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Why can't I sing?

S.T.M. 19 May 10 - 08:29 PM
BobKnight 19 May 10 - 08:40 PM
DonMeixner 19 May 10 - 08:45 PM
Bobert 19 May 10 - 10:26 PM
Gurney 20 May 10 - 12:14 AM
GUEST,Crowhugger (oops, no cookie just now) 20 May 10 - 12:21 AM
Bert 20 May 10 - 03:20 AM
Leadfingers 20 May 10 - 04:28 AM
GUEST 20 May 10 - 05:14 AM
Rob Naylor 20 May 10 - 05:31 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 20 May 10 - 05:54 AM
banjoman 20 May 10 - 06:01 AM
stallion 20 May 10 - 06:07 AM
TopcatBanjo 20 May 10 - 09:30 AM
GUEST,leeneia 20 May 10 - 11:12 AM
Bernard 20 May 10 - 11:29 AM
olddude 20 May 10 - 11:34 AM
buddhuu 20 May 10 - 11:52 AM
Acorn4 20 May 10 - 12:06 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 May 10 - 12:26 PM
Pigstrings 20 May 10 - 01:29 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 May 10 - 02:27 PM
VirginiaTam 20 May 10 - 02:41 PM
GUEST,Gabriel Hound 20 May 10 - 02:57 PM
Stringsinger 20 May 10 - 05:50 PM
GUEST,CupOfTea no cookies, no scones 20 May 10 - 06:40 PM
Tangledwood 21 May 10 - 05:28 AM
GUEST,kendall 21 May 10 - 06:57 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 21 May 10 - 08:20 AM
Stringsinger 21 May 10 - 09:08 AM
Cuilionn 21 May 10 - 09:46 AM
stallion 21 May 10 - 11:52 AM
GUEST,mg 21 May 10 - 12:51 PM
Tattie Bogle 21 May 10 - 03:54 PM
BobKnight 21 May 10 - 04:24 PM
Crowhugger 22 May 10 - 08:06 AM
foggers 22 May 10 - 12:05 PM
JohnInKansas 22 May 10 - 04:53 PM
GUEST,Auldtimer 22 May 10 - 06:31 PM
skarpi 22 May 10 - 06:37 PM
stevi 22 May 10 - 07:09 PM
S.T.M. 22 May 10 - 07:25 PM
mg 22 May 10 - 10:53 PM
Tangledwood 22 May 10 - 11:31 PM
foggers 24 May 10 - 08:17 AM
Mr Red 24 May 10 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,MA weazil 24 May 10 - 11:57 AM
Royal Fortune 24 May 10 - 08:25 PM
GUEST,andrew 24 May 10 - 09:11 PM
Tangledwood 25 May 10 - 03:54 AM
goatfell 25 May 10 - 07:21 AM
GUEST,andrew 25 May 10 - 09:00 AM
Tangledwood 25 May 10 - 06:53 PM
GUEST,Daddy Paul 25 May 10 - 10:10 PM
Stringsinger 26 May 10 - 07:38 PM
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Janie 26 May 10 - 08:46 PM
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Subject: Why can't I sing?
From: S.T.M.
Date: 19 May 10 - 08:29 PM

Hi all,

I'm taking this discussion here since I must have asked pretty much everyone I know for their thoughts on this strange "condition" that I have and would really appreciate your help.

I supposed the background is this; I am 18, a female and come from a non-musical family. We've never listened to music nor played any instrument and no one, except me has taken an interest in it. My school did not sing any songs, except at christmas and we did not play any instruments.

I had classical singing lessons for two years and found out a lot about singing. Different techniques, breathing, diction, interpretation, reading, etc.

However, to this day, I still can't sing and I'm not sure why. It certainly, at first, seems to be a pitch problem, since I find it difficult to hear myself going off key or following a different tune completely!

I don't think it is a pitch problem, however, but more of a "music" problem. I am confident that I can hear the melody I am supposed to be singing accurately in my head, yet it does not come out of my mouth. 7/10 I can hear that I am out of tune (although I never used to be able to, before I saw my current- very patient- singing teacher). I can hear when other people are going out of tune easily and can tell the difference between two notes (not by name, but I can hear that they are different).

I have been very lucky in the last couple of years to be surrounded by wonderful musicians and so have learnt to listen a bit better than I did before (before, I would never notice subtle violin parts or the guitar or the drums or anything other than the singing- bizarre thinking about it now!)

Despite this, it has become clear that my difficulty with music goes beyond pitch- I also find dancing a massive and embarrassing chore. I know that I am out of time and rhythm with what I should be moving to, yet I seem to be hearing so many different things, if that makes sense? For example, I could be dancing to the smooth sound of the flute and then change to the sudden beats on the drums and then swaying to the vocals...I never seem to hear sound as a whole, rather individually and confusingly.

I find it difficult to change to a different key willingly (ironic really!) and it always feels very wrong to sing a song in a different key to the one I originally heard.

I feel a definitely have a problem more than most people with music and I can't put my finger on it. I have looked into amusia but my condition is no where near as severe, looked into tone deafness but that doesn't match either, otherwise I couldn't tell apart two notes like I can. I even looked into having perfect pitch or something, because I have heard that that can cause many problems for people who use it incorrectly- they have difficulty hearing music any other way than it was originally heard and so impossible to deal with it in any other form, but it has become quite apparent that I don't posses that either!

I really am at a loose end because I love singing and particularly love unaccompanied folk singing- but it does just not look like a realistic achievement any time soon. Please don't get me wrong- I have no wishes to be a professional singer, but I would just love to be able to sing at my local sing around without feeling humiliation, shame and embarrassment (I am aware that this is probably in my mind and no one really cares if I sound terrible but it is off-putting knowing you will ALWAYS be the worst!).

I have recently started playing the whistle, which has improved my timing a lot and thus the overall sound is much better. I just wish I could sort out this pitch/music issue.

If anyone has any suggestions, experiences or information about this, I'd be very grateful.

Thanks,
ST.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: BobKnight
Date: 19 May 10 - 08:40 PM

If you're singing off pitch, surely your singing teacher must be
able to tell you when you are. What does he/she say about it?


