“I can’t sing”…not!

12/27/2020 12:00 AM

    Can you speak? If you can, you can sing. It’s that simple. The act of singing requires that you learn how to control 2 sub-skills. The first is sustaining a word. Say the word “ouch” like you just smashed your toe with a rock. You didn’t sustain “ouch”. Now say “ow” slowly, like you have a throbbing pain that won’t go away. Or whine like a 5-year-old who isn’t getting his way. If you’ve performed the latter 2 vocal tasks, you’ve demonstrated the first basic singing skill: sustaining a vowel. That’s half the skills you need to sing.


    The second skill is the ability to control pitch. (Notice, I did NOT say “match pitch”!) When you ask a question, what happens at the end of your sentence? Your voice goes up. You manipulate the pitch upward to draw attention to the fact that you’re asking a question. (Funny thing is, you learned to do that at such a young age, you don’t remember how you learned to do it. But that’s another issue.)


    So if you can draw attention to the fact that you’re asking a question by raising your pitch at the end of a sentence, or add emphasis to a statement by dropping your pitch at the end of it, then you can control your pitch. And that’s the second essential skill you need for singing.


    Congratulations! If you can do those 2 things, you can sing. That’s all you need to be able to do! And pretty much all of the population who can successfully speak English have already mastered these 2 skills.


    Finally, let me be very clear here: this does not address whether your singing is good or not. It’s very clear that there are plenty of people who sing poorly. They can be taught to sound better, but I’m not talking about those people in this little blurb. This is only about people who have convinced themselves that they “can’t sing” at all. And the point is that if they can speak English, they’re wrong: they can sing!


    Now, if you’re ready to acknowledge that you really can sing, but the real situation is that when you do try to sing, it just sounds terrible, then that’s a different issue. If that’s you, join the club. The woods are full of many who aren’t satisfied with how well we sing. We can do better. And we want to. So if that’s you—you can sing, but if you just want to sing better, that’s a question for another entry. Stay tuned!

The Giles County Community Chorus is an independent, non-profit community organization dedicated to bringing our community together with exciting, progressive choral music.

Copyright © 2020 by the Giles County Community Chorus. All rights reserved.

The Giles County Community Chorus is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

Copyright © 2017 by the Giles County Community Chorus. All rights reserved.