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Discouraged non singers, encouraged singers

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  • Discouraged non singers, encouraged singers

    In an attempt to get a general discussion going... This article, "The Injustice of Singer/Non-Singer labels by Music Educators" by Colleen Whidden is long, but interesting:

    It's about people who believe that they can't sing because someone told them they couldn't. There are some interesting observations in the article:

    "A second reason for adult non-singers to label themselves as unmusical is that in a culture where nonmusical members are accepted and expected, some citizens feel the pressure and judgment of a society that does not allow a spectrum of musical ability. If one does not have a successful performance career in singing, then it is safer to never attempt a vocal sound."

    "Finally, one of the most common reasons for adult non-singers to view themselves as unmusical is adult non-singers received negative feedback when they at some point in their life attempted to sing in a public setting. A significant number of research studies report that adult non-singers endured a negative childhood experience and this experience has played a crucial role in later life."

    That's really sad.  The article goes on to describe people who haven't been willing to sing so much as "Happy Birthday" for decades due to having been told by a grade school teacher that they can't sing.

    In my own case, part of the reason I sing now is because an authority figure once took me aside and told me that I *could* sing.

    Have others had experiences with a teacher who really encouraged or discouraged them in their singing or other musical efforts?


  • #2

    That is really sad, yes.

    I don't remember if my parents said I could or couldn't sing, really. Probably I was somewhere in-between.

    My sister however appears convinced that she's a hopeless case, but that's bs. When I hear her sing it's actually fairly on pitch, especially when she sings something she knows well, like 'Happy birthday'.

    I'm Masklin. How was your day?


    • Haude92
      Haude92 commented
      Editing a comment

      Once I taught: "There are people who can sing and people who don't" and I think most people still think so.

      My music teacher in the 11th grade then taught me, that singing is a skill that you can improve.

      When I started to sing(which is about a year ago) many people that heard me singing didn't really approved it. But I kept on train it and tried to sing along with my guitar, till one day my mother kinda forced me to sing in front of some guests we had(I didn't even knew them^^).

      The funny thing was that they liked it, even though it was not perfect. And my mother did that again and again... and now I really enjoy singing in front of many people.

      I think she just believed in me and that's why I'm still singing today

    • ido1957
      ido1957 commented
      Editing a comment

      My parents never heard me sing until a couple of years ago. They were never that interested and thought I was insane for gigging full time. I started gigging a couple of years after I started playing guitar. I just started singing as nobody sang (typical musicians). I never lacked jobs in bands. I've always been a singing guitar player, not a front man. That allowed me to pick songs I can both play and sing, rather than let some EVH wanker decide I need to sing something way over my range. I depended on my own better judgement to decide whether I could sing a song. Playing clubs forces you to either be good or get fired.

  • #3

    I've always loved to just sing by myself just for fun. My friend heard me singing once and she told me that I had a really good voice. After hearing that I started thinking maybe I could learn to sing better and tried out for choir in college. The choir director told me that I had talent and maybe potential to become good. Around this time I started singing by myself a lot more. My brother and sister would hear me and make fun of me and say that I'm not that good which was discouraging. But I think because I had heard encouragement from other people before like my friend and the choir director and because I just loved singing anyway for my own enjoyment, I kept on singing even if I felt discouraged and doubtful.


    I'm just glad that I was able to hear positive encouragement from people who I trusted and respected early on. I think that helped me a lot to just stick with it and not give up, even if some people laughed at me and said I wasn't good enough.


    • #4

      Very true singing is often made much much harder by cultural assumptions it's a shame.


      • deepflight
        deepflight commented
        Editing a comment

        cwehden wrote:

        Very true singing is often made much much harder by cultural assumptions it's a shame.

        What do you mean by that?  You mean there are cultural expectations that singing should be a certain way, or expectations that certain people shouldn't sing, or what?