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 29 2013: Music has Spiritual Powers. No one really knows where Music came from but there are many theories that suggest music predates the existence of Mankind. One of the most commonly known uses for music was religious and sacred tribal events. In Mayan civilization music was used in celebration of a victory at war and even at the burial of influential figures.

    Some of the earliest recorded moments in Music took place in the Medieval times with choral pieces for church prayers. Much emphasis was placed in the organization and use of specific harmonies to create moods that would illicit a spiritual experience.

    Even today, many people claim that music is the key to God and to a holy, more fulfilling life through the Church.

    And music is the Key to Creativity. Music fuels the mind and thus fuels our creativity. A Creative mind has the ability to make discoveries and create innovations. The greatest minds and thinkers like Albert Einstein, Mozart, and Frank Lloyd Wright all had something in common in that they were constantly exploring their imagination and creativity.

    Listening to instrumental music challenges one to listen and tell a story about what one hears. In the same sense, playing a musical instrument gives you the ability to tell the story without words. Both require maximum right brain usage which not only exercises ones creativity but also ones intellect.

    The strength of all the Arts including writing, painting, dance, and theater have the ability to create a similar effect.
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    May 31 2013: Also one of the advantages of music is helping children to learn.

    Music can also teach young children to be disciplined. If they have discovered that music is part of their being, they will impose strict compliance to instructions that will enhance their talent. Like for instance, they will be able to know the importance of following their mentors. In this way, they will most likely apply this training to be obedient to their elders too.
    • Jun 1 2013: Hi Ahmed,
      Sure, music tells a story, it sends a message, it aids, it helps, it teaches, it encourages.
      Yes, music teaches discipline, especially learning an instrument (as ling as the method of instruction is inspiring!!)
      Although following mentors and discipline are important to kids, following their hearts and freedom of expression may arguably be more important... What do you think?
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        • Jun 2 2013: Don, you are a devoted grandpa indeed!
          I love how you say, you let the kids teach you. This is idea is based on that very thing - allowing the kids to take the reigns and, with minimal guidance, create music about how they feel, which we undoubtedly can learn from!!
  • May 30 2013: Really enjoyed listening to your perspective on music. Thank you for sharing! I feel very much the same and cannot imagine life without music.

    After many years of doubting my capability to learn how to sing (you are quite right about the music industry, I think!), I decided to just try it and started taking singing lessons last autumn. I enjoy it so much - I wish I had not waited so long!

    I also have noticed another aspect about singing, which I had not expected: For me, learning more about how to make sounds and how I can alter my breath and voice etc. brings me back to my self and my body. It let's me focus on the present moment in a very sensitive way, it's almost like a form meditation. I have learned a lot about my character and I have become more aware of myself through singing.

    So yes, I agree with your view and I believe that there are even more benefits from integrating music in your everyday life - no matter how :)
    • Jun 1 2013: Thanks, Flurina, for your kind words, and kudos to you, for nurturing your love for singing! Yes, there are so many benefits! How wonderful you and your voice have found each other. The benefits truly are overwhelming, absolutely. Here's to wailing our hearts out!!
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    May 29 2013: I have seen music give hope to people where there is none. I believe that it is a truly international language that unites humanity across the globe, regardless of class, culture or sex. It would seem that the commercialization of music, especially in the western world has done much to devalue it and twist it for the purposes of those who wish to simply seek profit. Music, however, is far to strong and adaptive to succumb, it has long been not only a unifying force over vast distances across the Earth but through time as well, connecting us with the both past and future simultaneously. As someone who grew up in a non-religious household, I read Nietzsche's quote to mean that music can elevate us beyond where and when we live and help one reach a higher sense of being, one we cannot fully understand. Though he framed this path to enlightenment it in a religious context, that is largely (well, arguably I suppose) a product of the age in which he lived and we should not let it blind us to the wisdom and insight in his words.
  • May 28 2013: Has anyone heard of, or seen the Landfill Harmonic?
    A small village in Catuera, Paraguay, is situated on top of a land fill. The people there literally live amongst garbage.
    A group of local kids have found a way to bring joy and meaning to their lives through music, on instruments made out of trash:
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      May 28 2013: Lizanne.......I am speechless..........

      "We shouldn't throw away trash carelessly...we shouldn't throw away people either"

      This quote, from the video, says it my humble opinion.

      Lizanne, thank you for sharing this, I will share it with others.
      • May 28 2013: Mary, I am so glad to read how this touched you!
        I heard about this initiative about a year ago, and am so thrilled to see how enthusiastic and determined these kids are about their music. Not to mention, the great care and respect they have for their instruments.
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          May 29 2013: You know Lizanne, I think it goes beyond the instruments......they could have made the instruments and sold them as souvenirs somewhere....but notice that the "youth" of the area are the ones benefitting from this.

          This place appears to say that the humans who live there are not worth much.

          How could the government of that country allow what is happening there?
          And, regardless, life dealt those people lemons......and they proceeded to make lemonade.

          Goes to show we humans are ingenious. And our spirit to make something beautiful, out of something ugly, and to feed the spirit, is very very strong.

          Wouldn't they make a great TED presentation?
      • May 29 2013: Oh, Mary, you are so right! Indeed, the value of those instruments goes beyond money - they truly do cherish them, as if they were a part of themselves. It's a bizarre and beautiful paradox - reminding us all indeed, how wonderfully unique each and every individual on this planet truly is.

        *gasp* I get butterflies in my stomach to think of the Landfill Harmonic doing a TED presentation! Is there a way to suggest them??
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          May 29 2013: I know that every once in a while a TED staff member will post a conversation about who we would like to see at a TED event.

          But other than that, I guess you can email the TED team yourself.
          Go for it!!!!

          (Ask for a free ticket to the event...hahaha......oh, and one for me for suggesting the idea woohoo)
      • May 29 2013: I will, Mary!! :)
      • May 29 2013: Thank you, Fritzie! I actually found someone via the 'About TED' link, and already received a reply!
        Great news, is that the Landfill Harmonic is already known to TED! This is the reply I just got:

        "We're very familiar with the Landfill Harmonica and already have them in our speaker/performer database.

        We really value your effort on this, as we find many of our speakers through recommendations from the community."

        Fingers crossed TED can set up a presentation with this amazing, inspiring initiative we can all learn from!!
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    May 23 2013: Hi Lizanne,

    The philosopher I was referring to was Friedrich Nietzsche. I'll give you the quote he says about music:

    "God has given us music so that above all it might leaps us upwards. Music unites all qualities: it can exalt us, divert us, cheer us up, or break the hardest of hearts with the softness of its melancholy tones. But its principle task is to lead our thoughts to higher things, to elevate, even to make us tremble"

    I personally don't believe in God but I think that is a great quote nonetheless because I believe music does have that effect on us. I'm sure you would agree.

    that is very cool that your are getting your children involved with this idea as well. That is very neat. What I like about dance is that you are literally actively creating with each movement. It find if fascinating although I am not much of a dancer. Great conversation and I hope you enjoyed the quote as much as I did.
    • May 25 2013: Orlando, this quote gives me the chills! It truly does embody how I also feel about music. Thank you for sharing this.

      I also agree with you, that movement is a natural reaction to music, especially for children.
      When it comes to dancing, I am completely uncoordinated, but I won't hesitate to sway, step, shake and shimmy to a beat that touches my soul!
  • May 7 2013: I agree, especially when you referred to music as being a universal language. I've been working with students with severe disabilities lately, and what I have seen is that one thing that these students have in common with their non-disabled peers is that they both love music. Listening to music is a very relaxing and soothing activity for them. Getting these students to play music and become familiar with the instruments is a different challenge though.

    Music can also become an important outlet for students, especially during their teenage years when they may feel alone or misunderstood. It can also help to develop creativity and identity. Music is a part of our everyday lives. We hear music everywhere we go. I think that understanding and developing an appreciation for music is something that can definitely benefit our students.
    • May 7 2013: Hi Brian,
      music therapy is a wonderful thing, and I am full of admiration for anyone who takes on the task of helping disabled people benefit from music's healing qualities!
      Making music can be challenging, especially when the expectations are too high. Which is why I feel there should be no expectations. That singing is literally a question of just opening up your mouth and letting it out!

      I've just been reading an article about anxiety in teens, and how simply listening to music can relieve tension. Singing has even more positive biological effects - it releases endorphins, for one! If I could only work out how to engage teens who are self-conscious and embarrassed about singing out loud to participate in this idea...
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        May 7 2013: I think you can get teens to sing quite easily, if they are singing in groups.

        Example: March 14 is sometimes called Pi Day, because pi starts 3.14. On the internet one can find pi day songs, which are pi-related lyrics put to popular tunes, like Happy Birthday or Jingle bells.

        Not only have I surprised secondary school students in my math class by pushing those lyrics under the document camera and just saying, "okay, all sing!" but I have scooted for a minute into a neighboring math class and made the same move. I have posted the lyrics in the hallway as well and seen kids stand at the display singing with their friends.

        The key is groups. Young people enjoy the stress-free unexpected.
        • May 8 2013: Fritzie, you've hit the nail on the head about singing in groups.
          I found out during my research for this idea, that choral groups are apparently healthier and happy because they sing together! This study shows how singing together can be therapeutic - possibly more so than individually... an interesting concept that could indeed 'solve' the problem of getting insecure teens to sing out loud!

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    Jun 5 2013: LIZ YOU NAILED IT! Your video is very inspiration too! You have encouraged me on my post and I greatly appreciate that! I wholeheartedly believe that you are nothing but right about this! Keep the ideas coming you have a beautiful mind and an even better attitude! You are an inspiration to many and i see your kids are already expressing similar traits. Teaching their friends how to express themselves! Simply amazing! Keep it up!
  • Jun 5 2013: As mentioned by Mary and Pabitra, this conversation is indeed coming to a close. I just want to say thank you to everyone who contributed, your thoughts, ideas, comments and insights have been truly invaluable!!

    As a parting gift, I have created a sequel called "Growing into Music part 2":

    My wish is coming true already, thanks to you all.
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      Jun 5 2013: Great part 2 video Lizanne!!!!

      You've inspired my 'inner goofball' ....I'll have to jot down the songs we "wing" in the next few weeks.

      All the best to you and your family.

      I'll keep an eye out for information and ideas that you might benefit from.
      Thanks for the tiger balsam suggestion, I'm going to pick some up.


      Mary ♫
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      Jun 5 2013: Very inspiring. And thanks for the statutory warning at the end. I started experimenting in my office lab. :)
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  • May 25 2013: This is a really great thought.
    Most people who listen to music do it to distract or entertain themselves and I hate when people change songs before one has finished.
    I think a great place to begin is to teach people how to listen! To great melody, harmony, the depth of a note, the planet, trees, each other.
    In some cultures music is used to learn and memorize things and this is indeed something that current educational systems refuse to capitalize on. (check this out...learn basic swahili through song!
    Great nations were bound together by music, through nationalistic songs etc. Maybe you should compose a ted anthem!
    • May 25 2013: Thanks to you both, Umaid and Juliette!
      Umaid, you are so right - in order to utilize the natural benefits of music, it needs to start with silence, listening to one's 'own rhythm', in order to allow feelings and emotions float to the surface. By learning how to listen to themselves, kids can learn how to listen to each other.

      Juliette, what an amazing talk, thank you for sharing this!!
      Trust is a big part of this concept. It's all connected - respect, communication, expression, based on trust and empathy.

      I also love the idea of a TED anthem!! Wow, I would want to incorporate musical influences from all countries represented here on TED - how many are there, I wonder??
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        May 30 2013: If you click on the "TED community" up on top of this page, you can see all the different countries TED members come from.
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    May 23 2013: I like this idea very much. :) Vibrational frequencies form, shape, and create all matter and the world we live in.
    • May 25 2013: Absolutely, Nicole!

      Yesterday, I was talking to my kids about our bodies. When we got to 'the heart', the searched for their heart beats, and were pretty excited when they found them! My son said, "Mama, I have my own little drum inside me!"

      Being in tune with those vibrations through silence and self-exploration, then allowing them to take shape in an abstract way is what music is all about.
  • May 20 2013: Lizanne, wanted to add to my other post, just a question, have you ever just listened in an absolutely quiet room, literally and figuratively where you can actually hear a pin drop, where you can hear your own heart beat, where you can feel more than ever before.

    Because of your last kindness, I wanted to and so I thought I'd share this with you.

    • May 21 2013: Tify, these are amazing videos! Thank you so much for sharing these!!
      The 2nd video, with those 5,000 children meditating, just sent shivers down my spine. The concentration, the total surrender to their inner selves is truly inspiring.

      When I see this, I see how our thoughts on this are actually so similar! We both share a passion for the importance of self-exploration, which can only happen in silence. Daring to look that deeply into yourself takes a huge amount of courage. And expressing it, likewise.

      Thank you again, my dear friend!
      • May 24 2013: I laughed when I read it, I smiled when I read it, I loved that I read it.
    • May 21 2013: Tify, your comments have led me to an epiphany!

      I think, in my haste to get this idea 'down', so to speak, I overlooked the essential aspect of silence.

      How can music emerge, without it?! Silence is about allowing yourself time to reflect, about diving deep into oneself. It is the very cornerstone of building empathy.
      It's not about answers 'out there', but about the ones inside us.

      Thank you again!!!
      • May 24 2013: If you read the above comment, I laughed...

        I read your epiphany comment Lizanne, i love you because you have self-realized, there is -no- embarrassment -nothing- to be ashamed of, to write that you've trying to find the light. It was a brave statement, one that truly deserves the praise of the highest merit.

        Because in a world where saying "dont know" is looked on a nearly a sin and everyone avoids it, you have shown the only true way forward, is by two people communicating, sharing, understanding, thinking an not begin afraid to throw away, or build on something.

        It's so incredibly important, and yet it so many times over looked, we have to know ourselves, in order to know and understand others, regardless of color, creed or country.

        To me the only thing we really have in this world, is not a iphone, not a car, not a large house, no the only thing that really matters and lifts our souls, just like a child's, is the connections and the emotions that sharing give us. Be it through the contact and beauty of finding each other in our minds or in our bodies.

        I think we are, the rivers, the mountains, the oceans, the countries, we are and the connections we make to ourselves and humanity are what truly matters. Be it our children, our lovers, friends, or people we have yet to meet, these things are the human experience. A smile, love, sex, hugs, laughter, wink, all are expressions that we've made that connection.

        Art, music, dance are simply the expressions of that too, in mankind's feeble way through; the visual, the audible, or movement; to express such connections. There is yet another way, it's the only we have Lizanne words.

        That form of communication, the ability to express ourself is, what has taken us from cave paintings to the internet; even though the medium(s) have changed over 4000 years, the need, the desire to make that connection has not evaporated, and I'd safely say it never will.

        Not for us, not for children, nor of future generations.
      • May 25 2013: Thank you Lizanne, some people are worth the effort, so I try :)

        And always it's a pure pleasure when I get to meet people without dogma, who are receptive to new and different perspectives, because it allows a flow of consciousness that elevates one's thinking. What's particularly nice is when they get that moment of clarity, that moment of insight, that epiphany.

