The Upper Cellar," formed the Ice House which became the hot place for comedians and singers to premier their material. Today's coffee house revival features singers like John Mayer, Jack Johnson and Anna Nalick....and occasionally....Winsome.

I said it before, but it bears repeating. You don't have to have the best voice to sing from your heart. Rex Harrison, in My Fair Lady had one of the more memorable songs: "Why Can't A Woman Be Like A Man," which he spoke rather than sang traditionally. Rap singers have followed suit and made millions.

Thousands upon thousands of school and church programs featuring kids have been lovingly recorded by parents and friends, but none is as memorable for me as the one featuring a little girl who may not have known all the lyrics, but knew how to sing with her whole heart.

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    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      I was smiling big when I read about you walking into the bank and breaking out in song. How delightful for the staff to witness such unharnessed JOY.

      I love to sing and usually have a song running through my mind. I especially love to express my heart full of gratitude by singing praises to Jesus, the one who gave me abundant life.

      I'll need to go back when I get home to watch the video's you included. I'm 'watching' kids in a room where cartoons are playing ...

      Great Hub Winsome, voted up and beautiful.

      Mekezie

    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR

      Winsome 

      6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      It's on its way. =:)

    • profile image

      klarawieck 

      6 years ago

      I took all my videos down. I looked like a traveling gypsy that had just camped on the side of the road.

      But if you shoot me an email I will share my music with you. :D

    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR

      Winsome 

      6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Well it needs another verse or two, but I will video it the next time. I'm still waiting for a youtube posting of yours. =:)

    • profile image

      klarawieck 

      6 years ago

      No video??? Not fair!

    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR

      Winsome 

      6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Ha ha I love it. I was shopping in a store once and a girl came up to me and asked if she could help me. I said "I still haven't found what I'm looking for" And she said "You too?"

      Just kidding. Don't knock 5'2" remember the song:

      Five foot two, eyes of blue

      But oh what those five feet can do...

      You are still a girl after my own heart, I hope someday the world joins us and it may not be John Lennon's "as one," but it will sure be a heck of a lot more fun.

      I just finished debuting a song at "open mic" about a girl who works at a coffee shop as her alter ego, but she let's slip her superpower--a killer smile. Wish you could have heard it. =:)

    • profile image

      klarawieck 

      6 years ago

      No, Winsome. I'm 5'2" so my knees don't reach that high. :D But I do get into it when I stop at a red light. Just today, I was driving to work and they played U2's "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and I just went at it, shaking my head like a madwoman, hair flying all over the place! Ha! I can't help it, and do it all the time... even while waiting in line to pay at the register. The best part is when you find someone who's crazier than you and joins you. Lol

    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR

      Winsome 

      6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hi Klara, I read your comment on my phone and enjoyed it so much I forgot that I didn't respond. You are right about Lucille Ball--I think she was trying to be a Ginger Rodgers and lucky for us she had the courage to stuff chocolates down her blouse instead.

      I love that you sing your heart out going to work. I bet you even carry a little of it into your classroom with you--if only the smile on your face and the glow inside.

      I should have written my own version of that Lee Ann Womack song with the title--"I Hope You Sing"

      Oh, about your driving while singing--it sounds like you have learned my art of steering with my knees since your torso, ARMS and head are busy with the music...A girl after my own heart. =:)

    • profile image

      klarawieck 

      6 years ago

      Winsome, you're so right about that. I completely disagree with music competitions and absolutely hate the idea of shows such as American Idol and The X Factor. I think everyone has something to offer.

      The other night I was watching the movie they did on the life of Lucille Ball, and it was interesting to see how much she tried to fit into a mold and how she always came across as being a little bit off, until she found her niche, almost by accident. This hub made me think of that. She had a song to sing, and the world became a better place because she did.

      Our culture teaches us to be competitive, but seriously, if Mozart and Beethoven were competing against each other I could never pick a winner. And if I did, would that be fair to the other composer who has so much to offer? What kind of impact will such preference have on the losing composer? See where I'm getting at?

