TED Conversations

Singer Songwriter & Vocal Coach, Lizanne Hennessey - Voice Coach


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Integrating music into our everyday lives.

My idea is all about making music and singing as a tool to set a positive cycle in motion that will encourage respect, communication and expression, which to me, are key ingredients to a society of individuals who can truly change the world.

No, this is not a new idea - but I think it's something we forgot how to do, and I want to help us remember.

I made a video to explain how we can reap the benefits of integrating music into our everyday lives called "Growing Back into Music", which you can watch here:

I'm so curious what you all think!


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  • May 6 2013: I actually work with a group of people, who oddly enough, sing just for the heck of it. Yes, random song breaks out in our group and I would say that we have a pretty positive work environment. Not simply because of our singing mind you.

    Many of the students I work with also sing quite a bit or are involved in music programs. They love to sing and dance and it is fun to watch them. Often, it is a stress release for them as well as the other benefits on music. Sometimes, they do get carried away with it and focus on becoming "really good" at it, which borders on unhealthy. But, for the most part it adds to a healthier lifestyle for them.
    • May 6 2013: Everett, how awesome is that. I would love to be a part of a group of folks who spontaneously burst into song!

      You're so right though, as soon as the execution outweighs the raw, abstract process of just using our voices and singin' what we feel, we get into a sort of competitive/jealousy mode, which defeat the purpose!
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      May 6 2013: As I am typing, my son is singing in his study room and I can hear it despite locked door. He is in senior school final year studying pure science and taking NEET, one of the toughest entrance tests in the country. Since 10 years old, he needs i-pod plugged in his ears while doing maths and these days every two three hours between his studies he takes up guitar and starts singing.
      His grades, to everyone's disbelief, improved steadily. When I ask him if he want's to be a musician or a medical doctor, he asks me back if it is ok if he is both.
      I have introduced, with lots of resistance from HR, channeled music in my office, which is more of a lab. There is no obvious loss of output rather bathymetric charts come out faster these days.
      Just mentioned.
      • May 6 2013: Awesome, awesome, and awesome, Pabitra.
        My daughter is 6. She is not musically-inclined, and has no real interest in making music, but she sings every single day. She simply uses it as a way to express herself, plain and simple.
        When I was learning how to drive and was extremely nervous (I had PTSD caused by a car accident a few years previously), I requested we listen to music on the car radio. My instructor argued that I would be distracted, and tried to prove his point by letting me have my way. I sang along, and my fear of driving was gone.

        Everyone has their own personal connection with music. What can't be argued, I feel, is that music affects us and helps us, regardless of whether it provokes a positive or negative emotion. Both are worthy of our attention!
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          May 7 2013: My habit of singing in the car was born when I was less than five years old. It was the only way my sister and I would not get sick in the car.
      • May 7 2013: How interesting, Fritzie - maybe the act of singing and making music sets another part of the brain in motion, distracting us from something else, like anxiety or like you say, motion sickness.
        This is intriguing! I am going to research this and see if there are studies out there to explain why this is!
      • May 7 2013: Fritzie, did you see Patricia Kuhl's talk on the "Linguistic genius of Babies"?
        She talks about in a baby's brain, that when the baby hears a word, the auditory areas of the brain are activated, also surrounding areas are activated. She talks about causality, that one activation causes another part of the brain to activate. Because language is so closely related to singing, perhaps herein lies the answer to how singing can activate another part of the brain, 'distracting' us in a way that relieves us from something negative?

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