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Dream Song

Dear Friend


Dream Song
Enter May - month of merrymaking, maypoles and magic - with swathes of billowing blossom and gorgeous greenery. The abundance of natural beauty and lengthening days brings an expansive sense of possibility, encouraging us to dream big and bold. Following that imperative, I'm launching out with a new DreamChoir workshop and encourage you to dream your songs and sing your dreams this May....

Singing Dreams, Dreaming Songs
We are the music makers
And we are the dreamers of dreams
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams; -
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems. - Ode - Arthur O'Shaughnessy

A song begins with a dream - with a whisper of a feeling, a longing in the heart, a burst of colour in the mind - and from there it begins to manifest through rising and falling waves of pitch, twisting lyrical pathways and rhythmic pulsations. Dreaming brings a song into being - which is why we need to cultivate a creative state of alert relaxation to sing freely. As we focus on our present moment awareness of breath, melody, lyric and rhythm, concerns and worries are dispelled and soothed. This is one of the reasons singing enhances mental wellbeing and can alleviate symptoms of anxiety or depression, as we discussed this week at a special singing session for #DepressionAwarenessWeek with Friends in Need.

Activating Dreams
The inexpressible depth of music, so easy to understand and yet so inexplicable, is due to the fact that it reproduces all the emotions of our innermost being, but entirely without reality and remote from its pain...Music expresses only the quintessence of life and of its events, never these themselves. - Oliver Sack, Musicophilia
A song will persist as an earworm until we pay attention to it - whether its the lyrics of a song that are relevant to our current situation or a strain of melody that resonates with a feeling or mood we are experiencing. Songs speak directly to our subconscious, to the part of us that dreams - hence they can catalyse powerful releases of emotion - love, loss and longing. Songs conjure up visions - from the colours connected with musical tone by those with synaesthesia to triggers of memory for those with dementia which I witness in Bedside Singing Sessions at Mayday Hospital. Songs activate and reconnect every level of awareness, whilst remaining abstract, dreamlike and essential.

Photos: With Gill Manly at South London Jazz & Blues Club; on Croydon Radio photos by Fluid4Sight
Realising Dreams
Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.  - Earl Nightingale 
In my work I often hear people talk of their longing to sing and many sad tales of how these dreams were squashed by the cruel or clumsy comments of early teachers and caregivers. I hear their admiration and envy of those who appear to sing effortlessly and freely. In this state of grief, singing can appear to be a far-off state, a dream place that is unobtainable and available only to a chosen few. Realising that singing is actually an inherently natural state - every cell in our body has a vibration - and that it can can be accessed with practice and patience brings dreams into reality. The song we seek is not just seeking us - it's within us already, waiting for us to pay attention, tune out distractions and tune in to our inner soundscapes.

Dreaming Destiny
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams - Eleanor Roosevelt
Dreams can appear to be fragile, delicate, otherworldly - yet they have the power to transform our perspective on life and in doing so influence our actions and behaviours. Allowing ourselves to receive and enjoy the beauty of singing enables dreams to come true - we breathe more deeply, stand a little taller, think more clearly and express ourselves more fully when we do. As we dream and sing, sing and dream, our world and the world around us becomes more beautiful.

Wishing you a Magical May