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 19 May 10 - 08:45 PM

Ronnie Drew was one of the worlds bet singers and he at best a unique voice. I think Iris Dement has a perfect voice for the songs she writes. The same is said of Malvina Reynolds.

Singing is more than knowing the rules. And it is also very simple.   When you just sing spontaneously, with out an instrument do you start at a note and stay in relation to that note through out the song? Neil Young songs don't count.

And when you sing a song you last heard on the car radio or as a CD do you automatically sing in the same key you last heard the song in?

I think you are over thinking this. Find a folk song club and slip in to a song circle. Sing along until you feel comfortable enough to take a lead.


Don


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Bobert
Date: 19 May 10 - 10:26 PM

Get a ticket to Virginia and spend one week with me and the P-Vine and this problem will be over...

In other words, get around singers...

B~


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Gurney
Date: 20 May 10 - 12:14 AM

self-consciousness? My lady sings OK until she realises someone is listening.
S.T.M., you could try out with a choir or with a group of friends. Sometimes, having someone singing next to you helps.

Dancing is about rhythm, until you get very good. Perhaps you are listening to the wrong thing?


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: GUEST,Crowhugger (oops, no cookie just now)
Date: 20 May 10 - 12:21 AM

What a good idea to try another instrument...I've found that each instrument I learn is less difficult than the one before, and sheds light on them too.

My 2 cents on your quandary: When people learn to sing as children it's usually alongside the rest of life's learning, as with lullabys (what is bed time, how to relax for sleep), or skipping songs (counting, co-ordination etc), with the radio in the garage while watching dad change the oil (about tools, why cars have oil)...all these are no-pressure situations.
   Kids just sing. There isn't much question of "good" or "in tune" or "what key" and no one really cares about the so-called mistakes one might make as a kid. Above all, the learner doesn't care and probably isn't expected to achieve.

But as an adult, that fairly simple equation is muddied with self-awareness, fears of inadequacy, negative self-talk acquired as we mature, maybe also perfectionism or ambition, deadlines, expectations.

Relax, don't worry about it. Sing every chance you get. Play with your voice; try to copy every sound you hear. Not to "succeed" but to learn about all the things your voice can do. Sing with other people every chance you get. Record yourself and listen, do it so much that your recorded voice doesn't sound strange to you any more. Try other instruments. Sing along with them, fool around, experiment. Listen to young children playing alone...copy the sounds their voices make.

I have little doubt you can sing. Maybe after 2 years of lessons (you didn't say how much you practise) your ear-voice co-ordination is starting to emerge. Think of a child who has learned to talk by age 2 who then starts learning to sing, how might they sing by age 4? Then by age 12?

Yes, adults have the potential to make faster progress because of more developed muscles and sophisticated learning skills. But for you it sounds like left-brain approaches can get in the way, as can self judgement.

All that blather of mine is to say: Forget about looking for a destination--there isn't one. Learning to sing better will always be a journey. I'm constantly learning new things about singing and about my voice even though I've been singing (not professionally) for more than 50 years.

I'm curious so maybe you'll tell us, S.T.M., is the input/advice here at Mudcat any different so far than you've received elsewhere? You'd already asked everyone you know yet wanted to keep asking, so I wonder if you've asked the wrong question, or simply didn't like the answers.

~CH.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Bert
Date: 20 May 10 - 03:20 AM

it always feels very wrong to sing a song in a different key to the one I originally heard.

Sounds as though you might have perfect pitch. If so you just need a lot of practice. Try listening to the intervals.

Keep singing all the time, if you can hear that you are wrong then more practice will work for you.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 20 May 10 - 04:28 AM

When we were teenagers my Bro couldnt carry a tune in a bucket ! he is now one of the mainstays of the church choir ! Listen , then listen a bit more and practice .


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 May 10 - 05:14 AM

Practice, practice, practice. It might be that you have a slight hearing impairment, or perfect pitch, or something else that's making it harder, but people who really can't hold a tune at all are extremely rare. It soundsto me as if this is more to do with the fact that making music is relatively new to you.

I also love the idea of learning another instrument - I hope that's helping! If you don't want to sing where other people can hear you, but you're not sure of tuning when you're on your own, you can learn a lot by singing along with recordings. As someone has already said, the main task is to co-ordinate your ear with your vocal equipment, and it sounds as if you're well on your way there - it's just a long process.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 20 May 10 - 05:31 AM

S.T.M.: I don't think it is a pitch problem, however, but more of a "music" problem. I am confident that I can hear the melody I am supposed to be singing accurately in my head, yet it does not come out of my mouth. 7/10 I can hear that I am out of tune (although I never used to be able to, before I saw my current- very patient- singing teacher). I can hear when other people are going out of tune easily and can tell the difference between two notes (not by name, but I can hear that they are different).

I can really relate to that. I have exactly the same problem, and it's also put me off contributing to singarounds (what with that and my nerves about playing guitar in public, I tend to be a complte mess at them!). I certainly don't have perfect pitch, far from it. And I have no idea what key I'm starting in.

For me it's "hit and miss" whether I start off in a key that I can accommodate the whole range of the song into...I often start off too high, and "squeak" the high notes, or too low, and find that I can't get down to the lowest low ones.

But as with you, my main problem is knowing the melody in my head, and hearing it come out completely wrong through the mouth, irrespective of whether I've chosen a key that I can get the full range into. There's one song that I want to sing unaccompanied that I've been practicing for literally months, usually in the car. I've also recorded me singing it at home and played it back several times. I can hit it just right about one time in 4 and it sounds *great* (to me, but also to others listening to the recordin, so I know I'm "calibrated" to what other people are hearing too). The other 3 times it sounds anything from "OK-ish" to "really ropey".

I don't know what to suggest, but as a fellow sufferer desperate to sing, I can only offer loads of sympathy and the knowledge that you're not alone. My sister and brother are the same, though my dad was an excellent tenor lead in a local operatic society, and my mum a pretty fair voice in the chorus.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 20 May 10 - 05:54 AM

Umm, I don't really know what your answer is. But I can find memorising a melody tricky at times. Especially as sometimes the intervals can be subtly confusing and do different things that we might expect, so what you *think* you're hearing, isn't precisely what's in there.

