Contrary to popular belief, most people have the basics needed in order to become decent singers. Do you think you have what it takes to be a good singer?
Sean Hutchins, director of research for the Royal Conservatory, said to The Guardian, "Only around 2 percent of the human population doesn't possess the skills needed to determine the right pitch to perform a song."
When you think about it, most people do seem to be able to carry a tune. Have you ever tried to sing a simple song like Happy Birthday in a large crowd? Notice how only a few people will be way out of tune.
You may be wondering, if 98% of the population in the world has the ability to become a great singer, then why are there prodigies and certain few people that are referred to as the greatest of all time?
It really boils down to how smartly they trained their skills and how many hours they dedicated to their craft.
If you are taking lessons and studying music effectively in addition to practicing consistently, you can be one of the next people that the world will place among the greatest singers of all time.
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While most of us have the capability to sing, only a very small percentage of us will have the natural talent to start singing and automatically be good at it. We all have varying levels of musical inclination depending on a variety of factors.
Studies show that children exposed to music education earlier in life have an easier time when it comes to ear training in music theory and performance classes.
Your ear for music is likely to be influenced by your environment but may also have genetic influences.
But you will need to practice and study correctly in order to be at the point where your voice and your vocal control are sonically pleasing, and some people can't teach themselves that.
You may have seen singing competition shows like American Idol, where a contestant had tons of passion and a huge dream, but sounded pretty bad in terms of vocal technique.
This is due to the fact that they are tone-deaf, not well-practiced, or both.
People who are tone-deaf (around 2% of the population) are not able to hear pitches at all. This can make it difficult to become a singer since you will have a tough go at singing the right notes in a song, and they will go sharp or flat.
This is a quality that a surprisingly huge number of people have. Have you ever been singing along to music with a large crowd and noticed that a lot of them sounded pretty good?
Most people have a pretty decent singing voice by default in life, whether they take it seriously and practice it or not.
Good singers have a pleasing tone (AKA timbre) to a large number of listeners' ears. There will always be a small number of people that won't like your voice if you get enough exposure, so don't stress too much if you have a few haters here and there as a singer.
Singing is all about hearing the music correctly. If you're singing and don't know how to sing on pitch or think you're on the right pitch, but you notice your audience looks troubled, you may not have a good musical ear.
Even without formal training, good singers are likely to have a naturally good ear and be able to match the key of any song their singing or humming along to.
Even if they're singing off-key, they can quickly notice it. It's all a part of the magic of music; people can feel and understand the foundation of its art without knowing how or why they understand it.
Now I don't want to make it sound like tone-deaf people can't appreciate music. The good thing about music is, whether you have the technical ear for it or not, it can still be a delightful form of entertainment that we can all hear well enough to benefit from.
Hearing is the first step, and without having a good ear for music, you will find it hard to be able to control if you're in key or not.
Decent singers are able to identify the right pitches when performing a song, but getting your voice on the same page as your ear is critical in becoming a good singer.
It's one thing to be able to hear the right pitches to sing, but another thing to be able to control your vocals enough to be able to hit the right notes consistently. Control is all about consistency here, which leads to the next quality.
I've probably stressed this point enough already, but all good singers take the journey far past the point of just having a nice tone and good ear in order to truly become good.
You can't just have the basics of something and automatically master good vocal control, no matter how many natural talents are in the mix.
Ever heard of putting in your 10,000 hours to become good at something? What hour are you on in your journey to become good?
When I was around 10, I had a lovely singing voice and a naturally great ear, thanks to my family, church, and my personal music collection.
Yet, I was not quite a good singer. I had really just started practicing getting good around this time, and it was a long uphill battle full of bad notes, missed lyrics, and bad technique.
Gain experience with self-help, formal training, and practicing consistently. It's very simple to do in theory but can be a challenge to do!
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While the qualities above will land you a good singer slot in the music world, you shouldn't stop at just becoming good. Here are a few more qualities you'll want to start considering in the future once you hit your first goal of becoming good.
Breath Support - Great singers have a handle on breathing techniques that allow them to sing through long phrases and hold out long notes more efficiently than most good singers.
Enunciation - Lyrical clarity is a big quality that sets great singers apart from the rest. Singers often get caught up in the melodic parts of their talents and leave out the simple yet essential art of clearly communicating the lyrical content.
Emotional Range - Advanced singers can often mimic voice actors' talents when they put enough work into their craft. Singing with the proper emotion can turn a good voice into an absolutely killer voice that must be heard over and over again.
Vocal Acrobatics - Call them runs, melismas, riffs, or trills; great singers love showing off their musical ear and vocal control with ornamental singing.
Thanks to technology, I've found a cool little way to put together a quiz to share with people online who are wondering about their singing capabilities.
The way to get the most accurate feedback is to sing for someone or send them a recording of your voice, but I have a fun quiz that I think the real singers out there will be able to pass with flying colors.
See how you'll score on my singing ability quiz below!
Be sure to send me your singing voice for review if you want detailed and tailored feedback on your singing abilities.
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 300 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!
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