As a vocal teacher for over 30 years, I have many people ask the question: Can anyone learn how to sing? This question does not have any easy yes or no answer. Everyone can sing but the question that needs to be asked is can they sing on key or pitch? And can they learn to do so and be able to sing a song?
Firstly I like to do a voice evaluation with the potential student to determine just where they are vocally. I ask questions such as if they grew up in a musical environment, have they learned an instrument or are they new to music with no background of formal training but love music.
Singing is all about listening. So I will take them through some scales to see if they can match the pitch and if they can sing lower or higher. I will play chords and ask them to pick out how many notes they hear.This helps me know where to start them in a vocal class.
Many people who have difficulty singing are trying to sing with their “talking ” voice which is typically lower than our singing voice. So students need to be taught how to relax their throat and use proper breathing technique to allow their voices to “SING”
Singing is a skill and will need to be worked on daily with vocal exercises to stretch and strengthen the voice. Motor skills, muscle strength, co-ordination can all be built over time with proper training.
A great vocal coach is essential to be able to train your voice. Having set exercises to do weekly, ear training and proper song selections for your voice quality will help you to sing well and enjoy your voice! The teacher should send you sound files of vocal exercises to practice, have a sight reading book to develop your ear and reading music and develop a list of songs to work on that match your voice quality and range. Having a teacher that is flexible with your learning goals and open to your song suggestions will make the learning enjoyable.
So can anyone learn how to sing? Yes if you are willing to put time and effort into practicing. Taking a piano class can also help develop tonality and assist in understanding the language of music. Developing yourself into a well rounded musical student will provide you with the confidence to be a great singer.
Angie Money is a Vocal Coach and the Director of Edmonton Academy of Music