You May Not Think So, But Science Believes You Can Sing - Bobby Owsinski's Music Production Blog

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January 16, 2018

You May Not Think So, But Science Believes You Can Sing

kid singOne of the things that musicians can do to up their value is sing. There’s always a place for another voice on stage. Many musicians (and members of the general public) don’t believe that they can’t sing however. The good thing here is that science doesn’t believe that point of view and has proven that nearly everyone can sing. It’s all in the muscle memory.

A study by Queens University in Canada found that 17% considered themselves “tone deaf.” In reality, people without the ability to hear pitch properly (a condition called “amusia”) is estimated to be no more than 1.5 to 4% of the population. Amusia involves faulty pitch perception or the inability to hear variations in pitch. There are also subcategories where a person can’t perceive harmonies (common in many musicians) or musical alexia — the inability to process rhythm notation.

The difference is that almost all musicians (as well as most people) can hear the notes just fine, but can’t reproduce them.

In many cases the thought that you can’t sing goes back to childhood. The perception that “you either have it or you don’t” when it comes to singing comes from teachers as well as parents, which puts a kid that can’t find pitches immediately at a disadvantage. Music teachers and choir directors frequently don’t help as well, telling singers to either stop or just mouth the words if they can’t hit a higher pitch, instead of teaching them how to do it.

Singing is all about physical conditioning however. The muscles that produce sound have to be first learned and then coordinated. It’s only at that time do we begin to get control of the instrument. As with any instrument, it doesn’t come overnight, but scientists have found that there can be a dramatic improvement after only a few lessons. The same can be said for diction. It’s all about control.

So it’s never too late to take a few vocal lessons. You’ll be surprised just how much they can help, and improve your value as well.

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