Can singing lessons help a bad singer?

“I think I’m tone deaf, can singing lessons help a bad singer like me?”

“I can’t sing will singing lessons help?”

“I’m awful at singing. My tone is bad and I struggle to even finish songs, can anything be done?”

Can singing lessons help a bad singer? Broadly speaking, yes. Singing well is like learning any other instrument. It involves proper training, muscular co-ordination, learning new mechanics, and developing tone.

Let’s deal with a couple of the hidden questions or assumptions people often make when it comes to singing:

1) Tone deafness

– People often think if they ever sing out of tune, they must be tone deaf. This really isn’t the case, so let’s be more specific. Tone deafness is (broadly speaking) a COMPLETE inability to recognise any difference between two different pitches. So no matter how high or low two notes might be, the listener cannot tell that there is any real difference between the two of them. When you consider this definition, you realise that actually most people do NOT suffer from tone deafness, as they can generally recognise that they are out of tune.

Instead, they just lack the skill to turn that internal perception of pitch into an external sound that matches… and that’s really just a mechanical/acoustic issue, and not a psychological one. It’s like juggling: just knowing that we have to throw balls in the air and catch them in a certain pattern isn’t enough, we need to train that behaviour into our bodies.

This means that 99% of people can learn to sing in tune, it’s just a matter of practice and good technique to build that automatic response to sing things correctly.

BONUS ANECDOTE: I once taught a singer with medically certified profound deafness. They could sing pretty much in tune except for the highest and lowest parts of their range. If someone with two very necessary hearing aids can find a way to work with their voice, then anyone can.

2) I don’t sound great (e.g. bad tone)

– The voice is unlike other instruments in some regards, namely that we have to build the instrument whilst learning to play it. So in that regard it is the rarity to have a good tone as soon as you start to learn to sing, and that indicates fortunate genetics. For MOST of us, we have to build tone. Those of us who play an instrument will also recognise that no matter how good an instrument is built to be, it takes time to build good tone with your technique on that instrument.

As such, building great tone is just a matter of practice and good technique.

3) I struggle to finish songs/hurt my voice etc

Again, this comes down to good technique. Anyone who has ever taken up running, or some kind of sport will recognise that stamina takes time to build. It’s not just about general fitness, it’s about specialised fitness and robustness for singing. The ability to regulate airflow/air pressure through your vocal folds/cords WHILST generating great tone and power, AND whilst being in tune is a remarkably demanding set of parameters to place on the human body. Great singers spend their whole lives developing the capacity and technique to create even more stamina and depth of tone throughout their careers… as such it’s not something you can just purchase off Amazon or get via one lesson.

The take home point is, practice and practice of good technique will conquer this area as well.

CONCLUSION

As you can see, if you’re asking can singing lessons help a bad singer, the answer is very much yes. There is very little that good technique and practice thereof cannot conquer. How far you will go with your voice is in part dependent on your body and instrument, your degree of dedication and commitment to your voice, and how deep you are willing to go with good technique… but absolutely ANYONE can learn to sing well and in a way to be proud of.

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