As a voice coach and singing teacher the question that I am asked the most is: “Can everyone sing?” My answer is a resounding yes! Singing is simply the playing of an instrument located within the body.
If all the required parts are working, you can sing and even then I have taught some inspiring students that despite flawed body parts were able to sing, one deaf client even recorded an album!
I believe the question people are actually asking is “Are we all capable of making a sound that is aesthetically pleasing?”, my reply would be “Aesthetically pleasing to whom”? The sound we want to make will be as individual as we are, and what we think sounds good will be the culmination of cultural, familial, educational and social influences. I believe as a vocal coach my role is not to make aesthetic judgements, my role is to to teach people how to master the mechanisms of their vocal instrument in a way that they can then play it the way they choose.
Playing the vocal instrument is a skill that can be learned like any other. Practice anything, deliberately and mindfully, for long enough and you will master the skill. Criticism is a massive inhibitor of progress whether it is self criticism or from an external source. I am saddened at how many people do not sing because someone once told them that they could not.
I am exceedingly grateful that I am stubborn and did not follow the misguided advice of teachers and authority figures in my life that were critical and discouraging of my singing and of me pursuing it as a vocation. On some level I internalised this damaging criticism, it took me many years to overcome but stronger still was a deep rooted desire to sing. I am equally grateful for the wonderfully encouraging and patient teachers who taught me how to hone the skill of singing. Like many of my clients I have found music theory intimating and at times confusing, but music is not notes on a page, it is sounds made with an instrument that we all have access to.
The voice is an instrument that is free, we all own one, you can take it with you where ever you go. Only our mind set can stop us learning and playing our instrument, a practice that is fulfilling, brings joy and is so beneficial to our health.
Find your voice. Emmanuella