8SINGING: THE POWER AND THE PLEASURE

If you cannot teach me to fly, teach me to sing.

—Sir James Matthew Barrie

In all my travels around the world, I have never met anyone who didn’t want to sing. Sometimes people tell me: “Unfortunately, I’m ‘tone deaf,’” or “I’m afraid to sing.” Even so, everyone says, “If I had the chance, I would love to sing.” The good news is that everyone can sing—and, with practice, sing well. We are born with this ability. In fact, singing is so intrinsically human that newborn infants will often hum as they nurse. They express their joy and satisfaction in the most fundamental way possible. Singing is not an outgrowth of speech as you might imagine; it actually uses distinct neural pathways. This is why our expressions ...

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