        Whats particularly amazing about you Lizanne, is it did not take much work :) And in that lays an answer that says something about you, that it truly means you are a special person, and even though you feel no older than a kid, your children have a special mother. To have one like that that can change and see insight and act on it, it's an incredibly valuable commodity to have for your children's growth as you will be able to give them the possibilities, those moments that you had, your children can expect to have too as they grow up.

        It means, as you've said before Lizanne, that we are more alike the more we've connected as the more you have read. And since that's true, then you will show those children of yours, the path, just like I hope I've helped you to the moment of your epiphany. I hope you too approach it the same way, where you don't force them down a road, but guide them, you too humbly allow them to find their own moment of revelation and revel in it.

        And in that revelation which can be in harmony of music, the visual pleasure of art, the imagination in literature, the beauty of mathematics, the glory of history, you let them discover world and all that it has to offer, with a gentle and invisible hand holding theirs, but remember ... don't hold on too tight :)
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      May 15 2013: Today on NPR I heard an interview with a Tampa journalist named Jeff Klinkenberg.

      He actually conducted an experiment to see what happens when music is played to alligators.

      Mind you, it is a certain key on the musical scale.

      Here is a link to a video of the experiment, and a small article.
      • May 16 2013: This is crazy, Mary!
        He wrote a book, too, apparently.
        What surprised me, is how quickly the alligator reacted to the tone! Instinctive. Amazing!
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          May 16 2013: Isn't that crazy?

          I was cleaning yesterday, and turned on NPR, which I don't normally do.....but the programmed being aired was on Florida Wacky stories. So I said, why not?

          Lo and behold, the second story was this one.
          The more I listened, the more I thought it would have a terrible ending, like someone would get hurt or something like that.....but no, nothing of the sort.

          Isn't it amazing. I told my husband and he just stared back like I was pulling his leg. I couldn't get him to believe me. :/ No more rags for him this week, I'm cutting his quota.
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    May 14 2013: This is cool Liz!

    My mom sang to my brother and I when we were growing up. We don't sing as much anymore. :-( But now that I think about it, it seems like people decide at a certain age that singing becomes "unacceptable" and that's kind of strange and unfortunate.

    I was in choir for seven years in junior and senior high school. It was a really great experience, some of my favorite memories. I honestly believe I learned a lot more than just how to read sheet music and sing my part for a song correctly. I learned a lot about teamwork, communication, especially how to give and take constructive criticism which benefited me throughout college when I was studying industrial design, which constructive criticism plays an important role.

    And that part about the music industry, that's messed up and so true.
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    • May 14 2013: Carolyn, thank you so much for sharing this!
      I think it is a wonderful way to show others, that integrating music can be as simple as this - just doing it. Humming, whistling, playing a ditty, singing and playing, no matter what anyone thinks (especially the neighbor's cat!!) ;-)

      Like I said, this idea is nothing new. You've been doing it a lot longer than I have, so if anyone should be looked up to, it's you!
  • May 14 2013: Did anyone see Commander Chris Hadfield's version of David Bowie's "Space Oddity", performed from outer space?

    I think, what thrilled me even more than this musical tribute and farewell, was the fact that someone thought a guitar was as important as any other 'instrument' needed in space.
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      May 14 2013: "floating in my tin can......" Precious precious video.

      Thank you for sharing this Lizanne......I will share it with my amateur star gazer who is fascinated with the ISS.

      Have you seen the ISS pass over you guys?
      We have seen it pass above our head several is quite a site.

      A guitar.....just as important as any other "instrument".......yes, how wonderful that he took it up there huh?
      • May 14 2013: We recently downloaded an app of a rocket being launched into space, and as it orbits the earth, the ISS passes by... I am inspired by this tribute, and the TED talks on this topic, to educate my kids about this! They're (finally) old enough to grasp the hugeness of it all... exciting!
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    May 13 2013: Music brings happiness , harmony in your lives.
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    May 10 2013: Hi Lizanne,

    Thanks for a great contribution.
    For me music, although I don't make it anymore and do not intend to, is still a sort of a sanctuary, a personal way to get rid of negative emotions and enhancing the positive. It may be a bit of jogging with aggresive sound in my ear-plugs to ease the tension, it may be seeking some confirmation (there are people in the world who are like you, feel the same way, here's some music as a proof of that), it may be a lot of things to a lot of different people.

    I started at a music school at the age of 6, it killed some of the passion due to the fact that the system I was placed in was not about celebrating the arts, but about figuring out the system behind the arts. I felt I was being trained in the system, not inspired to create and when I was finally placed in a composition class, there were teenagers around me, they were bigger and more confident than me and their presence scared me, I mean it.

    Tori Amos can also help here - she started making her own music at the age of 4, she was in a conservatory, but left it to play in bars. She believes in individuality and emotions in music, her summary and comment on the choice she made was "you can't make love to a metronome, right?"

    It's good to learn about the system, the scales, the rhythms, but never forget that it's art you're dealing with, not just a rigid system.
    • May 10 2013: This is such an important point, Anna! Thank you for bringing this up!

      How sad to read that the system killed some of your passion for music!!!
      I also know too many talented individuals who have lost their desire to make music due to the 'rigid system' you describe! As soon as making music becomes a 'must' instead of a 'want' by someone else, then the reason to make music is lost. This system is all about instilling a fear of failure, which is the exact opposite of what my idea is all about.

      It comes back to our ideas of success, like in your conversation:
      At the end of the idea, our own idea of success (especially when we are young) can be either supported or destroyed by those who provide guidance. When dealing with a form of expression, that guide needs to be open-minded instead of fixed on a certain method of execution. Kudos to Tori, for discovering that at such a young age!
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    May 9 2013: I just read this article and I HAD to share it with you!!! It's amazing!
    • May 9 2013: WOW Bogdan, how can I thank you for sharing this?! It's truly amazing, and makes so much sense!

      I love the last paragraph, it brings tears to my eyes.

      "You may not have grown up in an African tribe that sings your song to you at crucial life transitions, but life is always reminding you when you are in tune with yourself and when you are not. When you feel good, what you are doing matches your song, and when you feel awful, it doesn’t. In the end, we shall all recognize our song and sing it well. You may feel a little warbly at the moment, but so have all the great singers. Just keep singing and you’ll find your way home."
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        May 9 2013: :) You already did! And you're welcome!

        I also want to thank you for making me more aware about music and all what's related to it.
        Since I read your idea and engaged into this discussion I was more and more aware of music, my music and now this article.
        So once again, thanks for helping me grow! (i consider each piece of information a step further in our growth as human beings)
        • May 10 2013: Bogdan, how wonderful that you have become more aware of the music that's already in you, that's an achievement we can both celebrate!!
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    May 8 2013: some one just shared this , and and and. . . it so about educating through song ,
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      May 13 2013: Speaking of Neil DeGrassi Tyson, and speaking of science, and speaking of music, and speaking of educating......

      This is one of my favorite links
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    May 8 2013: Hello,

    I thought your video was very interesting and I really like your idea.

    I am a mostly self taught filmmaker/musician. I think I've always had a love of music, but I haven't always liked the way it's been taught at least in elementary school. I think the first thing teachers should do is get their students excited about learning music they actually like and not just "Row row your boat" type songs. This isn't always possible to start with learning their favorite song, but I think it should at least be a goal they work up to.

    I'm trying to start an online art community to help alleviate stress. I know how much music and other arts have helped me, so I'd like to compile some resources. Here's the link if anyone's interested and you're welcome to join.
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    May 7 2013: Alison Gopnik: What do babies think?
    "Babies and young children are like the R&D division of the human species," says psychologist Alison Gopnik. Her research explores the sophisticated intelligence-gathering and decision-making that babies are really doing when they play.
    This to me is where the the magic begins. all the good singers, all had mothers who sang and played music. this is where we break the patterns . . as well as instill the values and views. . this is Sir Ken Robinson's favourite. .
    to me? we are cosmic in nature and divine by design
    from the moment of conception we absorb the feel of every sound, sense it all. . indeed are being programed from the word go as we are fast forwarded through all the billions of years of memoryes of life's taking form and we assimilate linage and locale . . every cell of our being knows enough to function within the body of our sense of beingness, the sum of any is greater than its parts, one would think, we would like wise, innately follow up our purrpoise and play . wish you much success
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    May 6 2013: Attending high school is stressful and I've been encountering emotions that I've never experienced before. Music in my everyday life is a way of coping with these factors. If I'm feeling down, playing piano or the guitar helps me focus and know that I have the potential to create something beautiful. If I'm feeling self conscious, singing has always helped. I'm aware that my voice is flat, but the voice in my head is always pleasing. Thank you for helping me realize the importance of music in my life. I will appreciate and cherish it.
    • May 6 2013: You don't need to thank me for anything, Michael - you obviously already have a firm grasp on this concept!
      Hats off to you!
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      May 7 2013: this is so the reason I perceive music is the medicine of choice, it works like a charm when words fail. how many make music because it calms them down. . I think it has saved the sanity of many. I think it better than any kind of talking therapyes. talking about it is like picking the scabs off wounds and constantly making them bleed again, instead of letting them heal. I took to playing a small organ while I was going through a very intense time. just hold a number till I found the next. . it always cleared my mind.
      I've also had more healings happen when touched, by another's singing. I've literally found mys self lifted off the floor, when the violinist walked by and I was standing with a large sand dollar donut to one ear and a 5 pointed Stone StarFish Castle to the other. . i could feel the sound vibrations meshing in my spine . as she saw me standing there let out a high riff, and the rush of energy up my spine, literally lifted me off my feet.
      its left me think that music is best played in 5 sided chambers. all a wee different in size.
      in speaking to another violinist, it added up to all you take in is synthesized into the music you make.
      it is also well to remember that babyes start making music soon as handed a rattle, and they motor through their development with the greatest delight
      hope you don't mind my sharing this here, flood gates open at all that comes to mind
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    May 6 2013: Great presentation, almost TED class :)
    I cannot agree more. Just one question. You say, Respect - Communicate - Express. Do you mean in only as an externalization? Can the process be internal too? I am asking because I used to do something during my school years which sort of became a fad within my friend's circle.
    There are 12 cranial nerves and during my childhood I found the names of these nerves funny. After failing for days to memorize the names, I started singing the names out. First I used some popular tune and then finding it difficult to fit the names in the tune, I changed the tune. Soon enough a strange song got composed, but guess what, the names went into my memory to never leave it.
    My friends tried the trick. Within a year periodic tables, electrochemical series and electropotential series became songs in the campus. Some students were spotted humming in exam halls too.
    Later I learnt that it is not that novel idea at all. We, in India, have a legendary singer named Kishore Kumar, who confessed on record “I could do little else besides singing. I was never good at studies so I used to compose different tunes for different subjects. For instance I composed a tune for a paragraph on the Malthusian theory of population.”
    Does this have anything to do with what you are proposing?
    • May 6 2013: Absolutely, Pabitra!
      This is exactly what I'm talking about!
      Utilizing a natural ability to sing and make music and implementing that ability in your life.

      If this idea were to have a 'core purpose', then it starts with self-exploration, a very internal process.
      As Henry said in his comment below (and I hope 'm interpreting this properly), some families aren't 'lucky' enough to provide an environment for kids to sing and make music freely when other issues that have something to do with creative expression take priority. But each individual possesses the natural ability to use music as a tool, in whatever way he/she wants or needs. That is the beauty of music, and the benefit - as you've clearly described with your anecdote! I bet you still know those songs! How wonderful, you set a music-influenced trend to aid your studies! Awesome!
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        May 6 2013: :) Thanks! I had to wait for nearly three decades to get confirmation of my idea from a professional musician.
        I think you hit a treasure with your idea. Best of luck!
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      May 7 2013: you two make my day. . think I just mention about my daughter wishing for exactly what you are speaking of. I finally got to the point of stating, if it can't be sung about, maybe we ought question the value of it . I like Sugata Mitra's talk to. . about kids figuring thingKs out for their selves. and education a continuous process of getting an or the idea and moving one. . or was that yet another tedtalk. Much magic to both
      • May 7 2013: Good, you did read Pabitra's story! Ignore my question above...!
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          May 7 2013: I knew you would come to this one. I think it awesome what you are doing, you totally on the right track, I also love the spontaneity of coming up with fitting songs for the occasion.
          flower power to the people, with the music you make
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        May 7 2013: Dear Renessa,
        There is simply no doubt in my mind that Lizanne has hit on something truly profound. I think your daughter did figure out what she should do with music. Every discovery of life need not be hyped and publicized but as explorers we all have our ways, kids certainly more ways than adults :)
        Just embrace with joy what you found and cherish it.
        Kind regards from India!
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    May 6 2013: Good video Lizanne! I believe EVERYTHING is interconnected, and you make some wonderful connections with music and life. As you say....there will always be music, and we have the opportunity to explore and enjoy music in our lives.

    In addition to the many forms of music created by, for, and with humans, I enjoy talking/singing with the birds in their beautiful musical language, which I have learned to a certain degree while playing in the gardens. The birds are very patient with me, and seem to like the interaction as they follow me around the garden while we chat/sing with each other! There is a beautiful red cardinal who sings outside my bedroom window early in the morning (my wake-up call), and if I can get the lips working while waking up, I respond to him, so he's there almost every morning, and I love it!

    I plan to always embrace music in my life, and will continue to explore the life experience, including music, with curiosity, and unconditional love, until I take my last breath in this earth school, because it is a gift I would not deny myself:>)
    • May 6 2013: Colleen, how inspirational and beautiful! What I love about music in nature, is how random and yet structured it can be - a specific bird's call is repeated and recognized, crashing waves fluctuate gradually in tempo, the breeze rustling the leaves in a sort of constant, extremely pleasant 'white noise'!

      "it is a gift I would not deny myself". I love that most of all.
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        May 7 2013: I appreciate the feedback Lizanne....thanks:>)

        It is another gift I give myself...."BE what I want to "SEE" in our world.....walk my is much more enjoyable than the alternative, and I observe that it is sometimes contagious....just like smiles:>)

        Smiles are a carrier:>)
        • May 7 2013: I read somewhere on the net, 'surround yourself with positive people' . I feel, there's no need to gather positive folks around you, they'll gravitate towards you naturally if you radiate a positive vibe yourself.
          I like this quote: 'Be the person you've always wanted to meet'.

          Like you, I'm proud to be a carrier, Colleen!
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        May 8 2013: Good quote..."Be the person you've always wanted to meet",

        "Keep good company and ye will be counted one of them"

        I've observed that people do seem to gravitate to one who carries and radiates a "positive vibe":>)
    • May 6 2013: Colleen, I just stumbled on this article about singing birds and thought immediately of you!
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        May 8 2013: Thanks for the interesting article Lizanne! Talking and singing with the birds does indeed create a positive emotional state, as it reminds me again of our interconnectedness:>)
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    May 6 2013: Hi Lizanne,

    I agree in a big way!

