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'I can't sing!'

Andy7 02 Jun 16 - 07:23 PM
khandu 02 Jun 16 - 11:31 PM
Joe Offer 03 Jun 16 - 12:08 AM
MGM·Lion 03 Jun 16 - 01:51 AM
Will Fly 03 Jun 16 - 03:51 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Jun 16 - 04:36 AM
Johnny J 03 Jun 16 - 05:39 AM
GUEST,Grishka 03 Jun 16 - 06:25 AM
MGM·Lion 03 Jun 16 - 07:23 AM
MGM·Lion 03 Jun 16 - 07:27 AM
mkebenn 03 Jun 16 - 07:46 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Jun 16 - 08:01 AM
leeneia 04 Jun 16 - 12:12 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Jun 16 - 02:58 AM
Will Fly 04 Jun 16 - 04:13 AM
Ernest 04 Jun 16 - 05:24 AM
Leadfingers 04 Jun 16 - 10:03 AM
Johnny J 04 Jun 16 - 10:13 AM
MGM·Lion 04 Jun 16 - 10:43 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Jun 16 - 11:42 AM
GUEST 04 Jun 16 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,E 04 Jun 16 - 07:52 PM
GUEST,Ebor Fiddler 05 Jun 16 - 12:47 PM
leeneia 06 Jun 16 - 09:28 AM
GUEST 06 Jun 16 - 09:55 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Jun 16 - 11:00 AM
Johnny J 06 Jun 16 - 11:22 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Jun 16 - 11:42 AM
mkebenn 06 Jun 16 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,Peter 06 Jun 16 - 06:18 PM
MGM·Lion 07 Jun 16 - 01:16 AM
melodeonboy 07 Jun 16 - 06:22 AM
Johnny J 07 Jun 16 - 07:20 AM
mkebenn 07 Jun 16 - 07:51 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 07 Jun 16 - 09:24 AM
Pete from seven stars link 07 Jun 16 - 04:41 PM
Andy7 07 Jun 16 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,Severn 07 Jun 16 - 06:09 PM
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Subject: 'I like music, but I just can't sing!'
From: Andy7
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 07:23 PM

"I like music, but I just can't sing."

How many thousands of times have I heard someone say this, when they find out what I do as a hobby?

What a tragedy! Almost everyone can sing, and should sing if they want to!

I don't sing particularly well, when compared with many other singers; but why do people feel they have to keep their mouths closed, if they can't match the very best singers in the world?

It really does sadden me, that in our modern society, we seem to have reserved such a natural and beautiful human activity as singing, just for those that have the very best voices!


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: khandu
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 11:31 PM

Amen to that! There is joy in letting the melody in you come out through your voice. We all cannot sing as good as Dylan or Kristofferson (😝), but we can open our hearts and mouths and let it fly!

Shout! Sing! You're alive!

That's something to sing about!

k


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Jun 16 - 12:08 AM

I think that most people aren't stars when they sing individually, but most people sound terrific when they sing in a group. So, sing with others and let the music flow from your heart. Once you've sung with others for a good while, you'll found you can sound pretty good on your own when you need to.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Jun 16 - 01:51 AM

I have a cousin who literally cannot sing. If he tries, it just sounds as if he is talking at a slightly unusual pitch, without a trace of any sort of rhythm or melody. We are the same age, and were for a while at school together, and this condition has not varied his entire life. Such complete inability to perform any sort of act that could be defined by anyone as singing in any shape or form is probably quite rare, but I am here to tell you that it unquestionably does exist.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: Will Fly
Date: 03 Jun 16 - 03:51 AM

Michael, I know someone who sounds exactly like your cousin and, in fact, raised his example in a thread I opened recently about giving him advice on singing. I got lots of good advice, but I very much doubt that he'll be able to apply any of it.

Doubly sad, as his guitar playing has really improved, and he's now able to perform without a crib in front of him.


