I interviewed people in the park. Have they been told that they can’t sing in the recent or not so recent past? And how has that affected the joy of singing? In other words, has the question “why am I so bad at singing?” affected their singing behavior?
What comes out on my vox pop in the park is:
- Many people have been told negative things about their singing.
- Many people admit – without my asking – that they can’t sing.
To be fair, in this video I left out the people who weren’t told anything bad about their singing. The numbers are as follows:
Of the 33 people I interviewed, 17 recalled receiving negative comments about their singing.
In a poll I conducted on my YouTube channel with hundreds of participants, the number was closer to three quarters.
74% of people received negative comments about their singing
After the interview, I published a survey on my YouTube channel. It pretty much confirms what I found in the park.
The good news is that quite a few people at the park said they don’t care what other people think. They sing even after receiving mean comments about their singing and they love it. I have to say it made me really happy.
It seems possible that the fact that we, as a society, are total jerks and belittle each other for one of the most personal things about ourselves – our voice – might not be as devastating as I thought.
Are most people bad singers?
Do I think that most members of the population are bad singers? No, I will not do that. That’s because I’ve worked with hundreds of students who claimed to be bad, or who were told they were bad but ended up either being good, or who just had vocal problems which they improved and then got better. Or even, God forbid, good.
So this begs the question: Why the needless cruelty and constant labeling call each other bad singers, even though that’s just not true so often?
“In 5th grade, my music teacher told me to stop singing with the rest of the class. That hurt. There are excellent singers and musicians in my family. When I sang with them or in church, I rarely sang out loud. When I’m 65, I’ll be singing out loud. I even tried to get along with my sister. I can at certain times, but she lets me try. Thanks. I will keep trying to improve my singing.”
Commenter on my Youtube channel
You may think I am exaggerating when I speak of cruelty. People shouldn’t be so sensitive, it’s just a joke, right? Well let me tell you something:
My father was described by his music teacher as unmusical when he was 7. Since then it has been known that he cannot sing. It wasn’t until I activated my critical thinking and actually listened to him sing that I realized that wasn’t true at all.
So a large part of a person’s joy and creativity was already destroyed as a child.
I have five spontaneous students who came to me afraid of making any noise.
I would hold their hand, cheer them up and be there for them when they cried, literally cried after they started to feel a little bit more of their own voice. That’s how vulnerable and scared she made her story.
If you do a little research into why that happened, they’ve all heard stories from people telling them they sang badly. than children. Most of these students would not come back after a lesson. That vocal expression and powerful feeling of being able to sing was killed.
When I was young I sang “Queen” to the music in the basement shower, a crazy little thing called “Love”. I wasn’t singing at the top of my lungs or anything. My dad came downstairs, waited for me to finish, and stood at the door, looked me in the face and said, “Hey, who sang that song?” I answered Queen. He replied flatly, “Then let her sing it. You’re awful.” And that’s what kept me from singing around people for the rest of my life, lol.
Rob, commenter on my youtube channel
Another student of mine wanted to be the lead singer of his band. All his life he was told that he was no good. But it’s just that music and singing are his passion.
After a few lessons he called me and told me that he was considering hiring a professional singer for his band because everyone around him told him he couldn’t. I had to persuade him to put aside all those judgments about his singing, at least until he made some progress.
We are both very glad that he followed my advice. Because now he’s great. When I delved deeper, I found that one of the people who told him he couldn’t sing, his mother, had said that she herselfalso as a childfrom her music teacher. In front of the whole class. Do you see where I’m going with this?
Incidentally, this mother met this teacher later in life and reminded her of what she had said and how it had affected her. The teacher was embarrassed and apologized, she had no idea it was so significant.
It was significant. And cruel, even if she didn’t mean it. Happiness, passions and dreams can be extinguished forever by remarks like these.
And even if the consequences are not so sad and destructive, and the person continues to sing carelessly, this immediately raises another question:
If these people enjoy singing so much – they do it all the time while thinking their singing sucks – what joy would they have if they thought their singing was good?
Don’t deny yourself the joy of singing
singing is one of the most therapeutic experiences humans can have. When you express yourself through song, your personality comes out, also in other areas of your life.
So many people are denied this great experience – or deny themselves.
But consider this. If what got you into this bad spot was just something someone told you, then different stories can take you somewhere else as well. As a singing teacher, that’s part of my job.
The three pillars of becoming a good singer and having fun doing it
Learn how to practice
How well you practice determines how well you use what you learn from your teacher.
Good practice is systematic: find your voice problems, experiment with what works, and build on it. Then move on to the next voice problem. As simple as that.
Build better mental habits
Our mind hinders our body from singing freely. What to do?
Saying “I suck” gets you nowhere. Replace bad mental habits with productive ones. This is not magic either, but can be worked on systematically, for example with performance exercises.
Get fit as a singer
Your body is your instrument. How well you understand and design it will determine how good you can become.
Again and again I saw enormous improvements in the sound of the students after they started yoga classes, for example. A life saver, a voice changer.
I accompany you on your way to become a better singer
If you’re all in, I’m all in. I regularly email you eye openers, systems and stories.
The post “Why Can I sing So Badly?” – My Manifesto first appeared on Singwell.