You Say You Don’t Like Singing?
Today, many people seem afraid to sing. Part of the reason may be that we are always comparing ourselves to an impossible standard set in recording studios by professional artists (who can fix their mistakes electronically!)
It’s true that singing isn’t as common in schools as it once was, due to cuts in music programs. So it’s harder for kids to gain experience and confidence. But I’ve heard repeated stories about a personal and painful reason people avoid singing, namely a bad experience in childhood. In classes I’ve taught and conversations I’ve had, people have shared with me that they don’t like to sing because they were once asked to “mouth the words” or, more directly, told that they were “tone deaf”. One person recalled his experience in elementary school where students were placed in two groups for singing, the crows and the larks. He was put with the crows and said, “We all knew how crows sounded. I never liked singing after that.” Unfortunately, a negative early experience with singing can have a lasting impact.
Singing correctly is entirely dependent on hearing correctly. Like all our abilities, hearing skills develop at different rates. Some children are able to hear and direct their voices early and easily. Some need more time to learn to listen to themselves carefully. But, unless someone has a hearing impairment, he or she CAN learn to sing. However, once you’ve been told you can’t sing, singing isn’t much fun. Helping children hear themselves accurately at a young age is crucial for them to become successful singers. They need many chances to sing where they can be corrected gently, if needed. No one should ever be told they are “tone deaf. ” In my mind, that is musical malpractice! Everyone deserves multiple opportunities to learn and practice this rewarding skill.
How is singing “rewarding?” Next blog!