Yes you can learn to sing! It takes some effort, but is well worth it.

Who told you that you couldn’t sing?

Yes you can, even if you’ve been told that you “can’t carry a tune”.

Learning to sing in tune and match pitches are developmental skills. If there is nothing wrong with your throat and vocal chords, you can learn to sing.

Along the way, you might find some self-imposed roadblocks. Most people wouldn’t expect to pick up a trumpet and begin to play, but since our voice is part of our body, some who have difficulty singing feel that there is something wrong with them. It becomes very personal. You may be have to overcome those feelings.

It may take a little while, but start with matching pitches in a restricted range, maybe three to five notes in a scale. From there move to simple folk tunes before you try songs with big ranges, lots of lyrics, and difficult rhythms.  Here are some exercises to get you started.

  1. Make a siren sound like when you were little playing cars. Talk in your Mickie Mouse voice or try to sound like Julia Child. Don’t worry about the sound you make, just do it. You are using muscles that are not normally used for talking, so it may take some time to get used to the sounds and how to produce them.
  2. Find a piano or a partner and try to match pitches.   You must learn to make your sound disappear into the sound of the person or instrument that you are trying to match.

As you are learning to hone your hearing and response skills, you should be working on breathing, flexibility, the articulators—lips, teeth, and tongue, music reading, and musicianship. These are difficult skills to acquire on your own, but not with a good teacher. I highly recommend finding a teacher to guide you.

Singing while accompanying yourself on ukulele or guitar is quite difficult initiallly. Concentrate on one or the other at first. When you are learning a song, learn to sing the melody, then learn the accompaniment separately. Don’t try to put them together until one or the other is almost automatic.

Sing along with recorded music, play along with recorded music. Listen to lots of singers and players. Join a choir or go to song circles and participate. Ask for feedback and be open to it.

Go for it and enjoy the process.

–Pat Knaus


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