Andrew Lang - The Wednesday 1-2-3

Do you miss singing in public? (The Wednesday 1-2-3)

Published 5 days ago • 2 min read

Happy Wednesday Reader!

Growing up in a church setting, music was always present in my childhood.

Every Sunday, I would hear three or four hymns bellowed out (or timidly half-sung) by a group of choir members and folks in the pews. And while the conservative theology undergirding many of these songs seemed strangely ignored by those selecting the music, the act of communal singing, if not always the quality, was a beautiful thing.

And rare.

I'm sure you've noticed, but there really aren’t that many spaces or moments in our society where collective singing is “accepted,” let alone centered.

I can only think of a few:

  • karaoke,
  • concerts,
  • music festivals,
  • birthdays (for one song),
  • elementary school “carpet time,” and
  • the 7th inning stretch at baseball games.

For those of us who have left the church (and other religious spaces), there can be a grief to this loss of collective music – not because we’re all “music lovers” or great singers, but because music can be such a powerful force for connection and beauty in our lives.

Aldous Huxley once wrote, “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”

A few years back, during a season of feeling this particular loss and noticing how specific songs would bring up old memories and under-processed emotions, I started using music to help me explore my interior life.

And while it isn’t nearly the same as communal singing – far from it, in fact – here’s one of my favorite practices for including music in inner work:

Practice: Music Journaling

  1. With an open journal in front of you, open your Liked Songs playlist on Spotify and hit shuffle. (You can do this with any music streaming service.)
  2. Close your eyes and listen to whatever song comes on. If any memories or immediate images/emotions come up in the first 30 seconds, quickly write them down. Then, click to the next song.
  3. Do this over and over again until you have a list of ten (or so) songs that have specific connections for you. You might find, like I did, that some connections are more potent than others. For me, some songs and connections had hefty emotional weight attached while others were just little associations.
  4. Pick one or two connections you’ve found and “texture” them: What is the weight of the memory or connection? What people in your life are connected to this song? What is your body’s response to this hearing this song? What emotions are present in you when you hear this song? What other connections or memories are attached to this one?

If you want to see an example, I shared some of my songs in an Instagram post last year here.

❓ Questions

  1. Which songs have deep connections for you? Do the connections you've identified appear to be clustered in one period of your life or are they dispersed throughout?
  2. What is your current relationship with collective singing? How does it show up in your life?

🧰 Resources

🧩 Community Question

If you have a quick moment, I’d love to hear from folks:

What is one song that has a deep connection for you?

(I'm asking this both to hear your stories and also to add new music to my playlist. Full disclosure 😊)

⏪ If you missed last week's email:

I shared a practice I use while parenting in high-stress situations.

Hope all is well-enough with you,


IG: @andrewglang

Andrew Lang - The Wednesday 1-2-3

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