Let’s Teach the World to Sing

Sometimes I think part of the problems that surround us in the world today is that people don’t sing enough. In the 1800’s and far into the 20th century most families either had a piano or a violin or other string instruments. I remember my grandmother telling stories about when she was a young woman at home, her family had a piano and as part of their hours of leisure, the family would get together and sing songs while one of her family members played the piano. When she married, she found that she married into quite a musically gifted family. As a result, she found herself accompanying her husband and several other of his family members who played various instruments. They would travel from farm to farm playing for what they used to call “barn dances”. So, whenever a certain family wanted to have a celebration, my grandparents would arrive at their farm and provide the musical entertainment. As my mother grew older, she found herself conscripted as an accompanying violinist. I have to admit that I came from a very old fashioned family. When I was very young growing up on the farm, Sunday afternoons were spent with my siblings and parents singing and dancing to various types of music. The hours went quickly and the laughter was contagious. Well all looked forward to those Sunday afternoons. It makes me sad at times to think how so many young families have not experienced the real laughter and camaraderie that takes place when there is a group effort in creating active merriment where everyone takes part and contributes. So many millions of people in the world take a passive approach to music. They plug themselves into their iPods and enter their own little worlds. In truth, I believe this is yet another example of people pulling away from the community that surrounds them. The headlights must be turned on the music departments of the schools as well as the parents to encourage students to stop listening and start creating a world of music that they can share. I have told many of my dear friends that when I retire from my profession, I will start giving voice lessons to tone deaf students. That’s basically telling the world that I’m ready to do anything to get the world to sing.

Joe Chodur

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