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November 16, 2011

“I Am Special” in Kenya

Singing Across Cultures

Recently my friend Daniel Anthony Heath, Director of Contemporary Worship at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, was in Nairobi, Kenya with a missions group. He was working with young children at a local school. He used my music to bridge our cultures. Take a look at the video that was shot one day.

Kenya video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlajFBV6wws&feature=related

Daniel described the experience as life-changing and said, "What better song to use than Thomas Moore's "I am Special" to encourage and affirm our little brothers and sisters in Kenya. I was extremely moved to look every child (all 187 students at the Renguti School - Kenya Africa) and declare that they were special in our eyes (missionaries from Covenant Presbyterian Church), in the eyes of their teachers and caregivers, but most of all in the eyes of God."

If you would like to purchase the "I am Special" CD or the DVD with "I am Special" (Come Sing and Dance With Us) click on this link or go to my website store.

http://drthomasmoore.com/index.php/site/store


 

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October 31, 2011

We Need to Sing More!!

Dr. Thomas Moore, Early Childhood Consultant

"What?" I hear you thinking. "Does this guy know the economy stinks and we can’t seem to agree about anything? What planet is he living on? How can singing possibly matter when the world is so tense?"

The state of the world is exactly why we need to sing more. We must not let fear dominate us. Throughout history, when times have been bad, people have sung to keep themselves going. People sing when there seems to be nothing to hang onto, to have some way to release all that’s inside. Singing is a way to create inner peace from the inside out.

As our nation seems to be so polarized, we need a road we can all travel to connect us again. No matter your politics, singing provides a means for expressing that we’re all Americans. It can lead to dialogue. Dialogue can lead to sound decisions. Singing is a way to be powerful and share power.
I remember the story of how Stan Brookshire, then mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, was invited to a 1968 rally honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s work. Most people didn’t think Mayor Brookshire would come. He did. Then he joined the singing! It was a more emphatic statement of support than anything he could have said.

For the spiritually inclined, singing is a way of calling on the Higher Power. If you aren’t free enough to say, "I’m going to raise my voice, too," then the rest of us have missed a lot. Maybe it’s your voice -- just one extra voice -- that will make the difference and bring forth the spiritual connection we need.

If you feel shy about singing, or think you have an awful voice, you’re not alone. We are accustomed to passively watching performers.  And sadly, many people were told as children that they had “bad voices”.  If someone told you that you have a bad speaking voice, would you stop talking?

The predominant culture of the United States tends to focus on the cognitive, with less emphasis on physical development. Singing is a physical and emotional activity. Think about it. How many times do you touch nonfamily members in the course of the day? How many times would you touch if you lived in Italy or Kenya? Our culture discourages even hugs for friends, let alone friendly pats on the back. I believe this lack of physicality traps and isolates us. Singing invites us to come closer to each other. It invites harmony.

I encourage you to sing in houses of worship, at home with your loved ones, in the car with your children. But don’t stop there. Sing and teach "America the Beautiful" and other patriotic songs. Open PTA or club meetings with inclusive songs that will welcome participants. Try singing at board meetings. Some say it’s unprofessional to sing at a business event. I contend that if you want people to work together, create an opportunity for them to sing.

Singing changes the energy in a room. For a nonprofit board where I was a member, I incorporated song and movement during a meeting. From comments afterward, I learned that the event set a new tone for many board members. After that, members participated more -- listening more attentively and offering more ideas -- because they trusted each other. They loosened up and connected.

Our city and our nation need a stronger sense of community in these nerve-wracking days. Singing is one way to achieve it. I invite you to reclaim the beauty of your singing voice. And the next time I see you, I want to hear it. Let us join hands and sing.

Thomas Moore, Ph.D is a keynote speaker, workshop leader, early childhood consultant, author and children’s recording artist.  He is also Associate Professor of Elementary Education, Child and Family Studies at Benedict College.  Visit him at www.drthomasmoore.com

 

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October 18, 2011

SING TO BUILD TRUST AND COMMUNITY!

Dr. Thomas Moore, Early Childhood Consultant


We need to sing more.


In Charlotte, North Carolina, we have a great deal of community dialogue about bringing people together, bringing races together, building racial trust.  There is no better way to bring people together than by singing!


And this is not just one person’s opinion.  Recent scientific research (University of Ontario) shows that singing increases blood levels of the 'love hormone' oxytocin, which is released during intimacy. "Singing also increases immunity, reduces depression, improves cognitive function and mood, and increases feelings of wellbeing.”

The National Institute for Psychosocial Factors and Health, Stolkholm found in their studies that oxytocin concentrations increased significantly while singing. Groups felt more energetic and relaxed after the singing.


According to Daniel Levitin, author of This is Your Brain on Music, intimacy isn’t the only thing that leads to high levels of oxytocin. What’s the other? Singing, particularly singing with other people, causes the brain to produce unusually high levels of oxytocin. a study at the National Center for Biotechnology Information that lends credibility to this claim: when people sing together, their brains make oxytocin, and that makes them feel trust, solidarity, and connectedness with the people around them.


I lead a group of singers called Tuned In.  We rehearse in the community room of McCreesh Place, an apartment community that houses disabled and formerly homeless men in permanent housing.  Our singers are not only residents, but men and women from all over Charlotte – all walks of life, all races, all neighborhoods – some are government officials.  We build trust and relationships through singing.   We go into the community together, we fellowship together and we learn much from each other.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoiLRBX6ntg


Join us!  Or find a group where you are.  Our communities and our country need for us to come together in a meaningful way.

Thomas Moore, Ph.D is a keynote speaker, workshop leader, early childhood consultant, author and children’s recording artist.  He is Associate Professor Elementary, Child and Family Studies, Benedict College.  Visit him at http://www.drthomasmoore.com
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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