I think my brain has a tendency to 'gloss over' odd sounding intervals, which means singing them back can get confusing and frustrating. I often use the Midi's in the digitrad to help me - but unlike you I don't have trouble shifting key. I'd suggest avoiding copying from recordings (there's usually a lot of stuff going on in any recording which could complicate matters), and use your penny whistle to work out the basic melody of a song from notation from scratch - but in a key that suits YOUR range. It's also helpful to follow the notation when 'la'ing the melody through (I don't read music, but you can see the 'shape' of the melody in there and it helps as a visual memory cue.

Thankfully most folk songs use pretty simple melodies, so once you've got it down play it on the whistle in very short snippets of say five or six notes at a time, really listening to the sound. And sing it straight back 'la la la-la la la laaaa' (without the words) until you have the phrase fixed in memory. That's pretty much what I do when I get stuck with a melody anyway. I just keep listening to the notes and repeating it in short bursts, until it sticks. Then I add words..


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: banjoman
Date: 20 May 10 - 06:01 AM

Anyone can sing and I am a testimonial to that having been told at an early age that I had a voice like a cinder trapped under a door. The important thing is to enjoy what you are doing.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: stallion
Date: 20 May 10 - 06:07 AM

This isn't the first thread on the subject here and it will not be the last, it does, however, give the opportunity for people who have crept over that imaginary line to tell the world that it is hard work that gets you there, and it takes time and painstaking practice. To echo what has already been said it gets exponentially easier but starting is a ball acher just don't give up. I always wanted to sing and I started in earnest in 1968 after reading the sleeve notes on a Tom Paxton LP that said anyone can learn to sing. Being around singers helps enormously, I have learnt so much from one of my singing buddies Martin and singing along with the Johnson Girls cd's. Not wishing to plug our cd's but they only came about because people wanted to sing along with them and that is what they are for really, not to listen to, but to sing along with. So keep at it practice practice prac..................................................................................................


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: TopcatBanjo
Date: 20 May 10 - 09:30 AM

Hi STM,

What an interesting post. I have never had such difficulties myself so it's hard to really understand what you're experiencing, but I really feel for you as I love singing too! From the way you write I am assuming you are in the UK rather than the US. Could you give a clue as to where you are in the country? I am heavily into Sacred Harp singing and there is a fair bit going on in this country (of course there is tons in the US if that's where you are - it's very strong in Alabama, Georgia and New England). I could point you in the direction of a singing local to you. Sacred Harp is four-part unaccompanied harmony singing and it's really about belting it out loud. Hopefully you would be carried along within the whole sound and this would help you keep in tune!

However I know for a fact that we do have one or two rogue voices in our regulars who are rarely in tune at all! Cath Tyler, one of our mainstay singers, always says at Singing Schools (where you're taught a bit about shape notes) that Sacred Harp is great for people who were told as kids that they couldn't/shouldn't sing...! The other thing to mention is that we sing in keys of convenience - i.e. every time a song is sung it may be pitched slightly differently according to who pitches it - so that could be an issue for you? Anyway this may not be your thing but I just thought I'd mention it - personally I love the sound of Sacred Harp singing which is quite unlike anything else. Here are a couple of links to give you an idea...

Awake my Soul trailer

Cath leading at Marsden SH Convention 2008

Cheers
Maria


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 May 10 - 11:12 AM

There are some people who just can't match a pitch, no matter what they do. They are rare, fortunately.

We don't know whether you are one of those, or whether the shortage of music in your life is the problem.

I suggest you do two things: play recordings of vocalists you like and sing along with them as you work around the house or drive in the car. Just don't imitate rock & pop singers who bellow and blast, abusing their voices. (I'm sure you have had enough training to recognize what is really bad.)

Join a choir or similar group. Sing softly at first if you are worried about being good enough.

I bet it's just a muscle problem. Your singing apparatus needs to get strong enough and co-ordinated enough to actually do what your brain/hearing are telling it to do.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Bernard
Date: 20 May 10 - 11:29 AM

When I was a primary school teacher there were always 'growlers' who wanted to join the school choir.

My solution was to allow them to join, but gently to explain to them that perhaps they should sing very quietly during concerts, as they still had some learning to do.

Without exception these children all went on to be strong singers.

Join a choir with a forward-thinking choirmaster, and you'll find that having singers around you will eventually help, though there is no quick and easy fix.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: olddude
Date: 20 May 10 - 11:34 AM

Honestly
I think like many people I have talked to it is fear of singing. Look at it this way, sing for you ... forget what others think but sing to make you happy ... if you do that you will find that you are probably pretty good.   I have a friend who is a songwriter. She has a voice to die for ... like angels singing.. until 3 years ago she would never sing ... saying things like "I wish I could sing, I am so embarrassed of my voice" when I heard her I kicked her in the pants ..

she is incredible but just didn't know it and fear kept her from entertaining people for all of her life to that point ... now she has no fear but it was the fear that stopped her initially


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: buddhuu
Date: 20 May 10 - 11:52 AM

I totally do have a similar problem, but I have pinned down at least some of the contributing factors in my case...

Factor 1)

My hearing is not great as a result of exposure to VERY loud music when I was younger. I mean my head in the PA cabs at Motorhead and AC/DC gigs. Stupid boy. I have difficulty filtering sound - such as conversation from pub background noise and my own singing from the music around me.

Factor 2)

Due to being self-conscious, when I do sing, I sing very quietly. That means that I make the problem of being unable to hear myself worse. What I also find that my adherence to pitch is poor when I sing in that inhibited way. My vocal chords deliver better, more accurate pitch when I give it some welly and push out more volume - not shouting or straining, just singing up to a confident volume.

From what you say it seems that your perception of pitch and tune may be fine. Are you sure you're not just singing a counter-melody or a harmony to the main melody? I do that very often almost without thinking. It could be down to conditioning. Training your ear to separate out and recognise different musical parts may be causing your mind to wander onto alternative parts other than the main melody, and your voice could be following! The dancing thing you describe also suggests that this could be possible.