    Many thanks for your insights - your video has been helpful with my own perception of this subject.

    I am reminded of Julie Fowlis and her work recovering the old Waulking songs of the flax workers.

    The last 8 years my life have been dedicated to promoting the pennywhistle as a cultural instrument - a way back into our musical hearts. It is cheap and no one expects master-class performance on it (although some become masters).
    It does not become a platform for "the music industry" as the guitar did, and it is not recognised as an orchestral instrument - and so escapes academic isolation from the people. Others are doing similar work with the ukulele, harmonica, concertina etc. Small easy methods of expressing music regardless of how well one can sing.
    But, of course, singing is the root of music along with dance.

    You correctly identify the isolation of the community from its song. This seems to me a part of the process of exclusion that is practiced by those seeking disproportionate wealth and status. We see it in every aspect of our lives.

    It is plain, that music is part of the "totem" of community identity .. when we sing together we subconsciously accept the community of the singers - it binds us.

    My experience down the years is that musical ability is innate, but will atrophy if there is no exposure in early childhood. This atrophy manifests as "tone deafness" and results in someone who believes they cannot sing. It is a kind of poverty. Surrounding our children with music and song enhances the health of the family and community.

    It is a travesty that we are made to pay for something we already own. The argument of excellence and mastery is always rolled out to overcome the truth. For those who accept that lie, I would suggest they get involved in an Irish music session, learn some of the traditional tunes and participate. When you do that, you can see plainly that there is no "audience" - just togetherness.
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      May 6 2013: Mitch, I enjoyed reading your opinion about this idea and I am glad I did it.
      Your answer was very well argumented and it made me think about other ideas and made me make more connections.
      I also consider playing an instrument, weather at a beginner lever or at an expert level, is very useful for human development and growth. Too bad the society is not supporting this behavior and act.
      I also consider, as you and Lizanne did, that it's not necessarily about the talent, but about expressing your emotions and your inner feelings through music.
      • May 6 2013: Thank you so much, Bogdan!!
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        May 7 2013: Hi Bogdan,

        This notion of "talent" is over-blown.
        It is not necessarily "born-into" people.
        From my experience it mostly flows from the reality experienced in early childhood.
        There may be an inherited component - but that would amount to the cumulative adaptation of a community with music. Talent is the default - not having talent indicates a poverty of community.

        Wherever you are on this planet, you will find some group of musicians maintaining your cultural musical tradition. They are often "invisible" to the those who walk modern lifestyles, but they are not hiding - If you look for them you will find them - and they will be more than happy to help you develop any skills, either in song or instrument. Folk festivals are a good place to start the search.
        It's well worth the journey.
        • May 7 2013: Hey Mitch, oops - I missed this comment of yours!
          I agree, 'talent' is something not everyone possesses. What a world this would be, if we were all possessed natural-born talent!
          Talent is aptitude, and when stimulated in a positive way, can become a skill, and even a profession.
          What I believe, is that we all possess the gift of music and singing, regardless of the level of execution.
    • May 6 2013: Thank you so much for your thoughts, Mitch! I wholeheartedly agree with what you said, that "It is a travesty that we are made to pay for something we already own". We all posses a 'toolbox' of music that we have with us at all times, and can utilize at all times, whenever and wherever we may find ourselves! It's a question of stimulating it and teaching kids to utilize it, not just as children but for the rest of their lives.

      On a side note, I too am an avid pennywhistle lover. My Irish heritage played a strong role in my upbringing, we had a basket of pennywhistles in every key that was within easy reach and played with fervor at any given moment. I have followed that tradition in my home - it's the instrument my kids' friends always reach for first when they come over to play!
      Thank you for passing on your passion for this wonderfully accessible and traditional instrument!
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        May 7 2013: Hi Lizanne,

        There is something that awakens when one fully integrates music into one's life.
        To start with, one starts being more than one.
        Practice of music enhances every other aspect of life. It integrates mind, "spirit" and body and sharpens awareness.
        Then a journey begins.

        It is not by accident that musicians often recognise the dynamics of social capital and turn their backs on commercial intellectual property. Copyright-seeking "performers" are not musicians in my book - having been such a copyright seeker at one time, I am glad to have escaped it.
        There are still places for excellence - excellence as a personal goal seems to come as a side-effect of the love of music, but the instant wealth or fame becomes the goal, music departs.
        At one time I played pop music. The people in that field were often rather nasty. The people I find in the folk music community are not like that - they are humble, open and inclusive, and in my opinion, better musicians than those you find in the "music industry".

        If everyone were to find their voice in music and simple community, all would recognise the perversion of modern economic and political doctrines.
        These are large claims - but seem obvious from my standpoint. Without observing true community dynamics first hand, one would not be able to understand this.
        I promote traditional music - it is not just a whimsy - it is the spine of folk-tradition that maintains the ancient flow of human wisdom. Once you "get it" it all becomes clear.
        • May 7 2013: Hi Mitch!
          Yup, I've been in that boat too!

          I agree with you about traditional and folk music, the fact that it is so deep-rooted and so connected with humanity and culture is reason enough to promote it!

          Personally, I can't place one genre over another. There is popular music that rubs me the wrong way, and pop music that inspires me. I think exposure to all genres is important in understanding and appreciating music in its entirety.
          Taste, however, is up to each individual, and indisputable!
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        May 7 2013: Yes .. there's "stuff" and "stuff" ..

        It all looks the same till you taste it .. I mean really taste it ..

        Commitment ..

        I have this total image of the "work of your life" ..

        If you never found it .. you would have no idea what I just said.

        So our work starts with making little doors - we all love each other .. and any door we can make .. any little window that light can get through .. that is our work. It is only through these tiny stupid little doors that take a whole lifetime to open, that we can actually love each other.

        That is worth spending a life to do.

        I salute you for the door you have opened. Those who come through it will realise how well you have done. .. for the rest .. let's see how many we can get through?
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        May 7 2013: A story:

        Before Christmas, I got a note from an old flute-maker.
        He asked me about my "waiting list" and honestly revealed that the cancer that was killing him prevented him from playing his own flutes at his favourite session .. and please, could he have a whistle - it takes less breath.
        So I dropped everything, took the best bit of wood I had, and the best metal and spent a whole week honouring his need.
        I got an email from his widow last week .. he has passed, and the whistle was given to his grandson - who played it at his funeral.
        I Replied my condolences, and hopes for the new life.

        Blue mixes with yellow .. and life is composed of all colours.
        • May 7 2013: Wow, this story gives me goosebumps. How truly generous of you, and how wonderful you understood the urgency and the need for this man's desire to make music!!
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        May 8 2013: It wasn't his desire that moved me - it was his reality. And his honesty.

        Up above all the rubbish we have to do to get through the morass of mistaken humans and their short-sighted imperatives and lies, opinions and illusions .. there is the truth.

        You know you have truth when you are part of these stories.

        I am in denial that all humans cannot tell these stories - we all can .. why aren't we?

        To me .. that is important.

        And look - science proves beyond any controvercy - talent is available to all - it's simple brain plasticity - the older you get, the longer it takes .. there is no limit.
        But having exposure in early childhood puts you ahead of the field.
        Ego makes up self-inflating stories - don't fool yourself.
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      May 6 2013: In my son's public grade-school, they all played recorder in music class. And, of course, starting in pre-school, kids do lots of singing. It stops as a regular thing in secondary school, but it is easy to get secondary school students to sing together- solos harder. I think percussion instruments of all kinds are extremely inclusive as well.

      Later this month, I will be attending, as I have for the last twenty-five years, the largest free folk festival in the United States. There are 7000 registered performers, but all sorts of people will walk onto the grounds for four days with their own drums, fiddles, flutes, and washboards, guitars, didgeridoos... and position themselves wherever they please, alone or in the drum circle or on 'blue-grass hill"...

      I thought of you immediately, Mitch, when I noticed the first performer I will announce (I am an emcee of a couple of stages for three hours on two different days). He plays native american flute.
      • May 6 2013: Oh, the recorder... I personally have a love-hate relationship with it, partly because it was my first instrument and partly because of the shrill sound it makes, with so little space for dynamics!

        I think playing an instrument is an entirely different story - the benefits of which are also too many to list here! I think the beauty of this concept is that you already possess everything you need to make music: your body, and your voice. And you already possess everything you need to sing and make music about: your thoughts, emotions, questions, achievements...

        This festival sounds simply incredible, Fritzie.
        Who knows what inspiration will arise from a gathering of music enthusiasts of all walks of life!
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          May 6 2013: I agree we come with a voice. But we can also make percussion instruments out of common objects all around us. And lots of kids, particularly boys, really connect to the active aspect of percussion.

          I sing all the time, with an average voice. But I treasure my melodic drum (I have forgotten to what key it is 'tuned."
      • May 6 2013: Absolutely, Fritzie!
        I put that part in the video about banging on the dinner table with your silverware for a reason!
        And similarly, a set of pots and pans and a wooden spoon make for a super drum kit.
        And, actually, who needs equipment at all when we've got our bodies ready to beat a rhythm on and with!

        I agree, there is something very primeval about beating out a rhythm, that plays as much a role in this concept as using our voices.

        Is there a certain key a melodic drum should be tuned to?
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          May 6 2013: They are each built to a key. Some keys are preferable for novices, because all sorts of spontaneous combinations sound good. Other keys are better for people with more music experience.

          If you do a search, you will find sites that will let you hear the difference in the drums they make. I will not link one here, because these will be sites of little businesses.
      • May 6 2013: Interesting, Fritzie - I'll google it!
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        May 7 2013: Hi Fritzie,

        If all goes to plan, I will try to get to that festival in a year or 2 .. along with the Willie Clancy fest in Ireland.
        Part of my journey has been the exploration of making the whistles. As an exercise in manufacture, the journey has lead me away from the common modern trade paradigm. The whistles became popular and my order book got up to 2 years long waiting time. 2 years is an insane time to wait for something - and there was no way to promise when, if ever, the order would be fulfilled. So I stopped taking orders and started accepting requests. Even this didn't work, so I closed my request book. When the book is cleared, I will make the whistles and take them to festivals for the players to discover. There is a specific magic that happens when the right player meets the right instrument. It has to be done in person, in the real world, and there is no formula to predict which player will "click" with which whistle .. the whistle might be a simple $5 tin whistle, or it might be one of the grand ones that take me days to make. There is no place for bald economics in music. We enjoy our wonderful technology - phones and internet and such, but the only way to be truly alive - is in-person.

        On the recorder: the recorder is a chromatic woodwind. The chromatic tradition is based on the even-temperament of the piano and has come to dominate western music.
        Real music is played in the just-temperament which has exact harmony where the even temperament does not. Even-temper is a compromise devised to standardise orchestral instruments for the purpose of playing 11 recognised keys. Real music is not compromised like that.
        The reason that recorder is taught in western schools is that, at one time, to qualify as a teacher, one had to have proficiency in an orchestral instrument.
        Educators are not always musicians, so the teachers would quickly learn recorder to get their qualification.
        If not for that, whistle would be taught in schools - it's more intuitive.
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          May 7 2013: When you come to Folklife, I hope you will get in touch. I don't travel to it, as I live a few minutes from the festival grounds.

          Your description of the magic that happens when the right player meets the right instrument reminded me of the first of the Harry Potter books, The Sorcerer's Stone (or, in England, The Philosopher's Stone). In the wand shop when Harry is to purchase his wand, the proprietor explains that the wizard doesn't pick the wand. Rather the wand picks the wizard.

          Harry gives several a wave, with poor effects. Then he waves one that works as if it were made for him.
        • May 7 2013: Do you mean the Folklife Festival in Seattle??
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        May 7 2013: Yes, it sounds trite, but it's true.

        At any given time there will be 10 to 20 "Olivanders" of the whistle on planet Earth.
        It is a protected branch of humanity due to the fact that there are not many pennies in a pennywhistle - because of this, there will never be enough master whistle makers - and because of that, there is no such thing as competition. We mostly know each other due to the internet and welcome new entrants - according to orthodox economics: the demand will always exceed the supply .. but the match of instrument to player is the true economy - it is well balanced in the real world.
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      May 6 2013: It may be co-incidental but I am drawn to a musical instrument of my native Bengal as if it is a living being. It's an one string instrument that minstrels and wondering holy men play as accompaniment of their songs. It's called Ektara or Gopichand. Since Mitch mentioned ukulele, harmonica and concertina, I could not resist mentioning it.
      • May 6 2013: I'm familiar with the Ektara, Patibra - hauntingly beautiful, indeed!
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          May 7 2013: Hi Lizanne,

          As a singer you will appreciate this:

          I am told that, to be an Indic traditional singer, one has to spend the first year or 2 finding one's personal note. After that is found, the raga are then permitted to be performed by the singer - and all the instruments (including the drums) must be tuned to the singer.
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        May 7 2013: Hi Pabitra,

        The musical tradition in the sub continent is not properly understood in the west.

        The Indic musical tradition is fully integrated into all facets of life. It is not isolated to a theatrical stage or packaged as a commoditised "entertainment".

        Here's a little story: I set out to make a dedication whistle to honour some Mysorean rosewood that came out of India with the Raj. Based on the Mysore festival, I decided to call it "Durga".
        As part of the research, I was contacted by a North Indian fellow who explained the full meaning of the Durga festival, so I had to understand the legend and how it fit into the culture.
        My friend read to me the legend of Durga over the phone - he read it from an ancient Sanskrit book owned by his family - a tale that took 2 hours in the telling.
        From the legend I found I had to make 3 whistles in a set - Durga, Shiva and Mahishhah Durga and Shiva have their own raags, - and the whistles were tuned to play these raags. For Mahishhah, there is no raag, so I used the western diatonic scale to represent the Raj - but tuned it to the 22 note southern Indian tones. The final designs were executed in the Mysore rosewood by a flute-maker in Barrow-upon-Humber in England and sent to me.
        None of these whistles were sold - the spiritual thread of the instruments carried them away into the community - Shiva and Durga are presumably changing hands - into the hands which require them. Mahishhah remains with me - I keep him to remind me that heaven cannot be taken by force.
        What also remains with me is the grand integration of music and life - and the "magic" that happens when that integration is allowed to happen.
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          May 7 2013: I liked your story, Mitch :) You will be happy to know that I come from a part of India where Durga festival, locally known as Durga Puja, is the mainstay of the culture. I am very happy to know that you are familiar with the legend of Durga, the motherhead of power and destroyer of evil.
          Interestingly, in the tradition of North Indian Classical music, there is raaga named Durga.

          I found it very interesting that Durga, the legend as you say, is identified with a raaga, not a raagini (a feminine form of movement as contrasted with a raaga), despite Durga is a mother deity.

          I also tend to think, when it's a legend, a musical movement and a cultural mixture - there is no better ground of integration one can imagine.

      • May 7 2013: Oh yes, I've heard that, Mitch!
        There are singing workshops that work with that premise too - people find their own note and wander around the room, keeping to their note, while listening to each other. I don't remember what it's called, but I have tried it and it is pretty incredible. But, finding your own note is not something that takes a matter of hours, but indeed, a matter of years.

