Singing In Harmony As A Metaphor For Life

I read this article recently and loved the concept that singing in harmony could be a metaphor for how you live your life.  I contacted the author, a very successful singing teacher in England, and he graciously agreed to my posting this article.

When I am singing with my choir each week I will think of this message and be reminded to carry the harmony (and fun) from our choir with me all week.

Reprinted with permission from Chris Rowbury  Photo by William Murphy

Singing in harmonySinging together is known to have many benefits, for both mental and physical well-being.

But if we think about it, singing together is also a wonderful example of how to live a harmonious life. Here’s how singing in harmony can be seen as a metaphor for life.

When we sing together we come as a group of individuals. But we work as a team to create something bigger than ourselves.

We need to put our individuality to one side in order to build something larger (see Singing in a choir – balancing individual freedom with the demands of the team).

singing in harmony

I once met somebody who had no background in music. She thought that “singing in harmony” means “singing the same thing as everyone else”, i.e. unison singing.

The word ‘harmony’ in common usage suggests that. When we talk about a world in harmony we think of everybody on the same page, everybody being similar to everybody else.

But “being in harmony” doesn’t mean that.

It means complementing what others are doing and co-existing in a pleasing way that everyone agrees with, that benefits everyone equally.

When we sing in harmony together we may find ourselves standing next to somebody who is singing something very different from us.

We accept that “something different” as a part of what we are jointly trying to create. We don’t try to change what that person is doing. Neither do we need to change ourselves in order to “fit in”.

We allow our own vocal contribution to exist alongside theirs. We are expressing ourselves, but also realising that we need their contribution in order to complete the arrangement.

a harmonious life

Singing in harmony is about two (or more) people being themselves, but collaborating to create something bigger than both of them.

At the same time as becoming part of a greater whole, the individuals still hold on to their sense of self.

A definition of how to live a harmonious life is to

  • be able to live and work alongside others in our community (or neighbourhood or city or nation).
  • respect differences and the unique contribution that everybody makes.
  • realise that by combining our unique inputs we end up creating something bigger and better than we could as individuals.

All this whilst maintaining a healthy sense of our own selves.

Next time you come home from choir, try to keep that sense of singing in harmony and let it seep into your everyday life. Who knows, together we may create a better world.




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Jenni Proctor

Hi, I'm Jenni Proctor from Boomers Next Step. Remember when the formula for success in life was simply to strive for good marks at school, gain qualifications, get a great job, work hard and save for your retirement? Yes, I believed it too! For years my husband David and I wanted to develop a business that we could operate anywhere in the world, but both of us were educated to be employees.  We had entrepreneurial dreams and ideas, but still had employee mindsets. 14 years ago I took the giant leap!  I left my job in Education to start a business as a Career Counsellor and Coach, helping mature adults transition from one career path to another, and particularly from employment to entrepreneurship.  I had studied long and hard to gain new qualifications but sadly I hadn’t learnt how to market my new business. About 12 years ago we realized that we were not tracking well towards having the sort of retirement we wanted. We’d saved; we’d invested; and like so many other people we’d also lost some money along the way. It didn’t help that my business was not bringing in as much as I had been earning as an employee. Our dreams of extensive travel and helping our family were being replaced by a growing concern that we would outlive our savings. It seemed that a traditional retirement would not allow us to maintain the lifestyle we wanted. I love helping people plan the next phase of their lives, but we realized that was not going to be enough.  We needed a way to create an income stream that would pay for the travel and other lifestyle luxuries we wanted, that would provide mental stimulation, and would interest us both.

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