Tonedeaf? Doubt it.

The truth is that almost everyone who has been labelled as "tonedeaf" isn't. They CAN hear pitches, hear melodies, but feel they cannot sing tones or phrases with sufficient accuracy to feel they are 'okay'.

In every case, when working with a student who calls themselves "tonedeaf", I have found that they can indeed sing on key.

Often, someone with a 'tin ear' was told at some point in their early life that they were tonedeaf, usually in some public way, and asked not to sing, or just mouth the words, or sit out the activity. Despite a desire to join in the music, this experience leads to a life-long avoidance of singing.

Sometimes, someone who is shy and soft-spoken will be, in effect, unconsciously hiding their voice, as I did, constantly being asked to speak up, stammering from nervousness in social situations, hating how awkward I felt... no wonder I couldn't really sing the way I dreamed.

Additionally, we all learn how to talk, but very few of us learn to speak well, leading to diction habits that constrict the throat and tire the voice, pushing resonance into odd places and creating unattractive overtones.

In my practice, I have found that everyone who desires to sing CAN sing, if they are willing to patiently do the work, understand they will need to allow 'bad singing' on the road to good, are supported by a knowledge of good diction, effective breathing, and awareness of the thought processes that effect us while we sing.

But nothing is overnight. If you wish to run a 10-mile marathon next Fall, you start working today by jogging light and short distances to grow your abilities. And one thing that runners know is that there are often times when you 'hit a wall'. After steadily growing the distance that can be run, you reach a point where you can go no further. But if you patiently keep running that distance, one day, suddenly, surprisingly, you can go further.

Voice is like that. In training, your voice is essentially 'going to the gym' and working out. It can only do so much. You hit walls. You struggle with doubt. But with continued, good instruction and committed practice, the voice does blossom. The skill level increases. Because of that, confidence is born.

And suddenly, like one of my students - a retired math teacher who had never been able to sing on key - you find yourself singing a beautiful love song, hitting all the right notes... and sounding like you always could. ~

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