        I really love what you wrote about "the grand integration of music and life - and the "magic" that happens when that integration is allowed to happen. " Here, here to that!
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        May 8 2013: Pabitra,

        There are 22 prayers of overcoming that the Goddess Durga gives us as the defence to the violators of heaven.
        There are 22 exact tones in the southern Indic scales measured from the singer's note.
        There are many times of day that hold certain reality - we are there or we are in a no-place. And the song of our life is a symphony of journey in this universe.

        Durga is a goddess made up of all the most powerful parts of all the gods. She slew Hahishhah - the immortal of Brahma - using the discus of Shiva.

        The other part of Durga is Kali.

        I have met them both - and both of Shiva and both of Mahishhah.

        Here is the truth of gods:

        If you sacrifice to them them - they bless you - and show themselves to you.
        If you deny them - they bless you - and do not show themselves.
        If you do their work - they do not bless you. You become them.
        The blessing is not of you - it is of them - all that power! And none of it for you.

        So spoke Shiva and Durga to me.

        I am yet to explain why Brahma blessed Mahishhah and why it is permitted of the demon lord to take and to destroy. Is there no future in heaven?
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          May 8 2013: I think you are referring to Mahishasura, the demon?

          I love Durga story, the legend as myth and do not deny that the spiritual message of awakening of power to fight against and win over 'evil's as found in the story is culturally profound. However, my appreciation ends there. It's a story, an interesting one, a large section of humanity attaches spiritual importance to it, that is awesome - but a story nonetheless. And there are several different versions of it , just like resurrection of Jesus Christ.
          I, by no means disrespect your sentiments and feelings about it, but I am on a different page, I guess :)
          "If you deny them - they bless you - and do not show themselves." True. I have never seen them.
          I can find out 21 of the stotram (prayer) for Durga.

          Am I missing something?
          Or may be we should discuss this somewhere else?

        • May 8 2013: Pabitra and Mitch, as far as I'm concerned, you guys are welcome to continue the discussion here - I think information from all possible musical genres and cultures is essential to learning more about how important music is!
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          May 8 2013: Ok, I shall make an attempt. I am not a musician so my view may be non-conformist :)
          You said : integrating music into life : Growing back in Music. I see Om or Aum in Vedic tradition as the first syllable and note both. I don't know if any other ancient culture ever had a sound identified as the purest form of spirituality.

          And you may be interested in the oldest heard musical rendition in vedic chants.

          For at least 3000 years this is one unbroken tradition of worship where music and life merged with one another. I don't believe in a God but certainly believe in the strength of tradition.
        • May 9 2013: Pabitra, you say, "I am not a musician so my view may be non-conformist". Well neither am I! No one needs to be a musician to understand and appreciate the importance, and indeed tradition, of music.

          Those links you shared are truly fascinating - when I do vocal warming up with my students, we often begin with the sound 'om', I was aware that it had meaning, but I never knew about the deep-rooted significance of that sound!

          Chanting is another way of using our natural rhythmic and singing ability together, getting a message across as a whole, which would not exist without each individual. Very beautiful, and incredibly strong! Thanks!!
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        May 9 2013: @Pabitra,

        I learned Mahish-hah - the son of Rambha lord of the demons.
        Mahish is the buffalo.
        In the old Sanskrit book Shyamala was not cursed to be a buffalo - she was just an attractive buffalo that Rambha desired to rape. The rape child was mahishhah.
        Rambha heard news of the child and was fearful that he would challenge him and had all the buffalos killed - the slaughter began and Shyamala went to Brahma for help - Brahma made Mahishhah immortal and thus he escaped the massacre - which took his mother.
        Mahishhah blamed the gods and in rage and revenge attacked heaven - and defeated the hosts of heaven.
        In their sanctuary, the great gods made a golem called Durga of the parts of the greatest gods armed with the most powerful weapons and mudras.
        Durga went to battle against the legions of Mahishhah before the doors of the sanctuary of heaven and in a 100 day battle finally cut Mahishhah's throat with the discus of shiva.
        Across India the story is told in different shades and names.
        This is the story told me from the old book - I cannot say the talk amongst the gods as it is a story that takes 2 hours to tell - and I would have to get it translated to me again. I preserved the story in whistles and they have the Sanskrit names engraved on them.
        When I delivered the work to this world, these gods came in the form of humans and blessed me.
        It takes courage to pronounce OM - and it takes courage to ask for the words of Om that are the words of your self - the secret words that none must know.
        You will see - the plastic wrapper being woven around your secret word. I would say .. cover yourself in buffalo turds and the plastic wrapper will dissolve.
        Who are the Brahman except you and I my friend?
        I am Shaman of the north - I bring news of the south.
        Time for courage.
        Time to be the Buddha.
        Time to enter into courage. And life.
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          May 9 2013: Dear friend, Brahman is no God. it is a conceptual pinnacle of spirituality and detached from divinity. Brahman is the unchanging reality amidst and beyond the world, which cannot be exactly defined. I completely disagree with Radhakrishnan who described Brahman as the absolute Godhead which is the divine ground of all being in modern Hinduism.
          I am quite awed and humbled with the knowledge of humanity's spiritual journey and evolution from ancient times. The pillar of Hinduism, the first of the four canonical texts of Vedas, the Rigveda is a collection of hymns of a pastoral, nomadic people settling in an unknown territory and it is profound enough how they started to worship natural elements.

          When I was 11 years old, I was initiated into Brahminism through a ritual named 'Upanayana' (a second birth of a human into knowledge of self) where I was taught, as a fresh Brahmin, the Gayatri hymn, which was amongst the first musical/lyrical inspirations I got.

          I don't know how courageous I am, honestly. But with the story of life where I stand today, it appears to me that looking at life at it's face, asking questions and weighing answers on the razor's edge all the while when Gods allure one to stop and submit and get peace is no act of cowardice either.
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        May 10 2013: No .. we cannot be gods.
        This much is clear.
        And, as in the prayers of the dead - to be properly human is to "not get stuck" by Shiva or Durga or Ganesh ro Jesu or Yaveh or Albert Einstein or the grunting fascination of lovers lost in each other.

        I have only windows into Hindi and Buddhist teaching through the teachings that were laid before me by .. I presume are gods ... I am of the simple shaman in tradition. That which is found, not taught. Compared to the Indic wisdom .. I'm like a wild dog. All I say is not any more than vomit.
        But as a wild dog I vomit and roll in corpses. It's not popular, but it makes me happy.

        The nice bit of carrot in this particular regurgitation is the way that the Indic music is not music as westerners see it .. except maybe the Irish .. it does not exist up on some vaunted stage above the commoners .. it is like blood .. it carries an essential fluid of life that will never stop .. we just sing - we are all dogs howling at moons and ambulances - birds in treetops singing "I am here".
        And it's fun to do that - we need no justification - and payment is only to parasites - they can be scraped off with a scaling knife when the itch gets too much.

        (Pentameter is fun to use I think,
        But haiku is best - it gives us 3 things to say, when we feel the urge)
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          May 11 2013: I salute you the shaman of the North and call you a friend. :)
          With all my silliness, let me tell you that there is no East or West in the depth of a human soul. Over some great distance on earth you and I are tied to the same umbilical cord that is life. If you mass spectrograph our tears and track the muscle movements of our smiles - none can tell Mitch from Pabitra.
          I will never discard your wisdom as vomit.
          And we revere Irish connection here in Bengal through Margaret Noble.
          I hear what you say my friend.
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        May 11 2013: HI Pabitra,

        Friend indeed!

        I am just a dog. Who needs more than that! I have learned a lot from dogs .. and cats .. and trees as well. In fact .. my "money" comes from trees right now . I am allowed to keep living because I know how to make a bit of tree become a bit of a human. .. I am a kind of tree/human match maker and arrange marriages between them through the ring of music.

        I mourn that so many of our brides are extinct .. The whistle that I made for the dead man was made of a wood extinct 100 years .. it is the true west indies cocus - long gone .. and the best flute-wood ever found. The Conquerors of South America did more than despoil the gold in their attack on heaven - they plundered the very skin and bones of the earth for the entertainment of dead children to have money that has long since expired from life - we call them "capitalists" and they have all been "amortised" .. made dead .. they are the zombies and exist in video-games - but some of us are allowed to see .. and in seeing, contain the map .. and nothing will be lost when we come home .. many years from now.
        Fun now .. or life. It's just entropy. No one is qualified to judge, because the court is life. And it never ends. Even having the arrogance to inflect entropy enough to allow our skin is bold and dangerous, but the rule of life is that we must. And I will not apologise for that :)

        I am joyful to find a friend!
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        May 12 2013: Here is a gift.

        Here is another friend of ours who we have not met yet:

        I can see the waves that flow over us - it dictates what we talk about .. it's kinda silly when you watch it. You see the wave .. then everyone is talking about the wave .. very few talk about what the wave is saying - and no one talks about what makes the wave in the first place.
        Although quite a few have asked us to talk about it.
        If I could get anything done .. it would be to convince myself .. and everybody else the thing that cats and dogs and trees already know:
        Be still .. all is well.
        That is the only mantra worth chanting - or contemplating.

        I have a draft thesis that will remain in draft for all of time.
        If you would like, I can send it to you. It is not found in any university - except my life. And only my friends can have it.
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    May 5 2013: Lizanne, this is an amazing idea! I fully agree with you and I consider it's time to be kids again, to be as creative and indifferent to others opinion as they are.
    I always considered the kids state of mind the best one. It's sad when we discover ourselves grown up and with no joy and creativity in us...
    Unfortunately that's what society does to us. We trying to impress others and to fit in the projections of others, rather than our true identity.
    Thanks again for sharing this idea!
    • May 6 2013: Thank you, Bogdan! I agree, "It's sad when we discover ourselves grown up and with no joy and creativity in us..." We forget how to feel good about even the smallest of achievements when we get older - I truly believe if we can teach children how to use musical tools they already have, they will posses tools that will aid them for the rest of their lives.
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        May 6 2013: Yes, Lizanee, you are right and I agree with what you've said.
        It is very important to expose children to music from a very young age. Also by doing that we will aid ourselves too. By teaching them how to feel good about all the achievement in their lives, even the smallest ones, we also learn to do that and eventually will start doing it with our lives. Often people think that teaching is a one way process, when in reality is a double way thing. The teacher passes it's knowledge to the student, but he is also learning from the questions asked by the learner and from the feedback.
        • May 6 2013: Absolutely!!! That is exactly how I perceive it.
          Education is a two-way street, if the educator is willing to see it that way! I am as excited about learning something new from my students, then I am about teaching them something new! Thank you for this!
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      May 6 2013: Hello Bogdan,
      You are reletively new to TED conversations? Welcome:>)

      I agree that a kids state of mind is the, honest, trusting, joyful, creative, curious and unconditionally loving. We do not have to "discover ourselves grown up", unless we accept that script,

      Society does not do that to us....we do it to ourselves, by living our lives based on the expectations of you insightfully trying to "fit in the projections of others, rather than our true identity". I really believe this concept is changing, because more people like you are following their and loving the life adventure with curiosity and exploring all there is to explore.

      It appears that sometimes we (humans) are remembering again what this life is truely about. In my humble perception, it is to learn, grow and evolve, which cannot happen when we are living in a box, which others have created for us. Perhaps it is time to remember:>)
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        May 6 2013: Hello Colleen!

        Yes, I have joined TED conversations only 2 days ago. I hope that my idea( is worth spreading. Also I joined it because I like to learn new things and I like to debate various subjects.

        Regarding your reply: Unfortunately I consider that too many people live to the society's expectation, rather to theirs. On the other side, I happily discovered that a great amount of people are not trying to fit in and they are doing what their heart and inner feelings tell them to do.

        Definitely it is time to remember, and also to look inside of us. In my humble opinion I consider that we(humans) should be anarchists. I know it sounds drastic but through "anarchists" I refer to not fitting into society's trends and labels. To live as your heart dictates and how your instinct tells you, not the TV, magazines, etc.
        • May 7 2013: I think I understand what you mean, Bogdan, that we should all become 'anarchists'.
          More of us should go against the grain and pave our own path to follow, without falling into the trap of individualism, but taking into consideration each other and respecting all.
          The majority of society tends to blindly follow what society dictates, our 'survival mechanism' has evolved from finding food to having the latest iPhone, or I'll DIE.

          Time to go back to where it all starts and teach children how to explore themselves, so they can pave their own paths to their own idea of success in their own tempo and on their own terms, wherever they may lead.
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          May 8 2013: Hello Bogdan and Lizanne:>)
          Yes....look inside of our "self" to find what we are seeking, and in my humble perception and experience, it is by following my heart, rather than the expectations of others, that I discover more information.

          I feel that it is very natural to seek answers inside our "self", rather than externally, and it seems natural to follow my heart with life explorations, while recognizing the interconnectedness of the whole.

          I agree Lizanne that the majority tend to blindly follow, and this happens sometimes because of a need to be appreciated, respected and accepted by the society. People sometimes think/feel that if they do what everyone else is doing they might be more appreciated, respected, accepted, when I observe the opposite to be true.

          Those of us who DO follow our heart/intuition are generally demonstrating something that more people would LOVE to do BECAUSE it is natural:>)

          Lizanne, you write..."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".

          I have had this experience while traveling in other cultures when the spirit moves me. Although I did not speak the language, I broke into song to express what I was feeling, and it seemed to be accepted and appreciated, sometimes encouraging others to sing as well. I certainly have no illusions about changing the world, and I also know that I contribute to change in many situations:>)
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          May 8 2013: Love all that's being shared on this thread alone. make my day, and its only just begun. WoW, this the second time, on this thread alone, at posting the link first as an awesome example of using songs, and hip hop in this case and then reading this thread. The cosmic winks, also known as synchronicityes are showering us with lightbulb MOMends, as I will purrceive your IDeals Lizanne, while eye consider a a shower of lightbulb MOMends, as fAIRy dust. . . . love being creative with words, so many treasures are hiding within and we've never thought to pick up on since. . this is the correct way. . .
          when you speak of Anarchy Bogdan, it has the same ring as speaking of Spirituality. Anarchy being political and spirituality the religious version of the same IDeal.
          the whole of creation is a happen and stem from within. . Love, that you speak both ENGlish and Dutch since the MISSing links are left in Dutch. Tip of the ice berg, or ratHer, the WhitE BUFFaLo calf, crack off land, make big Splash and rides out to sea in all her MaJestY, a rose in dawn's early light, lest a menAce in the fog and sharp enough to sink the Titanic, as it heads down to the Grand Banks of New FoundLand for a meltdown. So with stem speaking of both VOICE and VOTE in dutch, our spokes pick up on the rhythms and rites seeing nature at work and do all, with the greatest of ease. .
          Bogdan, love how your focus is on travel the world. . and with it, the peoples rivers of babble on continue to dyeVers'ifY with use , there are many overlaps as well as bring our UnIqueKIness out.
          Colleen, much as Ted and Chris has so aptly spoke of connecting and spreading the knowledge, what has near gone unnoticed is how the instant translations are becoming available to one and all. This to me is as grand a step in connecting the human communityes or the global village. we are, at the emBryONic state of stemcells connecting intoo bodyes of knowledge and insights of the where, who and how we are. aLOeVEra coming up.
        • May 8 2013: Colleen, thank you for sharing your experience with singing in a different culture than your own, and the positive effect that was a result of it! Music truly is universal, human, and natural. Especially singing, which anyone who has a voice is aware - it is the most vulnerable and personal form of musical expression. I feel, singing simply as to be appreciated when it is so pure and genuine.

