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Music

Brian Eno explains the beautiful benefits of singing

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Brian Eno describes himself as a “non-musician”, which is a curious description for someone so entrenched in production and sound art. However, it’s just one of the many ways Eno describes himself in his book A Year with Swollen Appendices, labelling himself a “non-driver”, among other things.

However, being a “non-musician” doesn’t mean that you aren’t a singer in some capacity, even just for the fun of it, and it seems that Eno would agree with that sentiment, even just in the personal sense.

About his affinity for singing, Eno says: “I believe in singing. I believe in singing together”. The composer and record producer then goes on to say that singing can bring “a good figure, a stable temperament, increased intelligence, new friends, super self-confidence, heightened sexual attractiveness and a better sense of humour. [It offers the ability to] use your lungs in a way that you probably don’t for the rest of your day, breathing deeply and openly.” 

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The way in which Eno describes singing is not unlike how plenty of people view meditation. It involves breath, focus, and can have a variety of health and life benefits. He also says that singing can help you “learn how to subsume yourself into a group consciousness,” which is something many people find with meditation. Eno continues to say that singing brings “a sense of levity and contentedness”. 

The ambient music master seems to feel exceptionally strongly about the core themes and emotions that music can generate, as he says: “If I were asked to redesign the British educational system, I would start by insisting that group singing become a central part of the daily routine. I believe it builds character and, more than anything else, encourages a taste for co-operation with others.” This attitude actually isn’t too far off from the views of plenty of educators themselves, most of whom see the value in encouraging arts programs and mindfulness in schools. Even if it isn’t specifically about singing, the attitude is still there, and that’s arguably the most important thing.

All this talk, though, has got to make at least some people curious to hear his singing voice if they haven’t already. If you’ve only known Eno as a producer and ambient musician and you want to take a listen to his earlier albums where his singing voice really shines, you can hear his voice down below.

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