Debunking 5 Singing Myths
Among all musicians, singers are probably the most admired of them all.
I strongly believe that everyone can learn to sing to the best of their ability.
You do not have to sound like Elvis Presley or Ariana Grande to enjoy singing and be praised for your voice.
Using the correct techniques, you can be the best singer you can be.
Here are 5 myths when it comes to singing:
Myth #1: You have to start young to be a good singer
Although starting young can give you more time to develop your voice, it is never too late to learn singing.
If your voice is healthy, then you can learn to use it properly.
Your voice is a part of your body. It is made up of muscles, cartilages, ligaments and tendons.
Just like the rest of your body, you can train those parts of your throat to make pleasant sounds.
It is not easy though, because your instrument is inside of your body.
You cannot see or touch it. So, you need to feel and visualize it.
If you have a learning mindset and are willing to embrace the uncertainty and emotional discomfort that comes with learning to sing well, then it is never too late to learn singing.
In my experience of teaching singing lessons, the older the student, the more rigid their thinking. It was difficult for them to improve not because of their lack of talent. It was because they were too stubborn and unwilling to change their negative thought patterns.
Fortunately, not all of my older students are like that. Those who have a learning mindset improve rapidly despite their age.
Myth #2: You have to sing high to be a good singer
You do not have to be a high voice to be a good singer.
Yes, it is true that a lot of famous singers sing quite high.
There are lower voices who are famous as well.
- Barry White
- Lady Gaga
A lot of them use advanced techniques like twang and belting to make their voice sound higher than it actually is.
What matters is you make the best of what you have.
Get the best possible tone and expression from the notes in your range and people will admire you for it.
We are all born with a certain vocal range. This is determined by our vocal folds length, thickness, vocal tract shape and length.
There are certain notes that will sound the best when we sing. Although our range can increase over time, the best-sounding notes will more or less be the same ones over time.
The good news is that the notes that sound the best will sound even better the more we train them.
As long as you are singing within your range, you can make your strong notes sound amazing - and people will admire you for it.
Myth #3: You have to sing like the original artist
This is a common pitfall for a lot of singers, myself included.
When you have listened to a song many times, the way that it is sung is ingrained in your memory.
It can be hard not to imitate how the original artist sings the song.
However, you do not have to sound exactly like them to perform that song well.
Put your own spin to it - sing it a little differently. A lot of popular cover song videos on YouTube went viral because singers put their own spin to their favorite songs.
Another thing is you do not have to sing in the original key of the song.
If you have a lower voice, then you need to transpose the song to a lower key. Or if you have a higher voice, transpose the song to a higher key.
There are a few ways you can do that:
- Find a backing track in a lower/higher key
- Accompany yourself on piano/guitar by playing the chords in a lower/higher key
This will show off your voice much better.
Interpret the song in a different way by emphasizing different words compared to how the original artist does it.
For example, you can emphasize words in a song by making it louder, softer or longer.
People generally appreciate an original-sounding cover version, more than a cover version that sounds exactly like the original version.
Myth #4: You have to improve quickly
Singing is a fine motor skill that takes a long time to develop.
The fact that you cannot hear your own voice accurately makes things a lot trickier.
Have patience and be kind to yourself.
Lower your expectations or make them more realistic.
Enjoy the journey. Trust your voice to make the right sounds when it is ready.
The more you push yourself, the more self-critical you are going to get. This will increase your performance anxiety and disrupt your performance.
Singing will start to feel like a chore, instead of something you enjoy doing.
Avoid comparing yourself to another singer, even when that singer is around your ability level and experience. Be mastery-focused rather than performance-focused. That means you are more concerned with making progress over a period of time, instead of achieving perfection right now.
Myth #5: You have to practice everyday
Practicing everyday sounds great on paper but it does not work in real life.
Your voice may get sore from too much practice/allergies/sickness.
Listen to your body.
If your voice does not feel up to the task physically, you need to rest your voice.
You can still do light warm-ups but avoid anything too strenuous.
Of course, you can always do visualization and mental imagery sessions to practice your songs mentally.
Mix up your practice tasks to include tasks that bring you a sense of accomplishment, and tasks that bring you pleasure. Some tasks are more achievement-based whereas some are more for fun. It is important to keep up the fun factor so you can stay motivated.
Hopefully, I have put your mind at ease about some common pitfalls that have tripped singers up for a long time.
Do your best with the voice you have and you will be amazed by what happens!
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