Everyone Can Sing!

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The voice and its functions are very natural to us. One of the very first things we probably ever did upon arrival was take a breath and wail. This very natural and almost automatic function is one we actually never need to consciously create. It happens. We breathe. We make noises with our throat. We talk. So, how has singing become a kind of issue for many people? I’m sure all of you have said or heard said, “I can’t sing”.  Do you have this running in your head?

WARNING: This is the number one killer of vocal ability.

I have worked with many adults who were told this as a child. They still distinctly remember being in choir and the teacher telling them to shush, or their dad telling them they can’t sing. Moments like these can stay locked in someone’s mind for their whole life, stopping them from singing another note ever again.

I remember being at a party once and chatting to someone, who upon hearing I was a singing teacher, proceeded to tell me he was tone deaf and couldn’t sing a note. I told him I could prove the opposite in just a few minutes. I sang him a note and asked him to sing me back the same note giving him a little bit of guidance of how to hear the note. He sang me back the note in perfect pitch. Assuming it must have been a fluke, he asked me to sing more notes to test him. I sang more and he copied each one back perfectly. So he and all those watching witnessed an undoing of this apparent ‘truth’ that he was ‘tone deaf’.

This ‘truth’ that people carry around like “I can’t sing” or “I’m tone deaf”, is often the very thing that has them sing out of tune. Not only do your cells respond to your command, but on a practical level, if you start to sing with a negative viewpoint of what’s about to occur, you are probably not going to be relaxed and open in the body. Being relaxed, trusting the voice and being open (standing up straight, relaxing the face muscles and belly) are all you really need to get your voice working again.

For those of you who believe you cannot sing, try this:

Find something you’d love to sing. Sit / stand up straight and look out or slightly up. Relax your muscles and breathe. Try and let go of or at least do not agree with any negative thoughts that come into your head. (They are not true and are only based upon the past.) Maybe try putting a little smile on your face to relax the jaw and lips. Sing the words with extra diction (pronounce them very clearly) and when you are reaching for a high note, raise the eyebrows up to lift your face. This engages the face and gives your sound a huge boost.

Let your tummy hang out. When you breathe in you want to see the tummy go out instead of in. This allows the breath to be taken naturally. If you have trouble with this try lying on the floor and really relaxing the belly. If you do not let the tummy go it will not work, so let it all hang out! Sing at a low to moderate volume as pushing the voice results in force being used. Effortlessness is ideal.

Last but not least, be kind to you and your voice. If you don’t ‘get it’ straight away, it’s no problem. Keep singing around the house or wherever you are, and gently allow your voice to come through. It will, if you are patient and allowing.

So, go well and enjoy singing again!