          When I put this video together, I actually hesitated about saying anything about 'changing the world'. My initial instinct was, that is such an unfathomable concept. How can I suggest in any way that this is the path to a better world? Then, I realized, the path to a better world really does begin with individuals. The more, the better!
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    Jun 5 2013: I take the opportunity to tell you once again that you have hit a profound truth of life by this idea. Whether or not it materializes as a project, it can simply be a lifeview and continue to benefit all. Thank you for sharing.
    Sending you a clip of my son singing in his study - just to feel good.:)
    • Jun 5 2013: Pabitra, listening to this right now, and it thrills my heart!!!
      I couldn't agree more, if I have been able to inspire and motivate others through this idea, then it is more successful than I ever could've imagined. It's in the world now! Not just in my head...
      A huge thank you to your thoughts and input as well, my dear friend!!
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    Jun 4 2013: Your fantabulouslywonderrific conversation is closing soon.
    I really enjoyed it Lizanne. So many wonderful thoughts.
    And look, Don himself is mesmerized. LOL

    Here is a piece of music for your soul.
    Beware the invisible violin.

    Sending smoke-free love your way,
    Mary ♫
    • Jun 4 2013: Oh Mary, I'm going to miss it too! I have learned so much, been able to integrate so many insights into this idea, all of which have been so helpful, to make it even better!

      Guess what, I am now working on a "Growing Back into Music" sequel... This saga has only just begun!

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        Jun 4 2013: Can't wait Lizanne,
        Today my kids and I watched your video above a second time, then we realized you had additional videos.

        We watched the spider song, and the thank you song.

        Both were just fantastic.

        You really need to make a CD and market it to the pre schools and elementary schools as well as to parents. I am not exaggerating. Dr. Jean, the kindergarten teacher, turned famous CD producer, did this very thing.

        Once she had alot of songs put together, she produced her first CD. Now she travels the country in the summer, and trains teachers (who attend educational conventions) on how to use the songs in class.

        Well, I'll keep looking out for your conversations, and your great comments.
        I'm a bit down now, because I had a fall and have a cast on one ankle, but, on the UP side.... I got to ride an ambulance for the first time. :) :( ......
        I'll be ok in a few days.
        • Jun 5 2013: Mary, thank you so much!!!
          Together with my husband, we're working on a CD, absolutely. It's tough to find the time between 'earning money' to dive into the studio to record them, but it will happen! We have some wonderful ideas of helping kids and their grown-ups in a fun, funky and functional way through music!

          So sorry to hear about your fall!! No fun at all! The ambulance ride - my oh my, I've been there... But, there are even more up sides while you've got your foot up - lots of extra pampering, you can catch up on those sudoku puzzles you've always wanted to do, do even more reading, and more TED!!! And, 'Growing Back into Music Part 2' will be online today...
          By the way, I used tiger balsam to soothe the muscles in my upper leg when I was in a cast. This might help... Hoping it won't be long before you're up and about, Mary!
          Thank you for all your kind words and encouragement!!
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    May 29 2013: I can't think of life without music.

    Music brings harmony and happiness in life.
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    May 25 2013:
  • May 25 2013: I wish I could start a new thread to find out!
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    May 22 2013: Liz . . . what a wonderful conversation here.
  • May 20 2013: Great video. I enjoyed it completely. I surround myself with music every day in one way or another. It is present in so many things around us from street sounds to birds, trees, the wind. The universe is infused with music. Just open your mind and heart, and you will hear it.
    • May 21 2013: That it is, Joe. Allowing music in our lives, when we may not be used to it, is actually easier than one might think. It's exactly like you say - it's all around us, and within us!
  • May 19 2013: Yes,that's really amazing,sometimes when I have time on weekend,I like to roam around parks.There are lots of people sing their own songs in Parks.Some of their songs are funny and very delicate.They made those lyrics are really vivid from their understanding of their daily life:content is about a couple,old ,young,children's life...
    • May 20 2013: It sounds magical, Ed!!! Thank you for this vivid account! I'd sure like to go to that park!
      • May 20 2013: Lol,Welcome to China ,Welcome to my city:)I would like to be your free guider.
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    May 18 2013: Hi LIzanne,

    Very interesting. I have always wondered how this could be accomplished. One of my favoirite philosophers talks about musics and how it can be very transcedental. He mentions that like all our, we should actively create our own lives.

    This may be a simple question to answer but would you state that we should intergrate all forms of art in our lives or is you focus just on music?
    • May 20 2013: Hi Orlando!
      Which philosopher is that? I'd love to learn more about what he has to say on the subject!

      In answer to your question, YES! Absolutely!
      Although this particular idea is based on music, I would say all forms of art are essential in our everyday lives. Personally, I integrate not only music, but also art and dance in my life, with my children. We use our hands and our bodies as well as our voices to express ourselves.
      Music is in my opinion the most accessible form of expression, especially for children. You literally don't need anything to do it, we're all already equipped with what we need to sing and make music.
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    May 18 2013: Hi, Lizzanne :)

    I hope you remember me, we discussed about singing talent show in another conversation topic. That one has expired. So I hope you don't mine I'll share the link I promised I'd find for you. I can't find the video though. But here's the link to the article which Elton John gave an interview:

    Hope this will be useful for your research in one way or another. Good luck :)))))
    • May 18 2013: Of course I remember you, Kelwalin!
      Thanks so much for taking the effort to find that interview! Really, anything is helpful at this point, the 'gathering' stage! :)
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        May 18 2013: My pleasure! That what friends are for! :)

        I'm looking forward to hear more about your interesting research. Best wishes xxx
        • May 20 2013: Wow, this is really spot-on, Kelwalin!
          I couldn't agree more with his perspective - the 'products' of these shows are left to their own devices, which couldn't be more damaging for their careers, let alone themselves as people!
          Unfortunately, I have seen a lot of examples, even within my own circle of friends and colleagues, of labels/managers literally dumping artists when they don't make a profit, all the while stringing them along, promising fame and fortune, dangling that carrot in front of them, then letting them fall down a hole in the ground. Some labels sign independent artists, just so they don't get signed by anyone else, with never any intention of investing any money in them or their careers.

          Coming back to this idea, it's about going back to basics. The more pure our relationship is with music, the more we can get out of it.
  • May 18 2013: Hi Dear Lizanne Hennessey:)We have a very classical opera which was all from people's daily life.It is the so called:Liu San Jie.We local people do singing for fun:they sing their feeling of life,they use singing to express their understanding of life.We also have singing day everyyear,It is the so called 3th March.Especailly young boys and girls use singing and dancing to express their love to their princes and princess...
    • May 18 2013: How wonderful, Ed!
      I think a lot of countries have already grasped this notion of using music in their daily lives.
      I could be wrong, but it seems most Western societies have somehow been taught/learned how to hinder themselves in expression through music, instead of embracing it like you describe...
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    May 18 2013: Hi Lizanne,

    I really enjoyed watching your Youtube video. Well edited!

    Though my singing would likely cause dogs to start howling and people to cover their ears, I make music and music has been a central part of my life ever since I can remember. I've never had a lesson but I have played the piano since I could walk. See for a typical example of my playing. Sadly, a piano does not fit into my backpack, so it is not a very practical way for me to express myself. Very unlike singing, which is portable.

    I do think everyone needs to express themselves through some sort of music, in whatever way they can. I've been a part of drumming circles. Have you tried that?

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    May 16 2013: Hey, L, maybe you can help me with my idea. After I posted that video about belly dancing in bed, it occurred to me one could exercise one's tongue, so I'm doing that quite a bit, running it around in circles in and outside my mouth, flicking it in and out. I have a gut feeling this is a good exercise even for a non-singer (I know, you're saying everyone is a singer, but I can still separate the professionals from the amateurs), but why would it be good for a non-professional singer to exercise their tongue?
    • May 17 2013: I'm sure it is! Great idea.
      My standard exercises for both before and after using my voice are 'lip trills' and 'tongue twirls', which helps activate the muscles in and around the mouth:
      If you Google or YouTube "lip trill" or "lip bubbles", you'll find a ton of demonstrations.
      A 'strong' tongue, or at the very least an awareness of how you use it, is important for anyone who wants to improve or strengthen their voice, their range, and their articulation.
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        May 17 2013: Nice. Those are all things that have to do with sound, Liz, and of course we use our tongues to make sound. Can you think of why it would be good to have a strong tongue for more "physical" activies, I mean, we don't pick things up with our tongue like we do with our hands and arms. I mean a stronger tongue might be good for guiding your food around in your mouth. Or if you entered a contest to see who could blow the biggest bubblegum bubble. Or for licking stamps. Anything else come to mind?
        • May 18 2013: Hey Greg!
          I don't know why we don't do more with our tongues, expect perhaps because the saliva would make it difficult to grasp onto anything...
          You're right, these exercises have to do with sound Don't know if that would in any way hinder your idea, though. I do know the exercises for warming up muscles in your face are also important for creating a sort of 'lubricant' to keep your vocal cords flexible. And that using your voice puts more pressure on those muscles, including your tongue, than just air.
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        May 19 2013: What I'm looking for, Lizanne, is how I can make tongue exercises appeal to the gymnasium crowd, it's pretty obvious why a speaker or a singer would want to do them, but why might an athlete? Funny thing, I first got interested in the tongue because I would see photos of Michael Jordan, the great basketball player, with his tongue hanging out as he balled. I believe he actually used it to make himself a better ball player, for example when you're really hot, or when I am, I will let my tongue hang out and pant like a dog, it really cools off the inside of your mouth. Also letting your tongue hang out can help with your balance, like occasionally when I turn a corner too fast, I'll help catch myself from stumbling by sticking out my tongue, I believe Michael knew these things. Probably also it intimidated his opponents because it was flashy and unexpected.

        Another famous "tongue-hanger-outer" is Gene Simmons from KISS, right?

        I will say that when a fly is buzzing around my head, I often will dart out my tongue like a frog, try to catch him. But that might not have mass appeal. Sometimes I'll scratch little itches around the outside of my mouth with my tongue.

        Saliva is a wonderful substance. If you ever forget your sunscreen, saliva is a marvelous sunscreen, just put it on your fingers and coat your skin. But that might not have mass appeal either.
        • May 20 2013: Interesting, Greg. I'm all out of ideas on this, but I would say, go for it! Sounds like you've got something with this.
          But you're right, I doubt bottled saliva would sell...!
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        May 20 2013: Do you know what I'm talking about when I mention Mike letting his tongue hang out when he balled? Here for example is a typical image:
        but you can find hundreds of pictures of Mike doing this, while dribbling, slam dunking, flying in the air toward the basket. I found it an interesting move, I thought it probably helped him stay a little cooler physically, and also sometimes it can help you balance better on your feet, not just when playing intense sports, but also when walking around in everyday life. Well, maybe some ideas will come to you.
        Sometimes when I'm reading the newspaper and I go to turn the page, it's kind of difficult, because the crease in the middle of the page is kind of soft and you're holding it on either far edge with each hand, you can't brace that crease to fold it cause your hands are occupied holding the paper on either edge. So I stick my tongue down in that middle crease, that kind of braces it and it's easier to fold the paper to the next page. It sounds complicated, but if you saw it I think you'd like it. Most people seem almost OCD to me about their mouths, they just can't use it for anything but chewing food, God forbid it touches anything else or a speck of dirt touches it. I just can't be that way, Lizanne.
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      May 18 2013: Hi Greg,

      You might find the Sanskrit language interesting, as the Sanskrit alphabet was designed in such a way as to give your tongue an exercise. As you say the alphabet, your attention moves from the front of your mouth to the back. The sounds of the language were designed intentionally for effect, so Sanskrit poetry, when pronounced has an effect unlike any other language I've encountered. This is because the sound of words, and how your mouth and tongue move to communicate, affects the way you feel and the way others perceive your thoughts. Somewhat reminiscent of Dune, if you've seen that.
  • May 16 2013: Who saw jay Silver's talk?
    What an inspirational idea, he's created a way to make music with anything!!
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      May 16 2013: hahahaha........I was just coming over here to ask you--"Have you seen Jay Silver's talk"?

      Wasn't that absolutely incredible? Right away it reminded me of this conversation, and the conversation Kate is hosting on Making things.

      You beat me to it Lizanne....I'm glad :)
  • May 16 2013: Whats does music have to do with buying groceries? Yet have music in supermarkets.
    Whats does music have to do with working out? Yet have music in gyms.
    Whats does music have to do with using an elevator? Yet have music in them.

    PS in the video, you incorrectly state children are "musical", that's not a fact. You might as well say children are mathematical, or chess prodigies, because children have been those as well. Children are naturally inquisitive, they make sound, the tell the hardness of objects because of it, but they also put things in their mouths to achieve the same results, it's about experimentation, not inherently music.

    It's like those dvd's of music parents who think it will improve their babies intellect, it doesn't.

    I often think that people today (adults), are too scared with who they are, afraid to find out about themselves, to meditate, to think, and so need this continual distraction of noise/music, to alleviate them from actually a deeper understanding about themselves and humanity. Just like the people who have to drive with the bass that everyone just has to hear, now you wouldn't class them as life intellectuals would you.

    Realize that today more people suffer with hearing loss than ever before, so if you really want to go back in time you really should have less noise, less music, and if you have ever had to listen to "Music" that you don't like, I'm sure that everyone will agree that it's noise.

    Luckily there is an alternative to your suggestion....
    • May 16 2013: Hi Tify,
      thanks so much for your thoughts on this.

      Naturally, the form of expression you choose, that suits you, is personal. There is no right or wrong way to express yourself! Why I say that music comes naturally to children, is because they are uninhibited and curious. They are more likely to start dancing or singing along to a piece of music than adults are. By suggesting children are musical, I am by no means suggesting they don't have other abilities!

      Even music I don't like, I still consider music. I find it personally unfair to use my own personal taste to determine whether something is music, or noise. The sound of a vacuum, to me, is noise (often referred to as white noise - which incidentally has been proven to be soothing to babies!)

      I agree that noise can be invasive, but to be honest, I don't feel that the site you suggested is an alternative to my idea. I am absolutely in favor of silence, I enjoy it immensely. The idea of integrating music into your life by no means suggests you should sing all day long! I find meditation and silence as important as expression through and the enjoyment of music.