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Jun 16 - 04:36 AM

Very few people, in my experience "cannot sing" - the idea seems to have come from an education system that set a bunch of rules as to what good singing was and rejected those who didn't meet up to those rules - I, like many, was one of those who was given something else to do while the 'singers' got on with it.
I started to sing in clubs in the early 1960s and am still doing so - off tonight to 'not sing' three or four songs in the local 'not singaround'.
Some people come to singing quicker than others, others have to work at it a bit harder.
If you find it difficult, get help; I'm not sold on the idea of singing teachers - two many pitfalls - but I've found the best method is the self-help group of like-minded people who are prepared to spend time helping one another.
I was privileged to have been a member of the somewhat 'rarefied' Critics Group for a few years and had advanced enough in my singing to benefit greatly from the time I spent in it.
Shortly after I joined, Sandra Kerr, at the suggestion of Ewan MacColl, set up a group for new singers, which became 'The London Singers Workshop' and ran for nearly twenty years, making silk purses out of sows ears simply by friendly criticism from the group as a whole which enabled the development of self criticism, alongside voice and relaxation exercises.
Most people can become singers quite easily; becoming a fair to middling singers takes a little more time and effort, becoming a good singer requires dedication, time and effort.
We have spent over thirty years recording 'non-singers' - people who didn't regard themselves as singers but who gave us many hundreds of songs; farmers, fishermen, Travellers..... all, in my opinion, who brought beauty and a degree of skill to the type songs I still love, still sing and still listen to after having been introduced to them over half a century ago.
Anybody who hasn't got something physically wrong with the that prevents them from doing so, can sing if they are prepared to put in the work - the more work, the better the singer you'll become.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: Johnny J
Date: 03 Jun 16 - 05:39 AM

Everyone has the potential to sing (And play music) but not all are natural performers or necessarily have the inclination to do so.

Unfortunately, many people are "coaxed" and pushed forward before they are ready or "encouraged" to perform in situations which very uncomfortable for them. Things may not work out very well for them even if they do get a respectful hearing(not always) and this can put them off in the future.

I'm all for people singing naturally and in situations where they feel comfortable but, please, don't force them to do so. Moreover, we should always want to sing and play music because we love it and not just to seek attention..IMHO.


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 03 Jun 16 - 06:25 AM

There are many possible reasons why some people say they cannot sing. Some would like to learn it, most would not. Those who would not, often deem amateur singing a freaky or ridiculous pursuit, similar to, say, nudism.

A welcome side effect of those horrible "casting shows" is that the prestige of singing has risen considerably. Unfortunately, many watchers get the idea that it is reserved to people who "got talent", and that all others will be ridiculed actively. School teachers still have a lot of work to do; so have other role models and mass media.


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Jun 16 - 07:23 AM

Jim -- Not sure what you mean by 'physically wrong with them'. The cousin I described in my last post literally could not sing a note under any sort of encouragement or instruction; but as for 'physically wrong with him', he was a good footballer as a young man, and was in St Paul's School first boxing team for three years, and never lost a match! I suppose that having vocal cords that could not form a melody could be so construed, but it seems a bit overstated to me.

And Johnny J, he has not 'the potential to sing', whatever you might mean by 'Everyone'. He is as capable of singing, in any meaningful sense of the word, as I am of running a mile in three minutes

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Jun 16 - 07:27 AM

And Will, it appears your acquaintance, whom you compare to my cousin, does endeavour to perform in public. My cousin would as soon think of trying to jump off a high building and hoping to fly.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: mkebenn
Date: 03 Jun 16 - 07:46 AM

I am in agreement with pretty much everyone. Having been one who tried out for chorus when in grade school and was handed a pair of sticks and told to sit on the "group W" bench, I've often wondered what a little instruction in breathing would have done for me. No matter, I've always loved to sing, and haven't let lack of natural ability stop me. As to Joe's point about group singing,my best friend couldn't find a tune with the world's best GPS, but at a party with kara-yucky, I coerced him in to singing Stewart's "Daydream Believer" with me, and he didn't sound any worse than I did. Damn the torpedoes and all that! SING OUT. Mike


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Jun 16 - 08:01 AM

"Not sure what you mean by 'physically wrong with them'. "
Maybe 'physically' is the wrong word Mike.
The vast majority of people, from the earliest age, are able to learn to copy singing and to make notes relate to one another to make them into a tune.
I don't understand 'tone deafness' but thought it was a physical problem (might be wrong about that)
I have been told it occurs in a small number of people, but quite often it has been claimed by people without any evidence - an excuse, if you like.
We had several singers in our workshop who claimed 'tone-deafness' without exception, they left singing.
Anybody who thinks they have a real problem should sek advice before they diagnose themselves.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: leeneia
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 12:12 AM

I agree. Good for your choir, Jim.


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 02:58 AM

"I agree. Good for your choir, Jim."
Thank you Leenia - though have never been part of a choir - never been particularly interested in choral music unless it was some of the breathtakingly beautiful polyphonic singing found in the tradition (the sound of the Genoese longshoremen still make my hair stand on end).
Tralaliri
The solo, unaccompanied voice is, in my opinion, the most basic, beautiful and versatile of all musical instruments and it's within the reach of all of us.
MONGOLIAN THROAT SINGING
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 04:13 AM

And Will, it appears your acquaintance, whom you compare to my cousin, does endeavour to perform in public.

He does - at singarounds and open mics. He's a good chap and has tried very hard but...


