Throughout 2023, we’re continuing to explore our energy. How it affects us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. To help us to do this we’ve been hooking up with a series of experts who set us an experiment every month to help us discover a new way of managing our energy.
We couldn’t be more excited about this month’s experiment, which is all about giving our energy a huge boost by singing. And we can’t think of a better partner for this experiment than the awesome James Sills.
The benefits of singing for physical and mental health are widespread and well-documented. From boosting mood, reducing anxiety, improving posture, and lowering blood pressure. And here’s the great thing - none of these are dependent on our singing ability (or perceived singing ability). Many of us stop singing in adulthood, often for fear of judgment, comparison or ridicule, a belief that is frequently reinforced by programmes such as The X Factor or The Voice.
Yet singing is one the things that we’ve always done as a species. Like dancing and laughing, singing is a key part of being human. It connects us - to ourselves, to our emotions, to our voice, to each other.
And so for this energy experiment, we're encouraging you to reconnect with your voice, not to turn you into the next Beyonce (though you never know!) but for you engage with the process and for you to experience the benefit for yourself.
Our expert guide for this month, James Sills is a musician, energiser and connector who helps people find their voice through transformative singing experiences. He works with some of the biggest companies in the world, bringing their teams together through creative voice work. James is a passionate advocate for the health and wellbeing benefits of singing and considers the biggest indicator of his success to be the impact on the individuals and communities with whom he works.
He’s the author of ‘DoSing. Reclaim Your Voice. Find Your Singing Tribe’ and the founder of Sofa Singers, a twice-weekly online singing session that connects hundreds of people around the world.
The experiment James has set for us this month looks like this…
Week One: Connect with your beliefs & experiences.
To ease you in gently, we simply want to help you connect with your beliefs and experiences relating to singing and reflect on the following questions:
· What is my current & past relationship with my singing voice?
· Do I have any self-limiting beliefs about my singing voice? If so, where might these have come from?
· When was the last time I sang with other people? How did that feel?
· What powerful group singing experiences have I had in my life? (e.g. festivals, football terraces, concerts, choirs, family events, etc). How did this feel?
· What's stopping me from singing more in my life right now?
· If there was no risk of judgement, comparison or ridicule, how would this affect my desire to sing? How might this feel?
Week Two: Connect with your voice.
This week we want to help you connect with your breath, body and voice using this short video from James:
Week Three: Connect with a song.
This week we want to help you to connect with a song for you to rehearse for ten minutes.
Click here for a Spotify playlist of suggested songs – these have been carefully chosen as good songs to start with if you don’t sing regularly.
A few guidelines:
· Don’t simply pick your favourite song, as it may not be best suited for your voice and/or range.
· Try a variety of different songs from the playlist to find one that fits your voice and your energy
· Aim to do one of the body, breath and voice warm-ups before you start
· Put the song together bit by bit, for example focusing on the chorus to start with
· Practice somewhere where you feel comfortable and won’t be disturbed
· Make the song your own – it is impossible for you to sound like the original singer
· Remember that no one likes the sound of their own voice, so don’t worry!
· If you find yourself getting frustrated or stressed, return to the breathing exercises from week 2
· Sing safely – keep hydrated, don’t push/strain your voice, rest your voice if you have a cold.
Week Four: Connect with someone else
This week we want you to share the work you’ve been doing over the last four weeks. Share your voice with someone else. Be brave and be proud of your progress!
· Send a voice note of your song.
· Sing with a friend / family member /colleague.
· Perform to someone else over Zoom /teams /etc.
· Perform at an open mic or karaoke night.
· Share a video with the hashtag #elvisenergyexperiment
Think about the progress you’ve made over the last four weeks and note any improvements in mood, energy, breath control, confidence.
What can you take from this experience into your everyday life?
Has the experienced challenged any perceptions you have had about yourself?
We’ll be reporting back throughout the month on how the experiment’s going for us and will be sharing a song or two with you as we go, so keep a look out for our updates on our social media channels.
You can find out more about James's work at www.james-sills.com and can buy his latest book 'DoSing. Reclaim Your Voice. Find Your Singing Tribe' on Amazon. And to really go deep on this experiment you can join James’s online singing community, The Sofa Singers.
Have fun with this one…