      If you're referring to music that is absurdly loud, I couldn't agree more that it effects our hearing. Are you aware of The Loudness War, that has been going on since the 80's? There's a conversation about it here:
      There is also a TED talk by Charles Limb about hearing loss and music here, which you might also find interesting:
    • May 17 2013: Tify,
      I have another suggestion, which you may or may not agree with... but I'm going to put it out there.
      I've been thinking a lot about your comment the past couple days, and I've come to a realization.
      I believe you may be more musical than most people.
      A lot of people hear background music in stores, or in the elevator, like you point out, it's everywhere, but they have the ability to filter it out, 'switch it off'. For you, it is an invasion, 'pollution'.
      To me, that suggests that you may not possess that ability to simply 'filter it out'. When you hear music, regardless of what type of music it is, it goes directly into you, which has an effect on you, more often than not, a negative effect! I completely understand this!

      I truly do not think your desire for silence is born from a hatred of (bad/loud/poor/invasive) music.
      I think it comes from the fact that you may be more sensitive to music than others...
      What do you think?
      • May 20 2013: Here's a fair answer, at least I think, that today, someone was playing 'their' music loud enough for me to hear even when I didn't want to, in side my own home. That I consider an invasion. Too often people just dont "think", hummm maybe other people dont want to hear this.

        It's the same for the supermarket, the gym, the elevator, or now the tv's in the bank, post office, it's I believe a way of pacifying people, distracting them. It's like this is a pointless excise waiting in line... so take their mind off it. it's as if we are being treated as children.

        Which nicely brings me to the point you made about children and music, I think it's NOT inherently more musical but WE are more inhibited. Thats the huge and biggest difference between adults and children, we've been for want of a better word programmed, we wont embarrass ourselves, or we try not to. We hold on too tight.

        I dont have a hatred of music per se, i do have a hatred of it's use as a distraction, and a hatred of people who are not considerate to others.

        Now interestingly, I dont know why, but I feel it's more a mathematical ability, I do have the strange ability specially focused on classical (not that i like it more) to actually effectively predict what country the composer is from by the freq used.

        I know that the frequencies used in rap music do put me into a severe rage. I figure that must have been the purpose of it, to enrage people to do such things as are done in the worlds slums, such as drive by shootings.

        It's just not a emotion nor feeling I want to harbor, nor nurture, nor look forward to, u see I dont want my mind and so my body to go to such a place - not in an elevator or ever

        Lizanne I wanted to reply to this comment, not just for the above but the feeling that it gave me of care & consideration that you've shown by taking the time to think about it and write it.

        That Lizanne IS what I love about the human race, I dont care if i embarrass myself - that's what I love about you
        • May 21 2013: Tify, you have brought tears to my eyes.

          I know exactly what you mean, about music being used as a distraction. It hurts me, when music is misused this way. And yes, I agree, it is degrading! Like we can't stand a second of silence?! In another conversation, Mary M. spoke of her recent experience in a mall, where there were multiple sound systems blasting music at her. Professional mastering engineers are speaking up about by this insane desire for music to be so loud and invasive, and are taking a stand against it! Enough is enough. How can we enjoy the beauty of music, if we cant appreciate the beauty of silence??

          I also could not agree more with you, that we are inhibited. We are indeed conditioned to keep our mouths shut, and our eyes on the goal society sets for us. We're a colony of ants, running around, carrying more than we can bear, for the greater good. If I can help even one child see that his/her life means more than that, I will consider that my greatest achievement.

          I'm not surprised you feel a connection with the mathematics of classical music! Did you know, Bach's compositions have been found to contain underlying mathematical equations?
          "The structure of Bach's music resembles that of a classic type of fractal known as a Cantor set."

          I wouldn't be surprised if there were more.
          Mathematics and art have a deep-rooted relationship, in fact:

          I also recognize the negative emotions that some types of music can trigger. We are sensitive to music, regardless of what we do with it in our everyday lives, which should never be abused.

          Tify, I love you too!
      • May 24 2013: Lizanne

        Thanks for the link, but yes I've studied them all, from the writings of Herodotus, to the math of Pythagoras, the great masters of art, and probably the greatest master of them all nature. But my skills are quite strange in that I can say in what time and location the composer was around.

        I'm glad you cried, because it tells me you love kids and see them like i do, a wonder to behold.

        Where I believe that kids are inherently free of the constrains of embarrassment of dancing silly, free from the pre-programmed ideas of normality, free from the shackles society and our own minds and society place on us as we "grow up".

        I myself, quite honestly have never grown up, I still feel the awe and wonder that is out there, all around us, if we want to be open to it just like children.

        And thats why they, children, love music, the patterns, the sounds designed on the golden rules of nature, that harmonize with their very souls. That can make them dance, move, laugh and experience all the positive emotions, now that is something that I do encourage.

        But to humble me, it has to come from a place of love, a place of caring, a place where they have the freedom from criticism just to be themselves, and that place I can only see coming from a loving parents heart.

        And that's why the negative side of music concerns me so much, it also has the power to be very destructive not only in their lives, but it's as you say Lizanne, inherent in all of us.

        And here's a real nice summary explanation of the readings I've done, with regards to music, art, nature.

        And it's not only for kids, so watch it too Lizanne, enjoy it, never lose whats special about life, nature, soul, freedom and understanding.

        Always be the child. :)

        • May 25 2013: Tify, I know this episode of Donald Duck in Mathematical Land!!! I remember seeing it as a kid, and watching in amazement! Quite a divergence from the regular slapstick-style Donald cartoons I was accustomed to!
          Do you know this one? Text Avery's "Shhhhh":

          I love how you say, Tify, that you've never really grown up. This is another thing we share! I can look at my own children, and hear them call me 'mama' in amazement sometimes, when deep down, I don't feel too much different from when I was a kid. I have carried that child with me, kept in touch with it, which I am convinced is what helps me experience every day in a new way.

          I also share your concern as far as what is happening in the commercially-driven music industry today. Because music comes from the nature within us, it is so vulnerable. I have this conviction, that if children understand how a REAL voice sounds, made by a REAL person, focusing on REAL emotions, then the music we know today will eventualy lose its appeal...
      • May 25 2013: Thanks Lizanne, Tex Avery is/was a great animators, I do have many of his works, but this one was new to me. :)

        I think that "divergence" you talk of is really at the heart of it all. Music too. And surprisingly how you too feel not much older than your kids :)

        Music, Donald duck, and many other things have changed, it's nicely shown in that Donald Duck that it was meant to educate to show one a higher purpose. Thats gone today. Here is another that Disney never released.

        Instead if you look on youtube you see mashups, where people apply their own beat to the visuals and there is the rub, you see they are not creating, they are just copying. Ask yourself how much music today is sampled, again the same principle. It just puts a different beat onto the same melody. It's why a lot of "commercial" music really sounds the same, no matter if it's Rehanna, Beyonce, Gaga et all. They have become due to commercialization, interchangeable. They have lost what it means to be an 'artist' and to create because of the demands of the music industry itself - the profit motive. It's also why lyrics are not as important in that kind of music as they once were. Commercialism wrongly assumes $ = connection.

        Yet the billboard top music of all time -what do you notice? The most popular is not work of today but work of yesteryear, where the artist was writing the song that communicated a feeling an expression, something about society, possibly the problems and where it was headed, or the dreams and aspirations of people. As mentioned before are not the end goal, rather they are expressions of an end goal - to connect.

        It's still why today people stop when a musician plays on the street or at a small concert, it's the connection.

        In someways its that to that helps you keep intouch and experience in a new ways, all different things, and it's what children want (nay all of us), it's why they run to mama show what they've done. Connection.
  • May 16 2013: personally i couldn't stand it, i need peace to think.
    • May 16 2013: A valid argument and totally understandable, Ben,
      Debussy himself said, "Music is the space between the notes".
      • May 17 2013: thank you i'm glad someone does. usually people don't appreciate being asked to stop their music so others can have peace. personally never found it difficult to wear wireless headphones, just a common courtesy i always thought.
        • May 17 2013: There is nothing worse than invading someone else's personal space, regardless of how. I find music thrust upon me a form of sound pollution, much like in Tify's comment above. It IS in our faces, which can be annoying and even damaging.

          I'm the type of person who will get in the car and drive to wherever they are playing music at an absurd volume, to ask them to turn it down. This has nothing to do with love for music, but with respect for each other.

          You clearly feel that music is something personal, which it is to me too. Extremely, in fact. It took me years before I felt I could sing or make music for anyone but myself. The beauty of music is that it is so personal.
      • May 17 2013: well you have a lot of respect from me for that! a lot of people have difficulty comprehending that concept, of denying another person's freedom by exercising their own.

        i'm not sure about personal music. i'm not very knowledgeable at all about music, but it does seem to be to be both very personal and completely impersonal at the same time. it's written and played to a general audience, and is personal only to the writer, yet that then leaves people to make of it what they will, which is very individual and personal. when people say things like "wow this song really speaks to me", it really doesn't, but the listener can find some sense of themselves in a song written by someone who has never known them.
        • May 18 2013: You have a good point, Ben.

          To illustrate this, I would argue there are two types of music in general:
          1. music as a product
          2. music as a form of expression

          For the 1st, the end product is more important than the process.

          When i comes to the 2nd, the process is what counts, not the product.

          Naturally, some kinds of music are both these things, and more. But I agree, I think there is music that is specifically designed to sell, and you can indeed question how much personality/expression/emotion/blood-sweat-and-tears goes into it on the part of the artist.
      • May 18 2013: oh i wouldn't even regard #1 as music!

        i mean there is a personal connection between an artist and their music, and the audience and the music, but none between artist and audience.
        • May 18 2013: As much as that type of music doesn't appeal to me either, I could never not consider it 'music'. But, consider our musical history - folks used to think certain classical composers were nuts, similar to how rock 'n' roll was perceived by the older generation in the 50's.
          Most composers back then were commissioned to make music, some of the most well-known and admired classical pieces were 'products'...

          That is what makes music so personal - sometimes, you love it or you hate it. But it's all music, whether you want it to be, or not!
      • May 18 2013: that's a good point i'd forgotten about commissioned pieces. still at least it was meant to be heard rather than consumed, and it was written rather than generated.
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    May 16 2013: I also just realized that some children's books have been set to music.
    For example, Maurice Sendak's Pierre.
    Carol King made a record with various books by Sendak.
    Here is a link to of my favorite read aloud books, because it teaches a moral lesson.
    • May 16 2013: Indeed! I love Pierre!!
      I am hoping one day to write a children's book, that can be sung as well as read...
      (I have too many ideas!)
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        May 16 2013: Start soon Lizanne, don't wait and wait.....get something down in writing....ideas have a way of going away, and then you can't remember them.

        Put me on the list of early reviewers when you get ready to release the book :)

        Mary ♪♫
        • May 16 2013: You're probably right, Mary!
          I do have the whole concept down, and have sent it to publishers - unfortunately, no takers as of yet...! I may have to rethink it a bit, steer it more in this direction, based on what I've learned from this convo!
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    May 16 2013: My daughter told me one day she was, "made to sing." And she does. She sings with all her might. I love to listen to it.
    • May 16 2013: Oh, that is beautiful, Della!
      We sing bedtime songs, when the kids are all tucked in. We all make up a little tune, doesn't matter what happens, as long as they feel free to experiment with pitch! They are the best, about dinosaurs or giants, or fairies or feelings.
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    May 15 2013: Have you seen the video by Alicia Keys.....Girl on Fire?

    It is all about a mom who's feet are planted on the 'ground'.
    Watch how music (rhythm and beat and movement....even in the kitchen) is used throughout the video...

    The other day one of the kids was passing by the kitchen where I was toasting a piece of bread.....and it was burning.
    So I hear singing, to the melody of "Girl on Fire".........I hear..........."This bread is on Firrrrrrrrree"

    I laughed so hard.....the bread was spared from burning. Thank goodness.
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        May 15 2013: Oh yeah....of course it was me.....I am always inspiring comedians to do skits.....(NOT)
        Too funny Chris.
    • May 16 2013: Mary, this is fabulous!!

      Making music and singing can be the BEST for a laugh, absolutely! Tonight our song at bedtime was about a rainbow bird who pooped on the floor. Hilarious. And real, I mean, we all poop. Nothing wrong with that at all. We all deal with burnt toast. Recognizable, familiar, awesome.

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    May 14 2013: Hey, Liz, thanks for conducting such a great conversation. You were asking below if this should be taught in school. I'll say first that I have quite mixed feelings about school. In this world I'm probably most interested in the Maasai people of Kenya, and one of their characteristics is they've rejected school. They live very simply, they all are self-sufficient by herding cattle, and I guess they don't think they need it. In fact, when the Kenyan government tried to force the Maasai to send their children to school, the tribe "rented" children from other tribes & passed them off as Maasai and sent them to school.

    One question I have about your idea is how naturally it comes to people. I keep trying to see how I'd feel if I used a version of your idea everywhere I went. For example, I deal with librarians in public libraries a lot, and it's occurred to me when I approach the reference desk I could sing my question instead of speaking it. But it's like I'd have to get over a big hump to do it, it doesn't immediately come naturally. I think you're asserting that children naturally sing their thoughts and feelings, but when I was a kid I didn't do that, and I don't remember my kid friends doing it either. So I guess my question is, can you give us more evidence that this really comes naturally, or am I misunderstanding you, are you saying it doesn't come naturally, but it can be learned?
    • May 15 2013: Hey Greg!
      My thoughts about implementing this idea in schools, is really as a means to spread the idea. I also have an idea for a TV show (which I hope to pitch to someone some day!), but it's still tricky to bring integrity into television when so much money is concerned... There's of course internet, but whether I can reach the amount of people I'd like to, remains to be seen... I need to go viral! Haha!

      This idea stems from the fact that singing and speech are so closely related.
      We speak melodically, actually using singing techniques like pitch, dynamic and tempo, which is known as "Sprechgesang":
      Here is an interesting article about how our brains process pitch in speech and singing:
      Victor Wooten's talk "Music as a Language" has some great thoughts about how and why music comes naturally to us:

      Singing is something we all CAN do. We are capable of it.
      Whether or not we have been exposed to doing it, or have practiced it, is something else.

      I think, if this is something new for you, the best way to begin is on your own. I think you're right - it would be a bit surprising for a librarian to answer your question, if you were to sing it to her (although, I don't know her, perhaps she'd sing her answer back! Might be worth a try!)

      The point of this idea is to explore what's inside you, and expressing it through singing. By finding a melody and ad-libbing what you feel, words will emerge that are subconsciously linked to emotion.
      A way to kick start it though, could be to take a theme and write down words, emotions, questions, or phrases that you feel have to do with it. Based on these things, find your own melody, or use an existing one, and a tempo that you feel suits it, and just start singing!
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        May 15 2013: Thanks, Lizanne. Well, I certainly think it's an idea that could be presented to children in school. I wonder if we could say that TED conversations is a kind of school, and you are presenting this idea to we children? I would tend to think that it's not as important an idea as reading, writing, and arithmetic, the most basic subjects, but we can certainly add it on. I think we should tell people you don't have to do this all the time, but it's your option if it comes naturally.

