Can Anyone Sing?

I can’t tell you how many times a student has told me that, at some point in their life, some elementary music teacher or other person has told them that they can’t sing. People can hold on to that negative belief for a long time.

I recently had a shy but talented singer/bass player tell me that when he was in his twenties, a bandmate told him that he couldn’t sing and should give up trying. He took it to heart and sang only to himself for many years.

One day he felt brave enough to schedule some voice lessons. It took a little bit of time and practice, but now he sings with confidence. He always had a good voice, I just helped him bring it out.

A lot of the stories I hear from students have to do with a music teacher (usually in elementary school) who told them to “just lip sync” instead of joining the rest of the class in song. My own father is one of these people. He still insists that he can’t sing, but I don’t believe it.

There is no telling the musical potential of a child. Adults too can make dramatic improvements with guidance and practice.

This brings me to the question at hand –

Can Anyone Sing? Or more specifically, can anyone sing well?

For 98% of you, singing is a skill that can be mastered with practice and guidance.

Only about 2% of the population is considered “tone deaf”. People who are tone deaf can’t hear the difference between pitches.

Here’s an example of me playing and then singing three distinct pitches. Can you hear the difference? Can you tell which pitches are higher or lower?

Check out this helpful tool from our friends at

I believe that even people considered “tone deaf” can learn to recognize pitch and sing more in tune with a lot of focused daily practice. It’s not easy, but it’s possible.

Learning the piano is extremely helpful for people who have a very difficult time matching pitch. Sitting down at the piano everyday and doing pitch matching exercises can lead to major improvement.

An even smaller percentage of the population suffers from something called music aphasia. This is super rare. For someone who has music aphasia, music just sounds like random (and sometimes unpleasant) sounds- like pots and pans banging against each other.

People with music aphasia don’t like listening to music. The brilliant neurologist and author Oliver Sacks discusses music aphasia in his incredible book “Musicophilia”

A lot of people assume that singing is just a God given talent- either you have it or you don’t. This is not the case. Singing is also a skill that can be developed with practice, just like any other instrument.

If you feel like you have a singing voice and need some help developing it, search out voice lessons in your area or try skype lessons online.

The joy of singing is something everyone should experience.

Enjoy your practice and see you next time!



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