I'd suggest finding some recordings of single, solo melody instruments with no backing, so the melody is all that you hear in the recording (unaccompanied solo vocals are also perfect). Try singing along with those to see if you can remain on pitch when there is no harmonic distraction.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Acorn4
Date: 20 May 10 - 12:06 PM

You could try recording yourself and playing back and analysing carefully then trying to correct.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 May 10 - 12:26 PM

I was struck by the same thing as bert, where STM wrote "It always feels very wrong to sing a song in a different key to the one I originally heard," and bert commented that it sounded as if she must have perfect pitch.

I can never tell if a song is being sung in a different key or off-key, unless I'm trying to play an accompaniment to it. I'm impressed by anyone who can.

So definitely don't give up. Lots of good advice in this thread.

The other thing that struck me was where STM wrote "...come from a non-musical family. We've never listened to music nor played any instrument and no one, except me has taken an interest in it. My school did not sing any songs..."

Singing is something we are built to learn the same way we learn talking, and maybe even earlier. Any family and any school which doesn't encourage children to sing is really letting them down pretty badly. In fact in it's way, it's a form of malnutrition.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Pigstrings
Date: 20 May 10 - 01:29 PM

Agree with all that's been said. You can sing. You just haven't found your voice yet. The more you do it, the easier it will become to pick up and hold pitch and tune. Start out by singing whatever you like and tell people it's an "interesting" harmony.

I've observed something similar with children taught to read music and play instruments at school. Without the music in front of them, they fumble to play anything. My daughter was brought up sleeping under pub tables at singarounds (blame the parents) and also did music at school - she has the wonderful ability to both play by ear and read music. It just comes naturally to her, as does singing.

McGrath of Harlow is absolutely right - all children deserve to be brought up on music and stories. As Mr. Steve Knightley says, "Without our stories or our songs, how will we know where we came from?"


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 May 10 - 02:27 PM

The amazing thing is that any of us can sing, just as teh amazing thing is we are able to talk. The thing is, most of us don't have the faintest idea of how we do it, how we change the sound, how we tell which is the right sound and so forth.

Is there a danger that learning that kind of stuff, which in a way is what formal singing technique training is about, can get in the way of being able to do it? Like the story of the centipede who was asked how he decided which leg to step off on, and what order to use teh other ones, and he was immobilised as he tried to work it out.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 20 May 10 - 02:41 PM

I started out not singing tunefully. My voice was flat line the whole way. From birth I had hearing problems (corrected at 9 years old) and I was in a family of singers and musicians so I got condemning looks when I piped in incorrectly.   The pressure of other's abilities and the late start had delayed my singing.

At 14 I started taking piano lessons and learned to vocally imitate what I heard on the piano. By 16 I was taking guitar lessons and had learned to accompany my singing.

Listen, imitate and practice are the best things you can do.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: GUEST,Gabriel Hound
Date: 20 May 10 - 02:57 PM

Have you tried singing with a drone in the background or while hoovering? Singing underwater in the bath is also good to help listening to yourself - but remember to come up for air.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 May 10 - 05:50 PM

I think it's about being overly critical. I often have trouble liking my voice and have
never really liked it on recordings. Yet, I work pro.

Instead of concentrating on pitches, rhythm and the mechanics, go for the text. In folk music, this is what it's all about. An acting class would help here.

A lot of what passes for good voices in the folk field is debatable but who cares?

What you are saying is often more important than how.

Still, it never hurts to protect your voice by studying natural vocal production with a good teacher.

Take the pressure off and sing from your heart. If you are in the song, they will listen.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: GUEST,CupOfTea no cookies, no scones
Date: 20 May 10 - 06:40 PM

I empathize with your yearning to sing while feeling unable to do so to your own satisfaction, even though I grew up singing, around people who sang, in a church where the congregation sang. Your (relative) youth gives you the advantage of time to develop this skill, and it IS a skill, like any other that, need practice, endless repetition, attention to how your body is working, and an encouraging atmosphere.

A part of my early "lack of ability" was a combination of untrained, rudimentary skills running up against being overly critical of myself. At my age, we all expected we should be able to sound like Joan Baez or Judy Collins (as if). I was well into my 30s before I tried to sing solo as you are, with no backup. I loved LONG songs with many verses, and had plenty of scorn thrown at me for "how many different keys did you sing that in?" My solution was to get a simple instrument to accompany me: in my case an autoharp. It kept me on pitch & if I needed a specific note to try to match, I could. While a whistle sounds fun for making music, problem is, you can't SING WITH it. The musical prop worked in both improving my ability to sing on pitch, in tune AND I learned how to play it as an instrument (over 25 years, and I had a late start).

As has been previously mentioned WORDS - find songs you SPECIFICALLY want to learn. Write out the words. Sing them. Sing them again. Sing them LOTS. Listen to yourself, sing some more, figure out what you can do better. If you an find a recorded acapella singer with the range and repertoire that suits you to sing along with, use that.

Find an ENCOURAGING group, person, place who can help you with critical input that won't crush you. I almost gave up when a noted singer, himself NOTORIOUS for messing about and restarting a song several times before he could find the right pitch, told me in a ballad class, after one song, that "we didn't need to hear any more" HAVE FAITH. Ten years later, same guy, same workshop place, open sing. I started a trad song I loved, he was among the folks who sang along and said "Oh, that's grand! I haven't thought of that song for years!"

Keep singing. Keep trying. Find out what works for you. See if you have a musical friend who can help you take this journey from "out to sea" to at home with your voice. The pleasure in singing is unsurpassed. I still feel frustration around the youngsters who can sing like a dream, parse out harmony without a thought, have repertoires that make my head spin. They're not the norm. They're not what one compares themselves to. Best of good fortune to you finding your voice and singing with it.

Joanne in Cleveland


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Tangledwood
Date: 21 May 10 - 05:28 AM

Another vote here for joining a choir or singing group of some kind. If there is such a thing in your area go for a non-performing choir where the emphasis is on enjoyment rather than practicing for public perfomances. Likewise, if there are singing workshops around, go for them.

The leader of the choir I'm in said that one of the most frequent discussions on choir leader forums is how to overcome choir members' doubts about whether they're hitting the right notes or not.

There is a Catch 22 situation - if you're not confident you sing quietly or hesitantly and that affects your ability. Go in confidently and you usually get it.

