So You Think You Can't Sing?

As an experienced and seasoned musician and vocal instructor, I have encountered many people over the years who, when I enquire about their vocal abilities, always tell me the same thing - "Me sing, are you kidding me? I couldn't sing my way out of a paper bag!" or similar self deprecating statements.

When I dig deeper, I usually find that someone other than themselves, has been negative towards them about their singing. This person, by constantly informing them that they cannot and should not sing, has successfully brainwashed these unfortunates into believing that they have absolutely no vocal ability whatsoever, and should never even try singing if they wish to avoid the embarrassment of quickly emptying a room!

I suppose that these well-meaning but misguided individuals think that they are speaking to the best interests of the wannabe singer to whom we shall give the fictional name 'Deanna', but in reality the opposite maybe true.

Firstly, Deanna may well have a hearing problem that could be corrected. Secondly, Deanna may need some specialized vocal training to help her with her singing voice. Thirdly, although most singers have a natural ability to connect a sound with their voice correctly, there are some people to whom this does not come naturally. In fact, they need to be taught how to make that sound to voice connection.

Without wishing to sound boastful, I have had some degree of success through my long years of teaching, with people who swore that they could not sing. I remember one student, a middle-aged man, who came to me desperate to sing for his granddaughter but, as per usual, his family and friends all discouraged him from even trying. I worked with him for a year, and admittedly when he first began he could only consistently sing one note (yes the same note each time). However, patience is a virtue, and after 12 months of exercises and rebuilding his self esteem, he could actually sing a simple folk song with piano accompaniment.

Now he was just one of many so-called non singers who discovered to their surprise and delight, that they could in fact sing. With patience, consistency and diligence, virtually anyone can sing. Of course some people sing better than others just as some people are better drivers or swimmers than others.

And so I am making a plea to all out there who think that telling someone he or she cannot sing is somehow doing them a favor, I would like you folks to rethink your strategy. Instead of destroying any self confidence a wannabe singer may have, simply suggest that before they go any further, they should maybe take some singing lessons with a caring teacher in order to maximize their abilities. This way, their delicate sensibilities will not be affected, and who knows, they could be an amazing singer!


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