      I loved the fact that you dared to sing while entering the bank. It sounds like something I would do. Of course, my time to sing is while driving to work. I lower my windows, put on my favorite song of the day, and sing my heart out while practicing my imaginary video choreography - torso, arms, and head only since I have to drive. People smile and sometimes they sing along. It's all in good fun!

      I enjoyed this hub very much. Thanks!

    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR

      Winsome 

      6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hi Pats, so good to see you. I love that story--I know from my one voice lesson that singing expands the diaphragm and gets more air working through the system. Maybe she should join a choir and sing all the time. =:)

      Thank you for the visit I'm still brushing up on my Italian. (he smiles a very roman smile)

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 

      6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Singing really can be therapeutic. My very elderly mother-in-law has breathing problems. Once a week she goes to a church service, and can sing without experiencing any difficulty.

    • profile image

      Phoebe Pike 

      6 years ago

      I all ready sing and dance at home. Sometimes at work I will sing "Tomorrow" from Annie, even though it scares small children.

      Lolz, I can just see them doing that song too.

    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR

      Winsome 

      6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hi Phoebe, I say life IS a musical and you should go ahead and sing and dance to it--at work or on the street...

      Don't worry about the people watching you, they will all be looking around for the rest of the flash mob and wishing they had been included.

      Good to see you and yes those birds crack me up too. Somehow I hear them singing Motown--"Stop! In The Na-a-a-me of Love..." =:)

    • profile image

      Phoebe Pike 

      6 years ago

      I've often wished my life was a musical. The dance numbers and bursting out in song... and I would, by some miracle, become a good singer. I often joke at work that we should have a dance number when we wait on customers.

      I loved the picture at the top of the hub, of the birds, it made me laugh.

    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR

      Winsome 

      6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Ha ha, keep singing MT, she will remember those "car-tunes" when she is older and will be embarrassing her kids in the same way. Thanks for stopping by and I'm glad you had your windows rolled down. =:)

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      6 years ago from USA

      I love singing out loud, especially in the car. It embarrasses my daughter though, especially when one of her friends told her I was talking to myself. I guess I should have rolled down the window so she could hear me!

    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR

      Winsome 

      6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hello Eddy, thank you for that. Your "up, up and away" reminded me of that fun song by the Fifth Dimension--"Wouldn't You Like to Ride in My Beautiful Balloon" and I've been singing it ever since. Thank you again

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 

      6 years ago from Wales

      What a great hub and thank you for sharing. An up up and away for sure.

      Take care and enjoy your day.

      Eddy.

    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR

      Winsome 

      6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Greetings my favorite feline, you always bring a smile to my face. Yes there are no coincidences and even if the song is not the best, sing anyway! I love listening to Pandora because it lets me choose which mood I want to sing in. I recommend cranking it up and singing just as loudly as you want.

      Nothing is so bad that a heartfelt singing session can't help you get through. Sing on! =:)

    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR

      Winsome 

      6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hi AC, you always sing out in your comments from the heart. It is a pleasure to be in HP with you. =:)

    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR

      Winsome 

      6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Mari thank you for catching the purpose of this article. All of nature knows how to bring joy out of song or other expressions and we who know its creator can do no less. =:)

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 

      6 years ago

      No such thing as coincidence they say...and they may be right! I just read a book by Dr. Wayne Dyer and was struck by that very same line...don't die with your music still in you! It's such a beautiful, evocative suggestion. I've been bursting into song more often after that - unfortunately it's a really annoying tune that seems permanently stuck in my head! I think perhaps I shouldn't take his advice so literally! :D

    • acaetnna profile image

      acaetnna 

      6 years ago from Guildford

      Your writing is awesome and this hub is simply great!

    • MariYanuzzi profile image

      MariYanuzzi 

      6 years ago from USA

      Thank You for sharing this wonderfully inspirational post with the world. This brought back many many beautifully fantastic memories growing up with music in our daily lives.I still start every morning with music to fuel the day....keep singing everyone...;)

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