While singing teachers can do a lot of good I think that sometimes in a one-on-one situation the focus puts the student under pressure. In a group situation there is less pressure. At a workshop I attended a psychologist friend running it said "Give everybody permission to make whatever sound they like. Give yourself the same permission." In a non-threatening environment like that you can relax and experiment.

Don't expect changes immediately. For me it took a choir meeting once a week for a year and plenty of encouragement before suddenly I felt "hey, I can do this OK". From comments in other threads about the learning process I think learning music actually requires establishing new neural pathways.   

When you sing, if other people stick their fingers in their ears and run screaming from the room seek another opinion. Otherwise, stick with it. It can be fun, satisfying and give many health benefits.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 21 May 10 - 06:57 AM

I know a man who is and has been a professional singer ever since I've known him (50 years) and yet he was dropped from the glee club in his school because he was a monotone.
If I told you who he is you would not believe me.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 21 May 10 - 08:20 AM

S.T.M, what a thoughtful and articulate post!

What wonderful advice you are getting from everyone here! The best advice you are hearing, over and over again is: keep singing!

Yes! Join a chorus or choir- but choose carefully, and find a friendly group with a director who is committed to helping the singers, not just to get the "perfect sound". A good director knows that excellent sound can be achieved best with happy and secure singers who trust him/her and are willing to try their best and support each other.

Where do you live? We here are from all over and would be happy to advise you on local support.

Add my name to those with a level of experience who would be happy to advise privately and help in any way we can (Bobert, we should run singing workshops!).


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 21 May 10 - 09:08 AM

I was told in my Junior High School chorus to mouth the words to the song but not sing by
the teacher. This happens to so many people that it's no wonder there's very few decent music education programs in the country.

Music schools for the most part are anathema. They teach that you will never be a Bach or Beethoven and the best thing you can do when you finish your degree is to teach. This perpetuates the problem.

One of the most important aspects of singing is the recognition that it is not unlike
an athletic activity that requires aerobic training of some sort. Singing off pitch is not always
an aural problem but a physical one that can be overcome by releasing the voice and finding the natural balance of your own voice. Shouting, screaming, or any other abuse can be avoided.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Cuilionn
Date: 21 May 10 - 09:46 AM

If your ability to hear and accurately reproduce music is indeed tied to some sort of neurological impairment or developmental delay, there are all manner of ways to wake up those underused synapses and get your brain/ears/voicebox working together more reliably.

You have the right instincts already: picking up instruments and working on learning tunes, working with a teacher, trying to teach yourself songs at your own pace, training your ears, etc. I'd suggest you seek out additional ways to fully embody the music, so you're learning with as much sensory input as possible. Lean your body against a radio or piano to feel the vibrations. Try to clap or tap your foot or march around the room to the beat. Rest your hand gently on the front of your neck when singing and experiment with different levels of relaxation and tension. So what happens when you try to "move the sound around" in your body. Also play with the sounds you produce using different kinds of breathing.

You might even try to get your hands on a book or website that describes "sensory integration" or "brain gym" techniques. While these exercises are designed primarily for schoolchildren with neurological impairments, they can prove helpful to people at any age, whether or not you have a diagnosed impairment.

Best of luck!

--Cuilionn


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: stallion
Date: 21 May 10 - 11:52 AM

I think Kendal might be refering to the man that inspired me! Eh Kendal I know you're mates.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 21 May 10 - 12:51 PM

Good advice but it won't always work. We all have skills and abilities and few of us have all of them. I have no spatial abilities. I could get tutoring and hang out with mechanics and engineers and get feedback and it would not change my underlying neurological structure. GOod luck; you might improve and you might not. There are other ways to enjoy music. mg


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 21 May 10 - 03:54 PM

As others have indicated, it may be the lack of music around you while growing up that has led to the problems you describe. There is a neurological condition called "amusia" where people really don't have a clue about either the perception of, or production of, music, and sadly, not much can be done about this.
However, it sounds as if you are OK on the sensory side, and it's just the production of music from your voice (or legs, as in dancing) that gives you problems, Your relative youth is hugely on your side, and it's probably nowhere near too late to get things going, with the right support, and not putting yourself too much under stress of trying to perform too soon. Do keep at it, and hopefully it will come with time and practice.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: BobKnight
Date: 21 May 10 - 04:24 PM

Sing every day. You wouldn't try to run a marathon without training your body for it, and singing is the same. I've sang in bands for more years than I care to mention, but it's only in the last 5-6 years that I've felt comfortable with my voice, and that's because I now sing every day if possible.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 22 May 10 - 08:06 AM

Another possible cause of thinking you're singing wrong or out of tune:
    The sound outside the head, what others hear from my mouth is not EXACTLY the same pitch as what I hear in my head. I know this because what's in my head is usually louder to me, so it's easier to tune that. But then I end up singing flat. When I consciously pay attention to the sound coming in through my ears instead of the "inside sound" my tuning is great.

If hearing is damaged, putting hand firmly to ear as if to say "speak up" will help get more of the "outside voice" into your ears. Both hands is even better. Then it's practice, getting co-ordinated.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: foggers
Date: 22 May 10 - 12:05 PM

Hi there STM - wow that is a really well articulated analysis of where your problems may lie. I agree with a lot of advice already given, and have a thought to add.

You say you can hear that you are not in pitch but struggle to make an adjustment to get into pitch. This suggests that the stumbling block is that you maybe do not yet have full control of all your vocal apparatus; so it is probably a mechanical/muscular control problem rather than a problem of perception. The suggestions for trying to incorporate all your senses into your singing should help here. Also like any muscular skill the more you try the more you will learn the fine motor control needed for pitch correction.

What happens in your throat is that your vocal chords sit like a pair of curtains over the top of the air supply coming up from your lungs. The edges of the vocal chords can be completely separate and flap at low frequency, producing a low note. In order to raise the note, the edges kind of partly zip up together, to shorten the length of the edges free to flap in the air. The shorter those loose edges are, the HIGHER the note you produce. Learning how this actually feels and how to control that, and connecting that back to the pitch you are aiming for (i.e. the signal coming in from your ears and the other part of your brain which is comparing your pitch with the one others are singing and playing) may be the thing you need to work on. Yep when you break it down, singing in tune is quite a complex task, and you maybe just missed out on picking this up more naturalistically in life due to being in a non-musical environment during childhood.


