This week I held my first grandchild, little Naomi, in my arms for the first time. As I wept tears of joy, I sang a song of thanks to our Heavenly Father for His beautiful creation. Robin and I are so proud of our son Isaac and his lovely wife Chuana. And they of course are thrilled, if very tired, to be parents.

Last week as I sang with my siblings around the piano for the first time in 9 years, along with other family members and friends, it was an incredibly special moment too. We’d come together from various countries for our nephew’s wedding.

And casting my mind back to when my father died, I remember how we sang a hymn I had always loved, but never knew before that time that it was Dad’s favourite too.

If you think about the special transitions in life: birth, marriage and death, music takes a special place to help us express our emotions and the deepest feelings we have, whatever they may be.


Have you ever noticed that some things can be said in a song that you wouldn’t say without the music? This could apply to words of love, but I have also heard negative lyrics in a song that would come across very differently if spoken directly to someone’s face without the music.

When I was studying ethnomusicology it came up that there was a culture where music was used to express displeasure about a particular sin done in the community, but sung so that the harshness of the words were softened in a way through the music used to convey the message.

Songs are used around the world in a huge variety of styles to express delight or displeasure, to teach and inform, to rebuke or challenge the status quo in a community.

All this to say there is power in song that we often underestimate. I have noticed that some of my young pianists are reluctant to sing along to their piano pieces at first. But it is so good for their development as a musician that I keep encouraging them to get in the habit of it. Even in a simple first year piece I see a huge difference in the way the notes are played when they sing them. The music immediately goes from becoming a collection of notes to becoming a melody and the words of the song help to make that link. Singing helps you play the piece a little more from your heart. Besides, singing releases endorphins, so it will lift your mood as well.


Whatever instrument you are playing this week, can I encourage you to sing along with it too in some way regardless of whether you think you can or not.  Okay, that’s tricky for wind instruments, but a person playing a wind instrument will obviously play with some of the sensations of singing anyway. Even so, singing a phrase then playing it may still make it flow better. Let me know if you notice the difference. 

When you are helping your child with their piano practice, come alongside and sing along with the lyrics if there are some. It will bring the music to life and be part of bonding with your child too. Their piano playing becomes less of a task to get done and more of a wonderful thing to do together. (I’d love to hear from you if you try this and notice the difference in some way.)


This is such a big subject that I hope to cover it more in future blogs. But for now, itโ€™s a time to sing! And I look forward to the day when little Naomi and I will sing together. 

14 thoughts on “A Time to Sing

  1. When I took lessons for guitar while living in Germany, my teacher would accompany me on his guitar and always ask that we sing. He managed to hunt out some Maori songs and then others in German. It touched my heart much more when we sung rather than just playing together and it improved my German too!
    Congratulations on your precious wee granddaughter! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Ethne Fergusson says:

    Congratulations Gran. A wonderful photo of a new Gran and such a beautiful looking baby…can see the McKenzie look. I know from experience you will have many opportunities to sing with Naomi. Driving to school was always a way to set the mood for the day…..incorporating horn sounds when there was no oncoming traffic!
    One thing about singing you can sing anywhere. Last week I sang in the cathedral cave at Waitomo…with a few other brave souls. It was lovely.
    Love to you all.

  3. What better inspiration for a blog than a grandchild – and your first. She will love this when sheโ€™s older. Big congratulations from John and I. Welcome to the grandparent club!

  4. Many congratulations, Delwyn! And I do agree that singing is a great way to celebrate and mourn as it comes from and goes deep into our spirit.

  5. Absolutely precious photo! Every blessing to the new father and mother…and to the new grandparents! Just can’t believe where the years have gone! When I first met you, you and Robin had no children and now you are grandparents! Sending love…

  6. This makes me so happy! It resonates for obvious reasons ๐Ÿ˜‰ but also, I completely agree with everything you said regarding the ‘power’ of singing – I admit to being a bit biased on this point though! Much love x

  7. Nancy Peckham says:

    When each of our 5 (so far) grand kids were born, we began singing to them and teaching them an Indonesian worship song. Our first one is also named Naomi. We taught her the song called Alangkah Bahagiannya, a song frequently sung in North Sulawesi based on Ps. 133 because Naomi means pleasant. She learned it well, in both Indonesian and English, along with her parents. Last summer when we went to a NT dedication in Manado and stayed in Tomohon, she got to hear it sung by the people there for the first time, and of course joined in. She will turn 8 years old on 12/12. Our other grand kids we haven’t been so diligent with.

    Music feeds my soul and releases my emotions. And of course, my favorite accompanist will always be you, Delwyn!


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