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COVID: Following Lockdowns, People Are Afraid To Sing Publicly

As per the founder of Only Boys Aloud, a generation of musicians might have lost in lockdown because people were afraid to sing again.

Once lockdowns occurred, choirs and music organizations had to slow down or stop like so many other things.

Musical director Timothy Rhys-Evans remarked that “consistent efforts” were essential to get singers up to full speed after their voices had been impacted by time away.

He reported that young people “get off TikTok” and play collectively.

Those who sing and play instruments, like any muscle, must be educated to maintain top shape.

However, when performing with sluggish Zoom calls, masks, and mute buttons, it can be tempting for some to remain neutral.

Mr. Rhys-Evans, who is now the director of music at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD), stated “: “Singers, brass artists, and woodwind players have almost been public enemy number one for the past two years.”

“Making those possible scenarios for us to continue to sing as a community is something my entire musical life has been about, and we were prohibited to do that.”

“As a result, I’m worried about the consequences and what it’ll be like going back to practice.”

“The voice is a muscle, and if you don’t utilize it, it loses its strength and mobility, as well as the enthusiasm that people feel when they sing.”

“I’m optimistic we’ll get through it, but it’s a challenge.”

Although people have found a way to make virtual gatherings work, he said he was “just starting to see folks lose the power to let rip and sing.”

“It’s absolutely such a new breakthrough, and people break into song when they’ve had a few beverages and are watching Wales in the Six Nations.” It happens as naturally to us as breathing, but it will have a consequence when it is taken away.

“I feel the influence on mental health, especially among youngsters who seem to be unable to interact and find not only who they are as singers, but also who they are as people, will be felt for  generations to follow.”

‘Singers need to prepare like sportsmen,’

Classical singer Elin Manahan Thomas, from Swansea, sang at the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding in 2018. 

People were worried about appearing again at all levels, she remarked.

“It may look minor in the bigger picture, but they’ve taken the biggest hit,” she described.

“Singing was the only one to vanish during the epidemic, and it was the last to return back since we had to breathe in order to sing.”

People, she believes, often ignore how physically demanding performance can be.

“It [the sound] involves education in the same way that athletes do – vocalists must sustain their pitches.

“Making that sound and modifying and enhancing it encourages the input of the entire body.

“So it’ll take time for muscle memory to recover, for our breath support to return, and for everyone to get back to where they were.”

Going to come back together has been an “emotional experience” for many choirs and musical ensembles, she added, but many still lacked confidence.

“It’s about discovering out the minor ways to heat up the voices and practice getting the breath support so you can return to where you were and attain that repertoire you’ve been striving for but feel isn’t entirely within your grasp.

“More than anything else, I think singing in a choir is a social activity; it’s about paying more attention to one another because it’s about mix and tuning, and it’s about constructing something as a team that won’t be there quickly.”

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