As you are already having formal singing lessons I assume you are used to the idea of doing vocal exercises, both in class under your teacher's watchful gaze, and also possibly on your own between classes. So try this:

Use an instrument or pitch pipes (whatever is to hand) and sing a note (just any note you are comfortable with).It doesn't matter WHAT you sing (La, or Do, Ah, whatever). Place both hands gently with palms onto your throat area. Focus on the feeling of the sound you are making. Try to use your imagination to "see" inside your throat at what all the bits are doing to make that sound, including your vocal chords in a partially zipped up state, flapping in the air stream. Your voice teacher may even have a diagram of the vocal apparatus to help you "see" this.
Once you feel you can create some kind of image of what it going on in your "voice box", SLIDE the pitch up just one tone and hold that new note. Look for the changes you had to make in order to change the pitch, and then do the same with another whole tone up. Do it slowly, still with your hands in place. Notice what may be happening inside your throat to produce that change in pitch. Try sliding just up and down slowly over those three notes, paying attention to those internal adjustments you are making with each step up and down.

You can then develop this exercise by asking your teacher or a helpful musical chum to play a random note that you have to match with your voice: this can be part of learning to sing intervals as well. Again, do this slowly, with hands on throat, noticing the muscular changes that happen as you move to each note. Eventually, you will be able to do the singing of random notes automatically because you will have gained control of the apparatus, the same way that a tennis player can just move to hit a ball coming over the net without breaking it down into all the little movements and hand-eye coordination needed.

By getting this sense of the movements you need to make in your throat to change pitch, this should help you to make the adjustments when you hear that you are off pitch.

And of course do go out and sing for pleasure, with others, and make up for those early years without music! The more you do it the easier it is to tackle both the motor skills and any self consciousness that could be holding you back.

And if you tell us where you are in the world, I am sure some of us will be able to suggest some local sources of support too.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 May 10 - 04:53 PM

I see two separate issues in the excellent description of the "problem."

1. I am 18, a female and come from a non-musical family.

2. I had classical singing lessons for two years and found out a lot about singing. Different techniques, breathing, diction, interpretation, reading, etc.

The question that needs to be asked, suggested especially by the first item:

What kind(s) of music are you listening to and what kinds of music are you trying to sing?

If your brief exposure, and late interest in music is based on "music" currently popular with many of those of your age, you need to understand (personal opinion) that many, if not most, "current pop" singers don't "sing in tune" and the best to be said about the backup "chord structure" of the songs is that it's "bizarre or non-existent."

It's difficult to guess what your "2 years of classical" might have included; but my early exposure to friends doing serious university level studies of "classical music" suggests that it would have emphasized solo voice training - tonal quality, range, and "lots of scale practice."

Those who have more typical early exposure generally get to start out with "kid songs" that mostly do have simple scale/chord structure, and progress through simple "chorus" types of songs - on to "choral music" and/or elementary band/orchestra ensemble pieces.

Most of the music considered suitable for "young learners" has very simple and consistent scales and consistent progressions (movements) of chords. Practice at singing (or playing an instrument) with this kind of music is the basis for "hearing the note in relation to the chord," which may be one of the "tricks" you have not yet developed.

My suggestion would be that you pick a kind of music with well-defined four-part harmony to practice, preferably with others to sing the parts, or if you're able with piano or other "harmony backup." It will be helpful to sing the "harmony parts" some, in addition to just the "lead lines."

The "ultimate four part harmony" probably is "barbershop" although "protestant hymns" are generally fairly consistent. (I don't know much avout the other kinds.) "Camp songs" usually are very simple, but not too often "harmonized," and you need the "harmony."

Surprisingly, "old country" (before about 1950?) usually has simple structure and is adaptable to short vocal range. (The short range means you can move the key easily to fit almost any voice, so you can practice singing parts other than the "lead" without putting the others out of their range, not that you shouldn't explore all of your range.) You don't have to learn to yodel - until later?.

Some folk music is fine for developing a sense of the relationship between the tones you're singing and the chords and progressions that the melody is based on; but quite a lot of it is "modal" and should be saved for later after you're more comfortable singing in major/minor scales.

"Mary had a Little Lamb" in four part harmony can be a rich experience, and is perhaps a level - not necessarily the song - you need to start. The point is to learn to sing "the intervals" rather than rigidly "in a key."

John


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: GUEST,Auldtimer
Date: 22 May 10 - 06:31 PM

If you can talk, you can sing. How it sounds ... well it may not be like Mary Black, or Eliza Carthy or..... BUT it will sound like you. Find out how you sing, are you deep voiced? are you heavy voiced? are you light and angelic? are you throaty and rough edged? It realy dosn't matter find your strengths and go with it. And have fun. It realy is what it is all about.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: skarpi
Date: 22 May 10 - 06:37 PM

if you have faith , willpower , and a lot of spirit from your heart and soul
to sing, you can do it :O) its all in your heart .
Listen to it and go for it .

I am sending you good stream and thoughts from the Atlandic ocean ..
to where ever you are ..

all the best Skarpi Iceland .


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: stevi
Date: 22 May 10 - 07:09 PM

Hi S.T.M
I have the same problem I love singing but my vocal range is limited so I have found it best to tackle songs that fit my voice (if that makes since) I herd a famous Irish singer once say you have to find your own voice! since then I have tried not to imitate my heroes but to interpret a song in my own way. I think with practice most people can learn to sing.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: S.T.M.
Date: 22 May 10 - 07:25 PM

Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts, considerations and opinions.

It is very difficult to pinpoint what the issue is. I don't believe it is a physical problem; I am actually quite good and doing different things, if that makes sense. For example, if you want a strong natural vibrato, I can give you one. If you want a light natural vibrato I can give you one. You want a breathy tone? I know how to place that too. I can do trills and sing purely with no vibrato at all. I know what to do with my breathing to create these different tones and effects (although I always struggle with the beautiful melisma!) I think one thing that /i could do a hell of a lot better physically, is to improve my confidence. I know that I CAN sing loudly and with force and gusto, but I just don't. My voice almost goes back inside me when I sing in front of others and feels tied in my throat.

