Man! That Dude Can’t Sing!


Why not keep the theme of my first three blogs rolling. Here is yet another question asked of me about singing that I rank in my top five questions of all time. I have to admit, the answer to this one can be tricky. “Brent, seriously, if someone walks into your voice studio and they just can’t sing, what do you tell them?”

Before I go any further on this topic, let’s be clear on what exactly constitutes someone who can or cannot sing. A person who can sing is someone who can hear notes and match the pitches correctly with his or her voice. In turn, a person who cannot sing has a hard time hearing notes and struggles to match pitch, or worse, can’t match pitch at all. But, let’s be clear. The quality of their voice has nothing to do with whether a person can or cannot sing.

Here’s a good scenario. You and a group of friends head out on a Friday night to see one of your favorite bands. As you’re waiting for your idols to take the stage, the opening band launches into their set. Suddenly, and without warning, something comes from the house system that makes your toes curl!! The lead singer of this band has one of the harshest, raspy and, in your opinion, ugliest voices you’ve ever heard
on the planet Earth!! Fingernails on a chalkboard would sound better to you! Agreed, in this situation you could say, “Man, that guy has the worst voice I have ever heard!” But you could never say, “Man, that guy can’t sing!” because it’s simply isn’t true. If he can match pitch with his voice, he can sing.

So, with all the clarification above, what do I tell a person who walks into my studio that cannot sing? I tell them that, yes, they are melodically challenged, but to take heart! ANYONE, yes, ANYONE can learn to sing, IF THEY BELIEVE THEY CAN LEARN TO SING! This is truly the secret for conquering a singer’s intonation issues. A person who has a hard time singing, but believes they can get better by studying voice with a trained professional, will inevitably learn to sing. It’s the ones that don’t believe this that are going to have serious problems.

So, why are there people that can’t or believe they can’t sing? Well, there are plenty of reasons and most of them go deep into someone’s personal psyche. This is when voice lessons become a bit like therapy for some individuals. No, I’m not trying to fix people’s personal lives and issues with my teaching. But, being that singing is such a personal form of expression, sometimes it’s impossible not to have to deal with a few of these problems when they arise. Maybe it was a family member that made fun of their voice when they were younger? Maybe their elementary school choir director singled them out and asked them to mouth the words and not sing? Sometimes it’s something much more personal. Physical or extensive mental abuse can really handicap a person’s ability to express their deepest feelings and emotions. Singers are required to draw upon their emotions to convey the meaning of a song. But, if these feelings and emotions are locked away in a deep, dark place, intonation is the last thing their mind will be focusing on.

To wrap it up, if you’re reading this blog and you’ve been told or believe that you cannot sing, but you have a passion for singing, don’t hesitate. We can make it happen! “You can, if you think you can!” Thanks for reading and remember, keep it real and KEEP SINGING!!