Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Everyone can Sing!

I have always told my students that everyone can learn to sing! A lot of them don't believe me, but after some time in my studio, they come to realize that it is possible!

In February, "New" research from Northwestern University confirms what I've been saying for years! Everyone can sing! 

Steven Demorest, a professor of music education at Northwestern's Bienen School of Music, published this study in a special issue of the journal Music Perception.

You can see the report from Northwestern here.

Here are some quotes from that study that I believe are relevant:

"No one expects a beginner on violin to sound good right away, it takes practice, but everyone is supposed to be able to sing", Demorest said. "When people are unsuccessful, they take it very personally, but we think if you sing more, you'll get better."

"...that singing accurately is not so much a talent as a learned skill that can decline over time if not used."

"The ability to sing on key may have more in common with the kind of practice that goes into playing an instrument than people realize."

I know this to be true! Proper vocal exercises prescribed for an individual voice by a knowlegeable, professional voice teacher, practiced daily by the student, will produce amazing results! Teachers of "Bel Canto" singing discovered this in the 18th century, and these exercises remain an important part of modern technique. It doesn't matter what style of music you choose to sing. I will delve into that further in a later blog.

This is one quote from the study that I find particularly important, and heartbreaking, because I hear these stories from my adult students quite frequently:

"Children who have been told they can't sing well are even less likely to engage with music in the future and often vividly remember the negative experience well into adulthood. Being called "Tone Deaf" can have devastating effects on a child's self-image, the researchers wrote in the study."

This is one of the reasons I like working with "beginners", and singers at all stages, helping them rehabilitate their voice! Singing is a joyful experience!