        I'm curious why you think improvising musical communication helps you access emotions more than non-musical spoken words. Personally I think a reason to sometimes "speak" in music might be simply that it's a variation on how we communicate, it gets us out of the rut of always speaking non-musically. Also, music has a certain beauty than non-musical speech might not have. Also as we try to create a song on the spot, we might get so lost in the creation that certain feelings might emerge that don't in non-musical speech.
        • May 16 2013: Exactly. It's an option.
          As soon as you 'force' any kind of creative expression on someone, it's going to have an adverse effect!

          Regarding your question, "why you think improvising musical communication helps you access emotions more than non-musical spoken words"...
          I think it really depends on who you are as a person, and what method of expression best suits you. Music allows freedom in notes and silence combined. The act of singing engages a moment of deep self-reflection.
          I think this also depends on whether you're a kid, or an adult. As adults, we have often already found methods of expressing ourselves. Children are still searching, and are dealing with big emotions and questions they can't quite put their finger on, and are imply not yet capable of putting those thoughts into words.

          I've noticed in my experience working with kids, that by allowing them complete freedom to sing how they feel, that as they form the words in song, they allow themselves space to dig deep.
          Kids tell me, it feels less scary to sing about feelings, than to talk about them! Ironic, actually, when you consider that singing is so incredibly personal.
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    May 14 2013: One of my favorite songs because the song teaches you how to draw a cat. Enjoy.
    • May 16 2013: Finally got around to watching this, it is the best! My daughter had to watch it about ten times in a row.
      Inspiring idea, a song about how to make something. Thank you!!
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    May 13 2013: I appreciate your view on music and its potential.
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    May 13 2013: well, one thing I'm doing to try to get more views, Lizanne, is sending an email with a link to my video to different media outlets. Most TV & radio stations & newspapers have webpages with a "contact us" tab, and I would say they more or less want to hear from the public. I never have had a TV, but I do listen to the radio a lot, so I'm slowly sending my idea, with a little explanation & the video link, to different radio shows I listen to. For instance, I listen to Bill Handel on KFI 640 FM some mornings, talk radio, so I sent them an email yesterday with the explanation & link at, an email address I got from the web. Whether they'll do anything with it I don't know, but in fact the worst they can do is not do anything, and who knows, they might do something with it, or even do a lot with it. At the very least it tells them what the public is interested in. You have to figure, KFI is a 24-hour talk radio station, so they have a lot of time to fill, and they need ideas coming in. I've also emailed my idea to the Los Angeles Times, same situation, they have a lot of pages to fill & like stuff coming in. In fact, I send all kinds of ideas to media outlets, when I hear about an interesting news story, I send it, or I send letters to the editor that often get published. With the radio, I often call in to talk radio shows from home & get on the air with different comments & questions, that's pretty exciting especially when it's a national show, although I haven't yet called in this "dancing everywhere" idea. Do you have talk radio over there, here we have a lot of it where the public can call in and get on the air with the host & guests.

    So far I haven't gotten that many views on my video, only five at last check, but I just keep working.

    I suppose the idea is to work as your own publicist, if you're going to make your own music or dance why not be your own publicist?
    • May 13 2013: Absolutely, Greg!
      We live in an age where it is possible to promote yourself! You have your own best interests in mind, and can describe your idea best yourself!
      As long as you can find a healthy balance between self-promotion and creativity, the world really is your stage!
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    May 12 2013: con't....

    And lastly, have you seen this talk by Benjamin Zander:

    And this other by Bobby McFerrin:

    I hope my random information is of some use to you and others.

    Again, wonderful wonderful video......I think many of us educators realize how important music is and how natural it comes to many of us......

    (p.s. my smile is very similar to yours.....what a coinkeedink)
    • May 12 2013: Reply #2...
      Huge thanks for these links, Mary!

      Bobby McFerrin is a hero of mine - he manages to communicate through music and voice, without even using words at all! I can't wait to hear what he has to say, or sing, on the subject!

      Thank you so much for your kind words. Again, I don't think what I have to say is anything new, but I feel it is such a logical thing to integrate into our lives!

      A 15-year-old girl commented on the YouTube page, that she sings every day. (Yay!) She also said, that people think she is 'weird'. Greg mentioned how much he would love to dance in unexpected places, but is hindered by society's tendency to misread or misunderstand the beauty of self-expression.

      How on earth can we tackle this bizarre, misplaced way of thinking?!

      (regarding your P.S. - I would love to see that smile and compare, Mary!!)
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        May 12 2013: Lizanne, I know that when you watch these two TED videos, you will immediately realize why I shared them with you.

        Shiny eyes Lizanne......shiny eyes!!!

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    May 12 2013: Your video is wonderful Lizanne.....

    I have so many different thoughts flying through my much to share, here goes:

    I remember some time back, Edward hosted a conversation based on this video:

    I'm really surprised he hasn't mentioned it here. Perhaps he doesn't remember. Wait until you see it, it is an eye opener.

    Music is a great gift to us. You might say that it can save lives.

    It has well been documented how music has helped individuals who have found themselves in isolation. Singing out loud alone or in groups while you are suffering can help you endure (Think of the slaves in America)
    Music is very powerful.

    The Parkinson's Foundation has a wonderful brochure that explain how music therapy is used to help patient's with Parkinson's Disease rewire their nervous system. In the brochure PD patients are encouraged to sing out loud and learn new songs, and dance. We have community centers all around us that hold these classes weekly, free of charge. The results are incredible.

    Movement and singing in children is so important. We have been known to burst out into song on a whim. I remember when my son was about 2, he got mad and yelled "I don't love you anymore". I looked at him and started to sing,
    I don't love you anymore,
    no no no no
    no no no no
    No not like I did before,
    no no no no
    no no no no.

    That's all it took for him to forget he was mad at me.
    We love to sing, and enjoy changing the words to songs to suit our needs.
    It's a blast............

    You know, one of my favorite kindergarten teachers that is big on singing is Dr. Jean. Have you heard of her.
    She has some wonderful CD's out there.
    Here is a link to one of her songs.
    Your kids will love it.

    [ might not be able to get the beat out of your head once you watch the video]

    Her songs are funny and fun.....I just can't say enough good things about them.

    To be con't......
    • May 12 2013: Reply #1...!
      Mary, how uncanny that you mentioned singing when you're mad! My daughter and I have agreed to do the very same thing - anger, which is a completely normal and natural emotion to feel, needs to be embraced, just like any other feeling. By singing about why she's upset, and why I'm upset, we tend to work out what the root of the problem is. Singing surpasses so many language barriers!

      Thanks so much for the link to Dr. Jean - can't wait to have a listen!
  • May 12 2013: Hi Dear Lizanne Hennessey and greg dahlen:) website is blocked in my place.
    I can open the website: .but those voicecoaching content is disable for me.
    Anyway,I do appreciate you all sharing:)Thanks again.
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      May 13 2013: who is blocking it, ed? Why are they blocking it? You can't even see one video on youtube, wow, that really limits you.

      Lizanne's idea is that we ordinary people, who are not professional singers, can make up songs and sing them out loud in our daily life about the things we are doing as we are doing them. For example, if we are making breakfast, we might sing, out loud "Now I'm cooking the eggs, now the fire is hot, it's going to taste so good, how could it not" you know, just making up the words and the melody on the spot, making them up as we go. Or if we are getting dressed, "Now I'm putting on my shirt, now I'm putting on my pants, watch me do a little dance" you know just making it up right then. Do you get the idea, I'll give you more examples if you like.
      • May 16 2013: Indeed, Greg, but even more importantly, it's about singing how you feel, even more so than about what you're doing. What you're doing is a great starting point, but the trick is to get inside yourself and find that emotion that goes along with it. :-)
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          May 16 2013: Right, thanks for clarifying. In a certain way it's hard to separate how you feel from what you're doing, right?, if you're cooking breakfast and you're happy and relaxed and anticipating that good taste, there's a connection between action and emotion.
      • May 17 2013: Absolutely, the two have everything to do with each other! The key, for this idea anyway, is to connect the two somehow. You've described it already, it's about that anticipation. That's the expressive part.
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      May 13 2013: by the way, ed, don't you live in china? What is music like there?
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    May 11 2013: I heard an advertisement for this event today in Orlando on NPR and thought of you.
    • May 12 2013: What I wouldn't give to be there! Sounds truly interesting, thanks so much for sharing this, Della!

      It reminds me of a documentary I once saw, which was about the effect of music on unborn babies.
      They performed an experiment, in which one pregnant woman played the Backstreet Boys to her belly every day.
      When the baby was born, the experiment continued.
      The baby was crying in its crib.
      The mother put on peaceful, soothing Classical music, but the baby continued to cry.
      Then, she put on the Backstreet Boys, and the baby immediately became peaceful and fell asleep!
      Perhaps this event can shed some light on to why this happened!
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    May 11 2013: by the way, I was looking at your video and I noticed it isn't accumulating many more views even though your conversation is popular on ted. I wonder why, wouldn't you think that if the ted audience is interested in the topic, the world would be?
    • May 11 2013: Interesting observation! Thanks for this supportive comment, Greg.
      I think that comes down to old fashioned self-promotion, which is unfortunately not one of my strengths!!
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    May 11 2013: by the way, what is "Terneuzen"? Do you speak Dutch or whatever? How'd you learn?
    • May 11 2013: Terneuzen is a town in the deep south of Holland.

      Yup, I am fluent in Dutch! I've lived in Holland for over 20 years.
      How I learned? It was not easy!! The Dutch in general have a firm grasp on languages, especially English, so it was a matter of asking everyone I spoke to, if they would please speak in Dutch to me, otherwise I'd never learn it. I managed, and am still improving!
  • May 11 2013: I like and agree with what you are saying. American Idol is un-natural. The kids that go on that show sign a contract that says they will sell their soul in trade for a shot at fame and fortune. Music is a gift offering and we go out on a limb when we ask money for it. We are then at risk of judgement of our gift (product). We commercialize everything in our society. Look at christmas for instance. What a mess it turned out to be. Here is a link to an article that touches on this subject. It is from the perspective of a night-club owner who hires live bands.

    This and American Idol shows the loss of innocence; what I would call prostitution. Our society puts too much emphasis on money. We would all probably like to become millionaires in order to shed the shame of what we are forced to do when making a living. I try to keep my innocence and pride intact.
    • May 11 2013: Hi Greg!
      I appreciate your thoughts on this enormously.

      I feel, there is a big difference between paying for music, and music as a form of competition.

      You said, "Music is a gift offering and we go out on a limb when we ask money for it." As a professional musician, I have to count on people paying for 'my gift'. I also feel that it is a skill, just like any other, that should be rewarded by more than applause and appreciation - those things are important, but they won't pay my bills.

      The truth in the open letter you shared is all to familiar to me, and consequently, I don't play in bars. Not necessarily because I don't want to, but because my particular style of music simply doesn't sell drinks. I appreciate the honesty in this letter, especially his statement: "I have great respect for working musicians and would rather not hire them at all than to short-change them." That to me is a reflection of respect and honesty that I, as a working musician, just don't come across too often.

      I agree wholeheartedly with you, that "We commercialize everything in our society" and that we indeed put too much emphasis on money. Fame and fortune, even just a taste of it, has become our goal. If money were no issue, our livelihoods would probably be very different, indeed. My favorite philosopher, Alan Watts, has some great thoughts on that subject:

      This idea of integrating music into our everyday lives is based on the premise that everyone possesses the ability to make music and sing as a method of self-exploration, which is vital part of our development at any age! What we choose - or are forced - to do to earn a living has nothing to do with it.
      I feel, turning your hobby into your work, is not always beneficial. Making your passion your work, however, is.
  • May 11 2013: Hi Dear Lizanne Hennessey,although I can't access to to watch the video you made:).But I do strongly support your idea:Making music and singing as a tool to set a positive cycle in motion that will encourage respect,communication and experession...Give you five:)cheers!
    • May 11 2013: Hi Edulover!
      Thank you! A virtual high-five back to you!!

      Well that's no good you can't see the video - can you see it here?
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      May 11 2013: ed, why can't you access to youtube?
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        May 12 2013: Chinese gov't won't let it go through.......I think...there was a TEDster on here a few years back who lived in China and mentioned it in one of his comments.
        • May 12 2013: !!!
          Truly shocking.
          I wish you could see it, Ed!!
          Essentially, it is all about what we're talking about here, it's just me going on and on about it for about 15 minutes!
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    May 10 2013: quite wonderful. I had the idea one could choose a day and sing everything, sing when one greets the cashier at the grocery store, when one mounts the bus and greets the busdriver, etc. That'd surprise them.
    I just posted a video about dancing in unusual places. I like to bellydance in bed, rolling my hips and stomachs like a belly dancer. But now I'm dancing out in the world when I'm walking and have to wait for the light to change, I'm dancing on the corner, I'm dancing in line at the grocery.
    The big music stuff is kind of holier-than-thou on your part. Why can't people go for big audiences, different strokes for different folks.
    • May 10 2013: Greg, that is such a great idea - I am inspired to try that!

      I'd love to see your video about dancing in unusual places - sounds to me like they're actually the most usual places, but where no one would expect someone to spontaneously start dancing. I'd love to see it!
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        May 11 2013: yes, I believe you can see it by going to youtube & entering greg dahlen. I would type the address for you, but when I started to type it, ted seems to print the letter "l" (like the first letter in "light") and a capital "I" (like "Italy") the same, so I'm not sure it's going to lead you to the video.
        By the way, L, are you getting email notifications when someone replies to your conversation or comment? I used to get them, which made participating in conversations easier, but for about six weeks I haven't been getting them. I wrote to ted & they said they are having problems with this, but I would think they would have fixed it by now.
        I should say the video I made is only about dancing in bed & chair, not dancing in the world. I have rather sticky feelings about making a video about spontaneously dancing in the world. I was telling my mom about the idea & she was afraid the car drivers who see me dancing on the corner might think I was coming on to them. So I modified my dance, I'm still dancing but not making too much eye contact with the drivers. But I'm a little worried if I made a video it would get flagged & removed or something. Making a video of me dancing in line at the grocery store would be extremely difficult, I would have to get permission from the store and I doubt the store would give permission. So we'll see. For the moment I'll spread the idea by telling people like you.
        • May 11 2013: I will try to find it, Greg!

          You know, I can't help but feel saddened about the restrictions you feel about your dancing in the world. I am familiar with those restrictions, we all are. Dance, art, music - all these forms of expression are the same thing as opening up your soul, which isn't something we are generally conditioned to appreciate. I understand your concern, that "if I made a video it would get flagged & removed or something".
          I would say, if you have something to 'say' through your dance, stand behind it no matter what YouTube does to it. No one, including YouTube, can determine how you express yourself!

