Thursday, February 12, 2009

No More Crows and Canaries

I can't count the number of times someone has said to me "I can't carry a tune in a bucket." Inevitably, when I probe a little more, I find out that someone has told them they can't sing.

It might be a teacher who asked them to mouth the words at the school concert, or separated the whole class into "Canaries" and "Crows." It might be a spouse, a parent, or a sibling who told them to shut up every time they opened their mouth.

For some reason we think it's okay to tell someone they can't sing, and as far as I'm concerned, that's just wrong. Think about the logic here: would we ever tell someone that they'll never be a great orator, so they might as well not even try to speak? I don't think so. Singing and speaking are equally natural human activities, and yet we somehow think of singing as a special talent that only some are blessed with.

Singing is a skill, made up of subskills, and like any skill, it can be learned. Some people, for whatever reason, are quicker at picking up the skills. But even people who have considerable challenges matching pitch and rhythm can improve over time. I've seen singers go from having a very hard time staying in one key, to being able to carry a tune with conviction and confidence. Over the years I've led workshops and worked one-on-one with many singers, and I've yet to meet a person who can't improve. And the more you do it, the better you get at it.

So, I've said it before, but let me repeat: we need more places where people can sing together for the fun and joy of it. No more crows and canaries, people, let's get singing!

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Blogger Gene Wilburn said...

Bravo! Needs to be said over and over. Thank you.


February 13, 2009 at 8:06 PM  

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