The Biggest Myths about Singing

Here are the biggest myths that I have discovered about singing. You probably have believed a lot of them. I'm going to change your mind, because it's going to help you.

Myth #1: Not everyone can sing

The first myth is that not everyone can learn to sing—that some people are just born with it, so if you don't have that, you can never learn to sing. That is so not true, and I'll tell you how I know it's not true!

I started coaching in 1988. In 1990 I was presented with a challenge that I thought was impossible. Someone came to me who wanted to sing, but he had no sense of music. He couldn't hear a single note. He had no sense of timing. No rhythm. Nothing. I thought, what am I going to do?

The difference was that he was determined to learn to sing. He was motivated, and his motivation was that he wanted to sing a song for his girlfriend. That's motivation! 

He came in every single week. He was diligent. He did everything I told him to do. We would have to sit there and play a note over and over for him to be able to hear it. And he eventually heard it. Over time, he developed the capacity, the ability, to be able to hear pitch.

Then we started working on his timing, like how to come in on a song. He started to get that. I had him listen to things over and over again. 

After six months, he was able to sing. And he was able to go and sing for his girlfriend! Once that experience happened, I knew for sure: anyone can learn to sing.

So if you're a person who was thinking “that's not me,” you're wrong. The only reason that you're not doing it is that you're not getting off your butt and doing something about it.

Myth #2: Some people are born singers

The second big myth is that certain people are just born to be great singers. They've got these natural voices, and they don't have any problems. 

Some of the best singers that I have worked with—people you might have known or seen—had vocal problems. That's why they came to me. There's not a major singer out there that doesn't sometimes go through a problem. 

When I first started coaching, I had the opportunity to work with an ear, nose, and throat doctor. I went into his office in Beverly Hills. On the wall were photos of the people he had worked with. These were stars, people that I knew. I wondered why they were on that wall. I thought they were the greatest singers in the world—why were they going to this doctor?

The doctor told me that most of the singers he'd seen had problems they had to correct.

Sometimes they keep coming back because they aren't correcting the things that caused the problem in the first place. He started sending clients to me, so I could help them change those particular things. 

Myth #3: It's who you know

Then the third big myth is: you have to know someone; you have to be really well connected to make it in this business. 

Not necessarily!

There are so many options now. You have the Internet; you have all kinds of things where you can get known and create a following. And I've seen that happen, too. I've had many people who started with me who were no one who now have huge successful careers. So “being connected” is not necessary for success.

Myth #4: If you can't sing on key, you're tone deaf and it's hopeless

One of the biggest problems for me, that I thought I would never get over, was that I had horrible pitch problems. That's what I thought. I thought I had a pitch problem.

First of all, it was not a pitch problem, it was a physical problem that I had. The way that I was creating sound physically was causing me not to be able to hit the pitch. It took a long time for me to be able to figure that out and correct it. But I did. So I know that that can change.

Some people think that they're tone deaf. Only about four percent of the population is actually tone deaf, and most of them don't enjoy music because they can't tell the difference between the notes.  

So if you think you're tone deaf, you're probably not. You just have a facility within you that has not been developed. That's all it is.

Want to take a pitch perception test to prove to yourself that you're not tone deaf? There's a short test from the Harvard University Music Lab here: https://beta.themusiclab.org/quizzes/td and a longer test from the International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research here: https://www.brams.org/en/onlinetest/

No limits!

Those are the biggest myths that I wanted to dispel for you today. So pay attention, and don't limit yourself.

Please do not believe what anybody else is telling you about what you can and cannot do. I'm telling you that you could be the best singer on the planet if you decide you want to do that.

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About The Author

Roger Burnley - Vocal CoachRoger Burnley - Vocal Coach

Roger Burnley is a vocal coach located in Hollywood, California. He has been teaching the voice for over 30 years and singing for even longer than that. 

Notable past and present clients include Macy Gray, Brandy, Ray J, The Beastie Boys, James Torme, Taylor Lautner, Nona Gaye, and many more.

His clients have collectively sold more than 30 million albums, with several reaching Platinum and Gold status. 

Roger has been featured on VH1, TV Guide Channel, TV One,
and MTV appearing as a vocal expert.

About The Author

Roger Burnley - Vocal CoachRoger Burnley - Vocal Coach

Roger Burnley is a vocal coach located in Hollywood, California. He has been teaching the voice for over 30 years and singing for even longer than that. 

Notable past and present clients include Macy Gray, Brandy, Ray J, The Beastie Boys, James Torme, Taylor Lautner, Nona Gaye, and many more.

His clients have collectively sold more than 30 million albums, with several reaching Platinum and Gold status. 

Roger has been featured on VH1, TV Guide Channel, TV One,
and MTV appearing as a vocal expert.

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