          I do get notifications, yes. Sounds like a bug of some kind, hope it gets resolved quickly for you!
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        May 13 2013: Yes, L, well, I feel quite comfortable dancing in the world, and currently do it frequently, it's making the video & posting it that's the issue, well, it's not an issue for me, I'm quite happy to make it & post it, perhaps it's others who might be uncomfortable. But maybe I will look into it, really if I ask permission to have someone film me in a grocery store dancing while waiting in line, the worst the grocery can say is no, you can't make it here.
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        May 13 2013: Whether I make the video or not, I suppose the idea spreads, because thousands of people see me dancing here and there, you know, dancing on the corner whilst waiting for the light to change, and the drivers definitely look, their expressions seem to convey interest and that they are intrigued.

        Did you ever get to look at the video? I'll write the link, maybe it'll work, if not try "Exercising in bed, chair" as the title of the video.
        • May 13 2013: I see what you mean, Greg.
          You're right though, your idea is spreading by you, the carrier, no matter what you do!
          Thanks for the link, I can't wait to see it.
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    May 10 2013: Lesson 1: How to integrate music into everyday life. . .
    • May 10 2013: Edward! This just puts an enormous smile on my face!
      Who doesn't recognize this behavior? I think we all sing more than we know...

      The only bummer was when the guy on the TV said, "Get this guy on The Voice". That made me cringe.
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        May 10 2013: Do you know the song "Willie and the poor boys" (maybe it's called Down on the Corner?) by Creedence Clearwater Revival? It was before your time but give it a listen as Lesson 2.
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        May 12 2013: RE: I'm curious. . ." Lesson no. 3: When you are tasked with teaching 14 or so rather dry, academic facts about the motions at work in our Universe remember to incorporate music into your everyday life. . .
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          May 12 2013: I am always in awe when confronted with the reality of our existence.....this made my eyes well up with tears.
        • May 12 2013: Truly wonderful, Edward!!! Thank you!
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      May 12 2013: Edward, I don't know when I have enjoyed a link more.
      Can't wait to share it with the kids in the morning.
      So very wonderful. Thank you.
  • May 10 2013: I had to share this - Victor Wooten is on the same wave-length, literally!

    His golden tips are:
    - Embrace mistakes! A child playing air guitar, there are no wrong notes
    - Play and perform on a daily basis! Encourage kids to play, not practice - music comes from the musician, not the instrument.
    - A language works best when we have something interesting to say.

    A teacher needs to let a child 'speak' through music, instead of telling them what they are supposed to say.
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    May 9 2013: I found you and now I made the connection. Thank you for reaching out. You are brilliant.

    Yes, music fits right in with sounds and peace, my two favorite subjects often overlooked/ overshadowed in school!

    Music is powerful for memory which is critical for making new connections and learning!
    • May 10 2013: Hi Della!
      So glad you found it! Thank YOU for being here! Your insight will be greatly appreciated!

      I can see this idea working as a sort of supplement in existing (public) schools are around he world, but, I am not a pedagogic expert, or a researcher, or a certified educator.
      I AM an experienced musician, an active parent and a concerned global citizen. I have experience teaching voice and working with children in an extra-curricular capacity, so although I am convinced this idea is worth a shot, I am in the dark as to how to get it from an idea on my computer to an actual working model.

      Pabitra Mukhopadhyay has been offering some extremely helpful insights and suggestions below, which you may already have read. I am extremely curious what your thoughts are on this, especially with your expertise in language and speech, which are so closely related to singing!
  • May 9 2013: Hi all!
    I just want to say how grateful I am for all these comments, personal experiences and insights to this idea of mine...

    Now, I want to ask you - how beneficial would it be to implement this idea into public schools on a global scale?

    Music is universal - this idea can be implemented into any system, in any language.
    People are universal - we all deal with the same emotions every day.

    I have found out about some amazing, inspiring educational programs, including last year's TED prize winner Sugata Mitra's 'school in the cloud':
    which is being developed into SOLE - Self Organized Learning Environments:

    This concept is similar to mine in that it encourages kids to lead the way in finding answers to their big questions.
    My idea, however, focuses on inner questions, emotions, feelings, and in particular, conflict. As much as we would like to avoid potentially negative situations, I am convinced they need our attention!
    Who 'likes' to remember the horrors of the holocaust - but learning from it is essential to our survival.

    By teaching kids in school how to cope with negativity in a positive way through our natural ability to sing and make music can have a positive impact on our society in the future.

    What are your thoughts, fellow TEDsters?
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      May 9 2013: Lizanne,
      I gave your idea a good and hard thought. This is how I see it.
      Integrating music in life is a great idea. I can sense that it is a profound idea, broadly speaking. There is no denying that music affects us in a positive way by bringing joy, happiness, relaxation and de-stressing. There is no denying the fact that it is universal across languages, cultures and countries. So, where other ways of expression do not work, music will work as a connector. Moreover, since it is deeply connected with human evolution, music comes as a natural skill, which can be easily exploited to build interpersonal connections.
      Fine up to this. Then I see few loose ends.
      Music has few parts to it. The tune and meter/rhythm are the most basic parts of music and almost all of us have access to it, whether or not we try to build on those. But music, as we have come to understand it now, has another important part which is lyric. I doubt if we have equal access to its creative process and the artfulness. If what you propose as 'making music' does not include/stress on it, then it's fine but it may not be musically fulfilling. This area need to be thought out carefully.
      Like any other natural skill, music needs encouragement. It's the parents who should provide it first but unfortunately in many cases they don't. Next comes family. Last but not the least is the society that should be free to appreciate the untrained, natural musical expressions of children and people as any natural expression of human emotion like joy or sorrow. This needs quite some deconstruction of the meme of 'perfect', 'presentation class' as only form of music.
      At the level of implementation, whatever structure or regime you may think of should consciously work on these aspects to be successful. What you are proposing, I think, is very different from training people for musical rendition.
      I shall add more when I can get a grip on my thoughts about your proposal.
      • May 9 2013: Thanks so much for your thoughts on this, Pabitra.

        I totally get what you're saying, and for a long time, that is what was hindering me as well. I am a songwriter, but unlike music, the skill of songwriting is not something we're all born with... we can all make up a song about what's happening to us, though.

        The idea, I think would be successful when the children are the ones who come up with the 'song'. The educator would act as the guide.
        I can imagine a session starting with a discussion based on a certain theme determined by the kids themselves. They are also already equipped with everything they need to make up a song, namely:
        - emotions
        - questions
        - achievements
        So once a theme is established, the kids call out words or phrases describing how they feel about that theme, and the educator writes them down for all to see. Based on these words and phrases, a song can be pieced together in the most simple fashion, based on a very basic knowledge of tempo, pitch and dynamic. That would, in my view, be the only thing educators would need any 'training' in, a simple exercise in these three fundamentals of music.

        The whole emphasis is on those three things - respect, communication and expression, not execution.

        I'm curious about anything else you may have to contribute on this!
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          May 10 2013: Ok, here is the next instalment :)
          At the level of implementation your model will need at least three aspects covered.
          1. Scalability - The model should work across groups of varrying numbers, ages, maturity.
          2. Repeatability - The model should work repeatedly with almost same level of accomplishment.
          3. Measurability - The model should have some kind of measuring technique that will help the educator assess the progress of a participant.

          More when I can come up with other points. :)
      • May 10 2013: Pabitra, thank you so much! These points, and others you've contributed, will be invaluable in making this concept work!

        I can already see where I will need more help - I am someone who is intuitive, creative and passionate, but lack the expertise when it comes to the more rational sides of this idea - educational implementation, pedagogy, research...!

        Anything you can come up with (as long as it's not taking you away from your own priorities) is incredibly welcome, my friend!
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          May 10 2013: Of course you will need help, Lizanne ! But most important that the idea is yours and you will have to decide how you will want to implement it. Please don't get put off by technical sounding words, they are just the necessary hardship of bringing your idea from abstraction to something tangible.
          To organize yourself better, I think you should give the idea some time and live with it. I can notice that you are already seeing it to take place in imagination and and your mind filling up details. I would like to tell you it is not fanciful thinking, it is a real, functional way of getting hold of the idea and make it work.
          Please relax and get the idea under your skin. Then divide yourself into two, Lizanne 1 and Lizanne 2. Ascribe roles to them like Lizanne 1 being the active and Lizanne 2 the skeptic.

          Any contribution that you receive here, including the ones from me, are so because your idea deserved it.
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    May 8 2013: like wise it makes my day to see the grand awakening to music coming into its own again. keep singing . . and likewise, sharing your insights. . . flower power to the people of all ages. . . bringing out peoples spontaneity and playfulness. .
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    May 8 2013: Love all that's being shared on this thread alone. make my day, and its only just begun. WoW, this the second time, on this thread alone, at posting the link first as an awesome example of using songs, and hip hop in this case and then reading this thread. The cosmic winks, also known as synchronicityes are showering us with lightbulb MOMends, as I will purrceive your IDeals Lizanne, while eye consider a a shower of lightbulb MOMends, as fAIRy dust. . . . love being creative with words, so many treasures are hiding within and we've never thought to pick up on since. . this is the correct way. . .
    when you speak of Anarchy Bogdan, it has the same ring as speaking of Spirituality. Anarchy being political and spirituality the religious version of the same IDeal.
    the whole of creation is a happen and stem from within. . Love, that you speak both ENGlish and Dutch since the MISSing links are left in Dutch. Tip of the ice berg, or ratHer, the WhitE BUFFaLo calf, crack off land, make big Splash and rides out to sea in all her MaJestY, a rose in dawn's early light, lest a menAce in the fog and sharp enough to sink the Titanic, as it heads down to the Grand Banks of New FoundLand for a meltdown. So with stem speaking of both VOICE and VOTE in dutch, our spokes pick up on the rhythms and rites seeing nature at work and do all, with the greatest of ease. .
    Bogdan, love how your focus is on travel the world. . and with it, the peoples rivers of babble on continue to dyeVers'ifY with use , there are many overlaps as well as bring our UnIqueKIness out.
    Colleen, much as Ted and Chris has so aptly spoke of connecting and spreading the knowledge, what has near gone unnoticed is how the instant translations are becoming available to one and all. This to me is as grand a step in connecting the human communityes or the global village. we are, at the emBryONic state of stemcells connecting intoo bodyes of knowledge and insights of the where, who and how we are. aLOeVEra coming up.
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    May 7 2013: For anybody who wants to delve deeper into why Lizanne's idea is on a right track, even from a purely scientific way, I recommend the book 'The Origin of Music'.
    Here is the google book link to have a preview.
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    May 7 2013: Lizanne, I have very much enjoyed your talk. it is very insightful and I'd be your biggest fan.
    My daughter used to share "why can't they teach us what they want us to know, with a song, I remember them all, While when start talking, it lost on me. Its been with me ever since. More than any, for having music instill a happy whole some sense of self in each and every one. IT is about who gets to the children first. have you watched Patricia Kuhl's talk on the Linguistic skills of babyes? awe inspiring as to just who we are dealing with.
    we can either narrow their focus down. . or ask. . how can we open their mind's to dsign language and gardening for instance. learning to read body language. I have just been posting. . since it is spring, planting time and totally believe that music has plants release their scents. . . which carry the plants scentimendicinal components and propertyes. They inhale our exhale, vacuum it of our exhaust and take it back up to par. Nature doctoring us at its finest. by the plants which grow in our own gardens. I've twice had the star gazer, release its bouquet of scents to the sound of paul McCarty singing hey Jude. The flowers welcome us into th garden, instantly we revert back to deep breathing. our time is not, the whole world ought be focused on keeping its children happen. none deserve being born in war as once I was. it time to mind our manners. schools be an open smorgasbord for them, through puzzles, games, music dance and song, hone their intuits and insights. Or, on following up on my daughter's thoughts, like every cell of our being knows enough to play its part within the whole of our being. each of being the sum of its parts, have like wise enough mind to follow up on their interests. by the way. Did find a message in a bottle once it read of Music being the universal language, couldn't help but add, of which laughter is the nicest
    • May 7 2013: Thanks so much for your thoughts on this, Renessa.
      Your daughter is spot-on! Did you read Pabitra's contribution below, that he made up a song to learn the talbe of elements? Music gets under our skin - sometimes whether we like it or not (we all know what it's like to have a song stuck in our heads, even one we don't like!)

      I love how you connect music with nature - I also think the two are linked, especially considering we are products of nature ourselves.

      Thanks for the link - haven't seen that one yet, going to look right now!
    • May 7 2013: I just saw Patricia's presentation - truly fascinating and informative! Her studies confirm a lot of what I already knew about bilingualism (my children are bilingual) and has shed new light on the subject of how our brains process information and set other areas in motion by causality.
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    May 6 2013: Not sure how singing helps reduce violent crime and world hunger. It's easier to focus on singing when you have everything you need. Some families aren't as lucky.
    • May 6 2013: Hi Henry,
      Indeed, there is certainly not always music in every family. I am well aware of this and know we are an exception, especially when my children's friends come over to play. Most of them had never seen a guitar in real life before they came to our house. There is not always space for creativity and creative expression.

      This idea is based on the idea that music is nothing more than a collection of sounds, and that you really don't need anything to engage in singing and making music.

      This idea starts with children, who don't need a lot to begin with. I know, when my kids get a new toy, they tend to have more fun with the box it came in than the toy itself.

      I think the idea is to see music and singing as a tool to express, to learn about yourself and apply that knowledge to others. This is by no means a solution to conquer the negative forces in our world! It may just encourage people to pay more attention to each other having built up a strong sense of self-respect and empathy through music.

      Kids often sing and make music in school. There is music on children's television. It's pretty hard for a kid to go through childhood without hearing any music, or picking up any music. I see this idea as a sort of educational supplement, a way of utilizing a natural ability.
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      May 9 2013: Many a "savage breast" has been calmed by music. Do you feel we should focus exclusively on directly impacting world hunger and violent crime? That excludes many beneficial, even essential, activities. Lots of Folk music was, and is, born in poverty and hunger. Singing and making music makes the heart glad! Try it Henry, here we go. . . "Doe a deer, a female deer , ray a drop of golden sun, me a name I call myself, far a long long way to run. . ." don't you feel better now?
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        May 9 2013: No I am still without a job and one step from being homeless. Music may be the product of sorrow, but it is not a remedy for the same.
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          May 9 2013: I did not intend to make light of hardship. Please forgive me Henry. The point I failed to make is that music is not just for the wealthy, healthy, happy folks of the world. Music does have a soothing effect and can chase troubles away for a while at least. No surrender. I, and those who share my faith and read your touching comment will pray for you in an effort to share your burden.
        • May 9 2013: Henry, I totally get what you mean.
          Even though it has been scientifically shown that singing produces endorphines (the very remedy for sorrow?)

          that fact alone is not going to make you want to burst into song.
          The benefits of making music are definitely abundant, but one still has to be 'in the mood'.

          As far as singing and making music being the answer to our world's most horrific aspects...please. Obviously, a song won't drive the negative forces of destruction away or make them disappear.
          But what it can do, of that I'm convinced, is provide a way to gain a deeper understanding of what is going in within us and around us. It's about empathy.
  • 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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