There are 4 simple ways to go about learning if you can sing. One way is to simply record yourself singing and judge the playback. You'll probably be surprised by what you hear back, especially when it comes to your speaking voice. Don't be alarmed and expect perfection, but you will possibly have a good idea of if you can sing or not once you hear it.
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Another way is to get someone close to you like a friend or family member to listen to you. This way could prove difficult for two reasons, the first is that you'll be a little nervous and feel awkward trying to show your singing skills if you're not used to singing at all, especially in front of someone else. The other problem is that they may not want to hurt your feeling and won't give you objective feedback.
The third way to go about it is to ask the opinion (and possibly pay) of a stranger who does not know you but has a good ear for music and singing. This can also be nerve-wracking, even more so than it can be with someone you know. A good way to get around this is to record yourself and then send it to the music professional to shake out all the nerves.
I often hear people saying that anyone can learn how to sing so long as they try hard enough. In theory, it checks out. They say anyone can learn a new language, anyone can learn how to play an instrument, etc. All you have to do is put in enough hours of practice in order to perfect your craft. At any new thing, you would start off sucking at it and not knowing what you’re doing, right?
In theory, it’s all true. Like other skills, you can learn to sing. Especially if you’re at a young enough age to soak up the info and retain it better than an adult would, you have a good chance of being a good singer. You can learn how to sing, you can learn how to read music, you can learn music theory, and music history, plus be pretty well-versed in how music operates.
Related Post: Read about What Makes A Good Singer.
There’s one small problem that might set you back so far that the whole learning process would be pretty close to pointless. It all boils down to your ear.
Instrumentalists and vocalists both have to go through a process called ear training if they’re learning the ropes in a school setting. With ear training, you are training your ear to understand scales, chords, and the magic that really makes song structure come to life.
While instrumentalists are likely to do better at this form of training than singers are, it is still possible to get very good at music on an instrument while being bad at ear training. The reason behind this is that instead of using your voice as an instrument, you have set fingering positions, notes, keys, buttons, or whatever to push on your instrument. With vocal performance, on the other hand, you have to pull that solely from your ear skill.
There are several really helpful music books that can teach you the basics of music theory and ear training! I shared some of the best music theory books for beginners in this post.
Being tone deaf means exactly what it sounds like it means. You can’t hear tones correctly. Now, a tone-deaf instrumentalist will still be able to see the notes that need to be hit, so they won’t be too crippled by their inability to hear the right notes, even though it will still suck and be a challenge for them!
As a singer or aspiring singer, if you are tone-deaf, it’s literally like trying to swim out in the deep sea with no life jacket. There is nothing for you to fall back on or hold on to, and you are at high risk of singing terribly. I know it sucks, but I just want to be honest here!
First, find a person that is definitely not tone-deaf that will be able to judge your tone properly. Second, find an instrument or phone app that will play an instrument, and get your non-tone deaf friend to play a variety of pitches for you that you must immediately match. How accurately you are able to match these random pitches will easily show your non-tone-deaf friend where you stand.
First off, let me lower your stress levels by saying NO! It will be an uphill battle for you, but you are not completely out of the game if you find out you have issues with matching pitch.
My best friend, one of my favorite singers that I met in high school was tone-deaf when we met. I can still picture that day I found out perfectly. We were all in a room nervous about upcoming auditions for the high school chamber choir that were taking place after school.
While the regular choir was great to be in and got a lot of performance opportunities, the chamber choir was the premiere choir that got to sing all the cool, challenging music and got to be on display as the best of the best. In order to pass the auditions for the chamber choir, you had to be really good at pitch matching and ear training.
The auditions were open for everyone to hear and we were grouped at 3 singers per audition, so my tone-deaf friend Deon, my other friend from middle school who’s even better at singing than me, and I were in the spotlight, ready to pitch match.
Deon went first, and the school pianist began playing random notes for him to match. He wasn’t hearing any of those notes correctly at all, to our surprise. He has such a unique and beautiful voice, but he just was not able to hear that piano!
While he was embarrassed and not able to make the chamber cut that year, he buckled down and really deep-dived into getting his ear skill up. I encouraged him, but in the back of my head, I’m thinking, “It’s not possible to tone-deaf then just suddenly be a blessing to hear…”, but lo and behold, a couple of years later, Deon got way better at it. It wasn’t perfect, he was still having trouble hearing, especially chords and harmonies, but the progress was obvious!
Deon got into chamber choir 3 years later and went on to strengthen his ear every year since. Now, he complains that it’s still a challenge for him to hear pitches sometimes, and he often compares his ear to mine (which isn’t fair because I was blessed with the ears of a jazz God or something) but he still is making it happen and does it well!
So with all that being said, yes, anyone can learn how to sing if they put enough hard work into the many different elements of singing, including ear training. Are there some people whose ear is unfixable? Maybe, but there’s only one way for you to find out. Try!
Related Post: How Long Does It Take To Get Good At Singing?
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, features, nursery rhymes, and DJ drops, she currently spends her time engulfed in creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her most recent creative collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest music releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share the music if you like it!
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