THE SOUNDNESS OF MUSIC

Families don’t sing together like they used to and they’re missing out on all the benefits. Perhaps during this COVID-19 national lockdown we can revive that old tradition of do-it-yourself home entertainment and reap its rewards.

There are reports and video clips of Italian families singing joyful songs at their windows, raising the morale in their homes and neighborhoods as over 25,000 Corona cases have so far been reported in Italy.

A Psychology Today report says when a group sings together, the rhythm of the song will automatically synchronize the breathing and the heartbeats of the singers. Their immune systems will become stronger and their stress levels will be reduced. Even their posture and mental alertness will improve as they perform as one throbbing, singing unit.

We didn’t know all this way back when in my youth. We just enjoyed belting out a favorite song with our parents and siblings and even with our pals on the playground. It was a feel good thing That was before rock and roll and the wide generational gap that it brought on.

Before that, Dad taught us the lyrics of his favorites and on a long car trip the family would sing a few choruses of “Danny Boy” or “Down by the Old Mill Stream” and we kids would teach the parents the words and music of “The Jersey Bounce”. If there was a little one in the back seat, we’d teach him “Old McDonald Had a Farm” and let him do the oinks and the moos. However, anyone trying to start “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” was declared out of order.

I can’t imagine a family today, off on a long drive in their SUV, putting down their cell phones and game gadgets to start singing rock or rap pieces. I guess they just sit there, doing their own things, with unsynchronized breathing and heart beats. What a shame!

Another thing I like about group singing is that my raucous voice can be lost in the crowd. I have a musical heart but not a musical ear and no one has ever asked me to sing a solo. I have been asked on occasion to stop singing a solo. When I mentioned to a friend that there are special times when I just feel like breaking into song, he said, “I can understand that. You have to break in because you never have the key.”

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