Tone Deaf is a Myth

I have had numerous singing clients come into my music studio at The Lab over the past few months claiming that they really want to sing but can't seem to sing on pitch and think they are simply just "tone deaf". These poor people are living under a delusion and I would like to boldly state here in this blog that I don't believe in the phrase "tone deaf". I know that anyone is capable of singing on pitch provided they have working vocal chords and adequate hearing and training - they just don't know  HOW... yet!

Singing on pitch requires a myriad of very complex synapses to happen in your brain. You need to equate the tones you are hearing either on the piano or guitar or even just the music inside your head with the level of vocal production effort required for you to make that tone match what you are singing. It's like a magnet that finally connects the proper end with a piece of metal - it just 'clicks into place' once you completely match a tone. A lot of things have to fall into place for this to happen; you have to really hear the tone in the first place, you have to match that tone with the place within your vocal register where it lives, you have to produce enough breath and energy to sing the tone evenly and of course, none of this will happen if you don't believe you can do it in the first place.

So many of my vocal students have been damaged early in life by people who have planted seeds of self doubt in their minds. This self doubt of course, becomes a self fulfilling prophecy in the thought process of  "I already know I can't sing... so I won't even TRY to sing". The voice is a muscle of sorts similar to any muscle in the body and if you don't use it, you will most definitely lose it. However, it's just a little trickier than that because we all use our voices every day to talk, to cry, to laugh, to shout so instead of your voice becoming completely mute, it remains functional but the singing component is the one that withers and remains unused. It's so interesting how many of these students can mimic an ambulance siren or a hooting owl but claim they can't sing.

I had a young man come into the studio about 3 weeks ago. He was very nervous and really struggled with the notes that separate his chest register from his upper voice. Throughout the transitions, his pitch would be all over the place and many times, he couldn't place the notes at all. With concentrated work over the course of four 45-minute lessons, he was able to sing a song in its entirety on key with the piano. I had recorded it without him knowing and when I played it back for him, his smile was absolutely priceless. "You see," I said to him, "it's not that you CAN'T... it's just that you HAVEN'T." 

Moments like that are what voice teachers like myself live for. It's such a privilege to help someone on the journey to discovering their own voice.

La-la-la- LOVE your voice!
 

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    Voice Teacher Kelowna specializing in singing, public speaking, spoken word and acting coaching