This lack of confidence is because I know that I can't sing on key, no matter how much I tell myself "it doesn't matter, this about the words!".

The thing is, the people I hang around with are all very talented musicians. The type who can play any instrument, sing wonderfully and I know that if I'm even a little off key they will notice. This does not bother me and they are very encouraging, but it bothers me. It embarrasses me and I feel stupid for trying. Silly I know, but how can we help how we feel?!

I do also believe I have a slight musical disadvantage- as previously mentioned, I find it quite hard to dance. So, I think what the issue is, is a combination of all these seemingly minor problems. Combined, the lack of confidence, the lack of musical presence and the natural difficulty with music make it very difficult, although I do try very hard and I imagine that I will keep trying.

A lot of people have mentioned my current singing teacher. He is not a teacher by profession but he is a very talented musician who took me under his wing after my last singing teacher, the one I was classically trained with said to me "I'm sorry, I can not teach you anymore. I don't know how to help you any further- you just can't stay in tune." She then emailed me to say sorry and that she could help me because I was not always out of tune and I replied but I have never heard from her since.

My current teacher, having heard me sing has vowed to keep trying everything until I can sing. And well, it'll be two years in November and I have improved a lot, I just can't help comparing myself to his family and friends (who are all gifted with music).

I will try some of the things that you here have suggested and I thank you for your words of wisdom. I think I will just keep trying and try and attend as many workshops as I can from now on, or join a choir.

For the benefit of those who asked, the first time I got "into" music was when I was about 12. I liked Heavy and Symphonic Metal. Then I liked Classical Music a lot and some Musicals. And then when I was around 15 I got into folk music and that's pretty much all I listen to now. I started learning the whistle a couple of months ago and I'm getting a harp this coming Tuesday for my birthday (been saving for ages!) so, hopefully, I'll be able t enjoy music in some way, even if singing doesn't work out (although, try and stop me from doing it when no one's around...ha).

Thanks,
STM.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: mg
Date: 22 May 10 - 10:53 PM

Well, until you are confident and it is confirmed by other people that you are singing in tune you should do your musical enjoyment with community type singing groups that are thete for the sharing and caring etc. and are not overly concerned with the sound itself. Everyone will have a better time. You can still enjoy the music of the professional musicians but probably people singing out of tune is misery for them so just sing quietly while with them and loudly with the community singers and as you get more confident and if you get more on tune sing more with the professionals. There are groups who do not care if people sing off key because the point is the community and not the actual sound, and groups who care about the actual sound..if you ahve a quiet voice continue to use it and if you ahve a loud voice tone it down for them because it really does hurt to hear people off key if everyone else is on. In a loud group you will get covered up usually so don't worry if you are basically quiet.

I know people will tell you otherwise. They are of the first persuasion. Find them and join them and be happy.   mg


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Tangledwood
Date: 22 May 10 - 11:31 PM

How many stories have we all read, or heard from our friends, of those that have been told that they can't sing but go on to prove their critics well and truly wrong?

It sounds as if your first teacher has done you a diservice, undermining your confidence, and later regretting it. Maybe she had an off day when she said those words.

This lack of confidence is because I know that I can't sing on key, no matter how much I tell myself "it doesn't matter, this about the words!".

Funny coincidence that - at a workshop I attended yesterday the presenter said the opposite. He had us "la-la-la-ing" to something -twinkle twinkle little star I think - and it sounded lovely. Then we started singing the words. The volume dropped and it was a little ragged. He said that the brain changes modes, suddenly thinking "I'm singing now, I have to make sure the words are right, have I got the tune right, am I in tune?"

Back in the early '70s there was a poem set to music which got a lot of commercial radio airplay. Desiderata is it's name. There's a bit of that which says:
"If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself."
It's much easier said than done to not make comparisons, and maybe it's not always the best way to go anyway but, if you are a relative beginner musically speaking, comparing yourself with professionals is not giving yourself a fair chance. Let their standard be something to aspire to by all means, but don't give yourself a hard time because you're not there yet.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: foggers
Date: 24 May 10 - 08:17 AM

HI again STM - nice to hear from you

My OH spend his life up to the age of 40 thinking he had no musical talent as he had been told he could not sign when at school and his family were of the opinion that you were either born with the talent or not, and that he was in the latter category. So he had four decades of negative conditioning to overcome, whereas you have youth on your side!

The biggest challenge for him has been to sing in public, for all the same reasons you cite. He knew he was sometimes off key and was fearful of being judged by the talented people around him. He tackled this by trying a few singing teachers until he found someone who was good at helping him with those psychological barriers.

Alongside this we were going to sessions and he was begining to sing along with choruses etc. His teacher has done some of the pitch exercises with him that I wrote about earlier in this thread. Trying this exercise will help you to develop the skill of adjusting your voice to pitch. Then hopefully you will feel less inhibited when singing with others.

Your love of music is clear in your posts ,and I am sure you will find a way to release that voice, alongside learning instruments too!


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Mr Red
Date: 24 May 10 - 10:12 AM

First of all, there is practice, and practice and practice.
Secondly there is practice. Do you drive to work, alone? Practice. Need help? put a CD on the player. Need more help? learn the words, word perfect. Never let the singing falter in order to find the words.
Then a bit of practice might help.
Singing in a choir, or at a Folk Club with the chorus. I always recommend shanties because they are work songs and gruff works with them. Rhythm is everything there. Tune? Act the hauling and tunes will vanish anyway. You are acting a part, even if the singing is only a part.

