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Were You Ever Told You Can't Sing?

Ok this may have to turn into a podcast as well because I can already feel my keyboard heating up as my emotions are flaming through my fingers!

If you know me, you know that one thing that REALLY gets me going is when I meet someone who has been told they can’t sing.

This to me is one of the most wounding things you can say to a soul. It really crushes me when I hear that someone is finally coming for a lesson with me in their 60s after having held back their voice for over 45 years or more because some moron told them they couldn’t sing.


Now let me clarify, it isn’t the client that is self-conscious and judging their own abilities. These are amazing people who have held their voices back their entire lives because an adult went to them at one time in their childhood and said the words to the effect of, “YOU CAN’T SING”.

It may have been, “perhaps you shouldn’t try out for the solo” or “maybe try another instrument” or my favorite and most common, “just pretend to sing with the rest of the class…but don’t”.

Some have straight up been told …”You sound bad”.

Now this is why it makes me angry.

It’s like telling someone they can’t do a backflip. It’s not recommended if you haven’t been shown how to by a professional and you’d probably end up with an injury if you don’t know how to do it properly. Same with being told you can’t paint or draw because your first attempt was at 3 years old with a bunch of crayons and you barely had the motor skills to hold them let alone take on Michelangelo.

I sure as S*!t wouldn’t let an untrained surgeon work on me so why can someone tell an un trained singer, LET ALONE A CHILD, that they cannot sing. The fact is singing is something you TRAIN to do! Your voice is made up of muscles. They can be trained, strengthened and controlled to create the sounds, pitches, tones and styles you want to create.

Anyone can learn to sing. There is a very small percentage (approximately 4% of the human population at the last study) with amusia or ‘tone deafness’. So, the likelihood that you have it is slim to say the least (and manageable as I have seen with my experience). So at least come for a session to rule that out if it is something that is weighing on you. I would bet money that it’s the lack of confidence because of what you were told that is preventing you from freeing your voice and reaching the notes and singing the songs that you want, the way that you want to.

The brain has an incredible way of stopping you from singing when it is nervous. If you already have an instilled belief, you can’t do it, the first muscles to tense up and block the sounds are, you guessed it, the ones in your larynx. The area that controls your voice. So that ignorant buffoon that told you that you can’t, actually made it so, by messing with your head. It had nothing to do with your voice. It’s now your brain that needs more training than your voice.

This sad story is something I hear from 8 out of 10 of my adult clients, (NO exaggeration). And what really hurts is that they love music, they would love to sing, but they have waited….FOR YEARS to finally let go of that belief to build the courage at trying something they will love, and are …..potentially, REALLY F-ING GOOD AT!

So, if you were ever told you can’t sing, I will bet you that you can.

If you are willing to give yourself another chance, and please, please do if music and singing is something you love, please let me know if you’d like to try again!

No matter what age you are it’s NEVER too late to start learning to sing, In fact I was working with a lovely 91-year-old gentleman last week!

And really, if you love it, who cares what you sound like. If it brings you joy that’s what’s important, and the catch is, when you start to feel the joy, your voice will strengthen, and in the opposite way to how the negative words shut it down, the positivity of your enjoyment of singing will allow your voice to develop, build stamina, your ears will improve with hitting notes in tune because you will be practicing and getting better at ear training, your range will develop because your voice will be stronger and you’ll be less locked up but most importantly please re-gift yourself the voice you were born with and set it free again.

PS – Without dwelling on the negative, always check out the authority and experience of the person telling you that you are no good at anything. There’s constructive criticism and then there are just S#!tty people. I know someone who nearly stopped performing music because someone propping up a bar at an open mic told them they weren’t very good. She now releases original music and people LOVE it. Thank goodness she didn’t quit or her listeners would be missing out on the gift she shares and she would be missing the joy she gets from creating her art.

Anyone who has skill and experience and is a professional in something will never tell you that you can’t do something. If they are a true artist or passionate about whatever topic it is, they will want to support and encourage others. You may be told to work harder, learn more about a topic, you aren’t ready or to develop your skills etc. But always check who’s feedback you are taking to heart, especially if it’s negative.

If you’d like to learn a little more, check out my singing for beginners’ video or reach out with your questions! I’d love to hear from you and help you overcome any blocks from the past and begin to enjoy singing with confidence and joy again!


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