Whistling and singing for joy

Have you ever heard someone singing or whistling away to themselves and thought that it sounded just terrible? Some folks seem to think that they have an obligation inform their non-musical companions that their singing is woeful, with suggestions not to give up their day job (as a singing career is out of the question!). Whilst listening to bad quality music must be a form of pain to those who are more musically talented, there is another side to “casual singers” which I think is very often missed.

As a child, my father had a woodworking workshop downstairs from my bedroom. Each night, after I had gone to bed and it was quiet, I would hear him singing or whistling as he worked on his latest project. The sound was so happy and contented, and whilst his repertoire was not very broad, I loved it. When your dad is singing, there isn’t much for a child to worry about.

My dad loves Gilbert and Sullivan opera music and these were the tunes he taught me as I fell asleep. I still love their music and listen to it frequently; enjoying the memories it brings back.

I believe that people sing and whistle when they are deeply content and happy. They may not sing very well, but that does not matter a jot. Sadly, I think that very few people sing (when they are not in a group) anymore – there is too much chance of someone teasing about the quality of the singing or the singer being off key. This has the effect of immediately killing the enjoyment and replacing it with embarrassment.

Next time you hear someone singing or whistling to themselves, stop and listen. Not to the notes (that may be flat), or the words (that may be wrong), but to the sound of someone totally at peace with their world. You never know, it may be contagious and leave you also feeling good!

And when you are tempted to tease someone about the quality of their singing, stop and think first. You may well be spoiling something that nowadays is I think is rare and should be treasured – total content and happiness.

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