Now it is a fact I rejoice in telling that I never sang till the wife left home. & I daren't stop in case the magic wears off. Motivation helps a lot, you see. Find the right reason to sing, and find the right tunes. It is no good singing meaningful lyrics to a slow air if you are not fully confident - shanties I tell you, & comic songs. The meaning in those lyrics is not carried by the tune - the rhythm probably, the rhyme definitely. Find the easy routes first.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: GUEST,MA weazil
Date: 24 May 10 - 11:57 AM

STM: You said "My voice almost goes back inside me when I sing in front of others and feels tied in my throat"

I am currently a student in a Krav Maga/Muay Thai kickboxing class, which involves some pretty hard-core self defense training. While training, the instructors offer lots of different sayings to improve motivation, give focus, and perspective on whatever skill is being practiced. One such saying is this: "You do not rise to the level of your expectations, you fall to the level of your training." From my perspective, this saying serves to warn against overconfidence, but encourage development. Your quote brought this saying to mind

I am also a certified elementary music teacher. I struggle every day to try and help young children find their singing voices. I find that children have the advantage in learning because they are not afraid to fail. Failure is an essential part of learning.

So I'm rambling. I'll wrap it up. Again, you said: "My voice almost goes back inside me when I sing in front of others and feels tied in my throat". You are not broken, you are falling to the level of your training. This is normal, natural, and a good thing. Unlike self-defense situations, it is ok to fail :)    The fact that you are trying to overcome your problems/fears/whatever and become a singer speaks volumes about your drive.

You are on the path. Don't stop now. Practice, listen, train, move, listen to all the advice on this forum. You are not different, sick, or disabled. You are just at a different place in your musical training. Don't give up. You're doing it.

/ramble

Al


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Royal Fortune
Date: 24 May 10 - 08:25 PM

Hey STM,

I just thought I'd add something that's a bit off the wall. I've had an anxiety disorder for all my life, and even the thought of singing would often be paralyzing for me, for some reason that seemed to be one of the main fears of my life : singing in public.

There is something very personal about singing, it reveals something personal inside you (especially when you start out) and it is that revealing that leads to the anxiety for me.

Basically, how I've come to unwind the problem is that I now understand that the fear is a survival mechanism that your mind kicks off when you feel vulnerable. Once I understood that, it was slightly easier to ignore. Once you've got your head around that then try and take all the pressure off yourself by viewing every session as a chance to have fun, rather than a chance to improve your voice.

Then you just build up as much experience as you can and after a while the fear will be down to a manageable level.

And if that doesn't work, just get drunk beforehand.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: GUEST,andrew
Date: 24 May 10 - 09:11 PM

Hi S.T.M.

I would also encourage you to join a community type choir, maybe even a couple. Just sing very quietly at first, and get used to it. It could take many months, or even more. Listen to others around you. Take it easy. Listen, listen, try to match notes. Have individual help with this if you need to. Doesn't have to be a singing teacher. Just a friend.
Don't give up, but accept where you are without judgement.

Tangledwood [again!] You don't live in the Brisbane area do you? 'cos ! went to a workshop last Saturday where exactly the same thing happened. Though I had heard this idea before.

Andrew   A Cappella Choir director.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Tangledwood
Date: 25 May 10 - 03:54 AM

Hi Andrew, I sure do, singing with Morningsong. The only male there in our group, so that narrows it down for you. ;)

Mal


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: goatfell
Date: 25 May 10 - 07:21 AM

if you can talk you can sing no matter what other people say


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: GUEST,andrew
Date: 25 May 10 - 09:00 AM

Hi Mal [Tangledwood],

Ah yes, you were standing in the middle with the light coloured trousers.
I was in the audience. Blue flannelette shirt.
I direct four A Cappella Choirs, both "popular" and classical, based in Tewantin. Was down in Brisbane visiting my daughters. Don't have a website. andrewemmetatdodo.com.au

Andrew


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Tangledwood
Date: 25 May 10 - 06:53 PM

Good to have "met" you Andrew. Next time we'll make it face to face.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: GUEST,Daddy Paul
Date: 25 May 10 - 10:10 PM

I am the "singing teacher" referred to by STM (the second not the first) my speech marks are to indicate that I actually know nothing of technique but I seem to be helping. What STM doesn't say is that she actually has a beautiful voice but simply has a massive problem with singing. As it is possible to be a great singer without a great voice the reverse can also be true. She has just left here after an evening of music, she turned 18 at midnight. We have had a great time (she picked the harp up today) she has been playing and singing with myself and another, older very intuitive female singer and musician. They have sung together before but tonight they sang together beautifully. I know how much it means to her and it was fabulous to hear. I like to think that the generosity of your comments and advice might have had some effect. Thank you. And Happy Birthday to "STM" x x x x


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 26 May 10 - 07:38 PM

"This lack of confidence is because I know that I can't sing on key, no matter how much I tell myself "it doesn't matter, this about the words!".

No one can sing precisely on key. There will always be some variation. Singing "on key" is not as important as good vocal quality, an arresting performance based on being connected with the text and communicating with the audience.

I would suggest that the massive problem you have is an obsession with being perfect.
For gosh sakes, do you think that Louis Armstrong or Bob Dylan worried about pitch?
Or even the Beatles. There are so many examples of people who don't sing particularly well but still sing and are accepted by masses of audiences because they communicate from the heart.

Learning to sing is a relative road. There is always a way to improve but this is a noble quest. Being perfect is not. If you were to measure by oscilloscope the wavering of most voices that have been publicly accepted you would find the wavering and inconsistencies
that are prevalent. This goes for so-called "classical" singers as well.

The reason you can't sing is that you expect the impossible of yourself. Also, very few
people really like the way they sing. They may promote themselves to the public but if you asked them candidly, they would probably say the same things you do about your voice.

There are also performances by people on recording that use Antares pitch correction and this may do something to the pitch but sacrifice a "human" level of the voice.

There is another thing. You may not have yet found the right vocal teacher. This teacher should be a singer themselves and know how to produce the physical set-up to create a good sound. They also must have the ability to evaluate your personal vocal level and be able to communicate what needs to be done next to improve.

Finally, you should study acting. This will help your confidence to project in front of an audience and therefore not concentrate on pitch or production but communication.


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Tangledwood
Date: 26 May 10 - 08:22 PM

Guidance from a supportive friend can be more helpful than training in technique and theory. Goodonya Daddy Paul!


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Subject: RE: Why can't I sing?
From: Janie
Date: 26 May 10 - 08:46 PM

What a delightful and thoughtful conversation this thread has been. Ought to be nominated for a "Best of Mudcat" award.

Well said, Stringsinger (and many others.) Very informative.

Happy belated birthday, STM. Sing on.


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