Updated: Mar 12, 2021
Most singers who begin voice lessons know they’re signing on for a process of growth and learning. But every once in awhile, I (along with every other voice teacher in the world) see a new student who wants us to just cut the bullshit and tell them how to do this singing thing.
They must think we’re all secretly keeping that reliable WikiHow page, 5 Easy Steps to Awesome Singing, all to ourselves.
It Looks So Easy When They Do It
In any area of expertise, there are people who make it look easy. For some reason we seldom feel that we should be able to do whatever they’re doing. We don’t watch great magicians, figure skaters, snowboarders, or guitarists and think, “Yeah…I could do that”. We don't tend to think, “I could do that if I watch a few YouTube videos about how to do it”. Nope. We give them their props; knowing they earned their command and fluency with time and dedication.
But for some reason singing, microphone styles in particular, is different. Maybe it’s because, unlike with golf or violin, humans are natural singers. In much the same way that nearly everyone believes they could be professional voice actors because they know how to talk, people feel they should be able to sing well because they can sing. Maybe it’s our imbedded sense of ourselves as musical beings, along with the instrument that’s imbedded in our bodies, that gives us the sense that we’re even entitled to be naturally proficient singers. Saturated in our culture of experts, exacerbated by internet videos, and encouraged by those one-in-a-million "naturals", we imagine that there’s no space between the shower and The Voice.
It's true that some people are just naturally great singers.
But they're the exception, not the rule.
Here’s Your Problem, Buddy
Some common beliefs about singing are:
Some people are born talented, and some aren’t. You have it or you don’t.
Being an okay singer, or a good singer, isn’t enough. If you want to share your singing with others, you have to be a great singer.
If you’re not impressively good, you shouldn’t even try. Especially not in front of anyone else.
Anybody who performs their singing regularly or professionally, but who isn’t wildly famous, didn’t “make it.” Or is “a loser.” (We do this to ourselves a lot.)
Voice lessons are a waste of money. If you’re a good singer, you’re a good singer. There’s no need to take lessons.
People who take voice lessons are admitting that they can’t really sing.
It’s true that some people are just born more talented than others. There are a rare few who are just naturally good singers. But they’re the exception, not the rule. If you want to get command of your singing, you can. And like the magician or pianist, you can master your technique. When your technique is serving you, you’re free to create the singing that truly expresses you.
So, when you get sick of trying to learn from YouTube videos, there’s a voice teacher out there who would love to help you master your art. There’s no magic bullet, it’s a process. But a teacher can help you, and it’s so worth it.