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: Ernest
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 05:24 AM

There are two kinds of people: one kind can sing, the other isn`t drunk enough yet..... ;0)


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: Leadfingers
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 10:03 AM

I have a lot of friends who don't have ANY desire to sing either solo 0r in a small group , but are quite happy to drone along in a chorus song . the more they join in , the easier it gets for them , so NEVER discourage anyone from joining in !


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: Johnny J
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 10:13 AM

MGM Lion,

I may have been exaggerating or over generalising and accept that there will be some exceptions including those who may have some physical problems with their vocal chords or other disability.

There are, of course, many people who cannot sing very well and not everyone is going to achieve the same standard. That doesn't mean that they shouldn't sing, of course. Nor that they should either....
Also, what is pleasing to one ear might seriously upset another listener and, of course, we all have our favourites. Often, I may prefer to listen to somebody whom is not necessarily the best of singers but not enjoy another technically better performer.

Anyway, I think the vast majority of us are capable of making some kind of noise or other which could pass off as singing. We should all be allowed and encouraged to do so within reason. In the appropriate circumstances, of course. ;-))


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 10:43 AM

Certainly won't disagree with any of that, JJ.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 11:42 AM

"so NEVER discourage anyone from joining in !"
Unless they do so on a song witHout a chorus - then they become a pain-in-the-arse!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 06:15 PM

I spent 50 years being told "You can not sing...dance"by my family.A friend who is a voice coach eventually pinpointed the problem .As a dwarf I have a high voice and it does not harmonise with normal height people's voices so I struggle to join in. So no choirs for me.However I can "competently" sing solo if I work hard on the tune . However the local dogs and those of nervous dispositions do not always like the results.


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: GUEST,E
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 07:52 PM

"Bobby Dylan has a voice much like a dawg with its hahnd leg wrapped up in barbed waar" - Doug Dillard. Dylan's skill lies not in the beauty of his voice, which is non-existent, but in the construction of his songs and the rhythmic force with which he sings them. If Dylan can - YOU can!

Chris B.


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: GUEST,Ebor Fiddler
Date: 05 Jun 16 - 12:47 PM

Whoops! That was me.


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: leeneia
Date: 06 Jun 16 - 09:28 AM

Well then , Jim, if people in the London Singer's Workshop didn't sing together, what did they do?

Thanks for the link to the Genoese singers. That's impressive music.


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jun 16 - 09:55 AM

Perhaps a different perspective: I don't think I can sing and nobody is ever going to hear me sing. Right from a very early age, primary school, I did not like being made to sing with the rest of the class.

A few years ago at a night with a lot of singers present the host asked me to sing. I told her I wouldn't, couldn't and didn't want to. She was slightly taken aback I think and maybe a bit insulted by my refusal and continued on for five minutes to get me to sing. That sort of thing makes me Very Uncomfortable and I wish people would not do that. I enjoy listening to (solo) singers a lot. But please realise not everybody has the desire to be a singer or harbours a wish to sing in public.


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jun 16 - 11:00 AM

"Well then , Jim, if people in the London Singer's Workshop didn't sing together, what did they do?"
You name it.
Basically, we got singers who wished us to work on their singing yo perform say three contrasting songs - the group discussed the performance, basically on around the question of whether they enjoyed it or not and suggested ways of improvement - the sessions were chaired so that both positive and negative aspects of the performance were covered and that the most important aspects were concentrated on so singers didn't end being snowed under by too much work.
Individuals within the group offered to spend time working one-to-one in their own spare time to overcome particular difficulties.
Sounds daunting - it wasn't after the first time and if you could face a critical audience like that once you would never be nervous singing in front of an audience again.
Then relaxation and voice exercises, listening to some of the radio progrrammes we had in our archives (The Song Carriers was a favourite), accompaniment sessions.... then more work.
We had a seperaate small singaround session for the group members on a separate night.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: Johnny J
Date: 06 Jun 16 - 11:22 AM

Guest says " But please realise not everybody has the desire to be a singer or harbours a wish to sing in public. "

I agree and that's what I was suggesting in an earlier post.
It can be off putting sometimes even attending a singaround when people are pushing or coaxing you to sing and don't want to take "No" for an answer. Even if you do sing or have done in the past, it doesn't mean that you should always feel obliged to do so.
Sometimes you might want to miss a turn but, if you do, the host invariably gets "huffy" and doesn't ask you again.


