Can everyone sing or do you have to be born with it? At New York Vocal Coaching, we get asked that question all the time. It's an easy one. The answer is quite simple: YES! Everyone can sing. And not only can everyone sing, everyone needs to sing.
It's funny — you rarely get any lukewarm reactions to singing. If you ask someone if they sing, they will either say: "Yes, I love to sing! I sing in my church choir and my car and my shower and take voice lessons and have a band and am starring in a musical next month!" -or- they will say: "SINGING?! Oh no. Please no! Anything but that! I have the worst voice in the whole world!" You rarely get a middle-of-the-road answer when it comes to singing. There are very few folks out there who, when questioned about singing, will say: "Singing... hmmm... well, I guess I never really thought about it much."
Interestingly, the polarized reactions are really one and the same. The first is from someone who is embracing singing as a part of their life and reaping the benefits from it. The second is a kind of "closeted" singer — someone who would benefit tremendously from singing, but who is afraid to sing for one of several possible reasons. Perhaps they were told as a child that they were off-key or had a bad voice and should quiet down. Maybe they have always wanted to sing, but never found the courage. Maybe they believed the lie that it's one of those things that you have to be born with. Or, maybe it's someone who has dismissed singing from their life because it's not a practical use of their time.
It might not seem practical, but there's a reason why people respond so strongly to the idea of singing. When you sing, you are the instrument. It is you. Your body. Your sound. Your creativity. Your soul. This is what makes singing so expressive and so personal. It is also what makes it so vulnerable and so intimidating. Singing is one of the most spiritual and emotionally liberating acts in which one can ever participate. It doesn't matter whether it's done publicly or privately, on a Broadway stage or in the shower, with master precision or just with earnest intentions. Singing is something that is a vital part of our humanity.
I would argue that singing, even done in a small and humble way, is an essential part of living a rich and full human experience. Perhaps some may disagree, but I feel that most of us wouldn't want to leave earth without having sung at least one song in gratitude for this life or simply having experienced the joy of being able to make such noble sounds - whether glorious or modest to our own ears. I base this conclusion on the countless occasions on which I have seen vocal growth correspond directly with spiritual and inner-growth in my students, my staff, my colleagues, and myself. In fact, I have seen this with anyone I have ever known who has been so bold as to start calling themselves: a singer.
"But, Justin. You can't deny that some people have a God-given gift! There are most certainly singers that are exceptional and others that are just not." That's true. I can't deny this. However, a good way to think of this is to compare singing with athletics. No can argue against the fact that there are individuals who are simply more physically gifted than others. There are star athletes who were destined to perform at an elite caliber. The voice works the same way. Some people's voices, for whatever reason, just naturally have more capability than others. However, this does not mean that every other voice is useless! That's like saying that if you are not a top athlete you ought to pig out. Eat whatever you want. Never exercise. C'mon... just let yourself go!
Of course not. Even if not everyone is a gifted athlete, everyone has the ability to stay in shape and to look their best. But, they have to believe they can and they have to try. Similarly, everyone has the ability to have a beautiful and skillful voice. The truth is, singing is just like any other instrument and needs to be studied and practiced over several years in order to master. This is the biggest reason that anyone can learn it. If one is willing to work hard, practice, and study, just about anyone can become a good singer. Great instruction is helpful in most cases, but there are others who have learned quite a bit on their own. In either case, though, those who dedicate themselves to their singing can expect to see very positive and encouraging results- vocally and otherwise.
The problem is, singers and self-proclaimed "non-singers" alike are often rather discouraged about their voices. This discouragement leads to a sort of vocal malaise and a sense that it's hopeless to even attempt to strive toward that beautiful thing that is deep inside us. Maybe there's one voice inside that will tell you to sing and another voice that will tell you that that's foolishness, the scariest proposition ever, or just a waste of time. I can't tell you which voice you should listen to. But, I can tell you which one I've chosen. And, I can promise that it leads to miraculous things. No matter what's best for your vocal journey, I do hope that this, the first of our Vocal Articles, helps make clear that if you want to sing, you absolutely CAN sing. No doubt and no question about it.
At New York Vocal Coaching, our staff is committed to helping singers and speakers all over the world to discover this potential. In fact, we've devoted our lives to it. This is the first of many Vocal Articles and we plan to bring you many, many more. Vocal Articles is a free resource to singers and speakers from all around the world. If you have questions that you would like to have answered in a vocal article by a member of our voice or speech staff, please send an e-mail to Questions@VocalArticles.com. For free video resources, you can also check out Voice Lessons To The World (www.VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com) or VLTTW on YouTube (www.YouTube.com/NewYorkVocalCoaching). For info on training and lessons, please visit our company websites at www.NewYorkVocalCoaching.com and www.NewYorkSpeechCoaching.com .
Again, I hope that this first of our Vocal Articles helps you to know that YES- you can get where you want to be with your voice. If you are willing to take risks and to go after that which inspires you, your vocal goals are something that you can (and probably must) achieve. Take courage, live inspired, and keep working hard on your voice. We believe in you and hope that Vocal Articles and New York Vocal Coaching can play a part in your journey toward vocal success!