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jun 16 - 11:42 AM

"coaxing you to sing and don't want to take"
I agree entirely with this, and not just singing.
Where we live in Ireland, there used to be a wonderful dancing venue on Sunday nights where music was played, local set dances were danced and singing was included - all by mainly elderly locals.
We bacame very friendly with the lovely lady who ran the bar, a superb set-dancer, then in her late sixties, and for years she tried to get me to join the set - I have no sense of physical rhythm whatever.
I regularly insisted I could not dance, until one night I had run out of excuses and allowed her to drag me onto the floor.
The dancers carefully explained the steps and the torture began.
At the end of the set, Nell escorted me back to the table and whispered in my ear, "you can't dance, can you?"
She never asked me again and she and her husband remain close friends long after their lovely bar closed.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: mkebenn
Date: 06 Jun 16 - 02:33 PM

I think of singing like cooking. LOTS of people do it better than I, but I haven't made anyone sick yet. Mike


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 06 Jun 16 - 06:18 PM

It can be off putting sometimes even attending a singaround when people are pushing or coaxing you to sing and don't want to take "No" for an answer. Even if you do sing or have done in the past, it doesn't mean that you should always feel obliged to do so.
+1


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 07 Jun 16 - 01:16 AM

It is unmannerly, surely, "not to take 'no' for an answer". I think the right thing would be to reply, politely, something like "I really don't feel like singing today. What difference will it make to anybody's life if I don't?" Or maybe just to plead a sore throat!

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: melodeonboy
Date: 07 Jun 16 - 06:22 AM

I think it's more an issue of culture than talent. As I understand it, you'd find far fewer people in South Africa, for example, who said they couldn't sing than you would in Britain.
For most people in Britain, music is a consumer product, not a participatory activity. It has reached the stage where singing is viewed as almost embarrassing, unless it's performed by "artists" who are singing from behind a microphone or on recorded formats, or at karaoke evenings where the audience can take delight in how badly the singer is performing. How often have you heard someone tell you that they sing in their car (when alone!) or in the shower? The desire is probably there, but there is a cultural resistance to it.


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: Johnny J
Date: 07 Jun 16 - 07:20 AM

" unless it's performed by "artists" who are singing from behind a microphone or on recorded formats "

This is another thing which bugs me these days. Even in the folk and acoustic music scene, the trend seems to be towards "Open Mics" and "Stages". Less people seem to want to go to sessions and/or singarounds and sing or play in a less formal setting. It seems that they need to have an audience.

This is often unfair for both the performers themselves and their audiences. The former are often pushing themselves or being pushed into performing situations when they are either not ready or up to it. Audiences then feel obliged to sit and listen to mediocre acts although many of the actual singers don't even bother to hang around after they've done their bit. So, they can often be pretty sparse.

There is, of course, a place for live concerts even at amateur level but I prefer music and song as a sharing experience. Something you do with people and not "AT" them. By all means progress to something more formal when you are ready but, even then, it should be something you really want.


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: mkebenn
Date: 07 Jun 16 - 07:51 AM

I've sat and traded songs with another person on occasion, but never a group. I believe I'd enjoy that. Mike


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 07 Jun 16 - 09:24 AM

[i]Less people seem to want to go to sessions and/or singarounds and sing or play in a less formal setting.[/i]

It seems to me these are also settings with an audience, perhaps a less formal setting but nonetheless..

I very much prefer playing music with friends at a private location, at home for example without interference from the drinkers and the talkers.


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: Pete from seven stars link
Date: 07 Jun 16 - 04:41 PM

I do singarounds and open mics, and sometimes there is little difference other than the microphone. Often the audience is the other performers. Either way we ought to encourage each other, in my opinion. I have noticed there are some who hardly ever listen to others and leave soon after wowing everyone present, as johnny mentioned. Of course, in a singaround they will stay to do another song , but don't seem to take an interest in any other performance.   If someone in a session don't want to sing , I am grateful that they are probably there to listen. Having said all that, there are a lot that do listen, and where I go ,we encourage everyone who does a turn.


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: Andy7
Date: 07 Jun 16 - 04:46 PM

At singarounds, and at open mikes, there's also a judgement to be made when it's your turn to sing... is the mood right for a solo song that people will enjoy listening to, or is it time for an 'old favourite' chorus song that everyone will join in?

Both have their time and place.


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Subject: RE: 'I can't sing!'
From: GUEST,Severn
Date: 07 Jun 16 - 06:09 PM

Always come in to a sing with several songs in mind, to respond to what's been sung before and to not be flustered if you're one song's been taken. Talk to those at your table, if possible, to see whose songs can set up the other's at the table.

I never much cared for my voice, but after a while of coming out in support of a friend, someone got me to try, and luckily, the songs I chose were interesting enough that it bought me time for my voice to catch up. At a certain point, I engaged the aid of a friend who was an excellent voice teacher and can hold my own at a sing and have sung at a number of festivals and co-led workshops. I am going to try doing a radio show with a partner.

It may be just something I do as a hobby, but it turns out that, to my surprise, my voice is somewhat serviceable after all....


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