Should a Child Ever be Told They Cannot Sing?

Discussion in 'Music' started by HappyLady, Jan 16, 2015.

  1. HappyLady

    HappyLady New Member

    I remember being told that I could not sing. It involved a hairy mat that we children had been told to sit on, and an insensitive teacher telling us we would do other things than sing in the school play. From that moment I believed I could not sing. This translated into a belief among the adults in my life that I was "tone deaf."

    The music teacher who insisted nobody was tone deaf and then said he had just met the one person who was did not help. Nor did the musical friend who constantly dug me in the ribs telling me I was off key.

    My salvation came in the form of gospel music. You have to sing loudly and forget yourself as everyone around you is belting out their own noise. People started to tell me that I was in tune. My childhood experiences had knocked not my voice, but my confidence, which in turn had affected my voice. I now am a soprano and can sing in tune.

    Should a child ever be told they cannot sing? I know my answer to that. I wish the adults around me had.
  2. Pupscud47

    Pupscud47 New Member

    Of course not. Singing is a skill that you learn, there is no such thing as a "singing" gene (well, unless you count the absolute pitch thing, but even then, it's very rare and not a lot of famous singers have it). As such, being told that you "can't sing" would be like being told that you "can't walk" right after you come out of the womb. You can't because you haven't put in enough hours to you know, learn how to.
    Eventually you learn how to walk by walking, not because you are some kind of weird prodigy and it's written in your DNA that you'd be the best walker there ever was.

    The same thing applies when it comes to sports, instruments or anything that people claim you can only be good at if you were born "with the right genes".
  3. guysmurillo

    guysmurillo New Member

    No, it is still very early to conclude that. In the first place, the ability to sing can be developed. With proper training and determination, anyone can be a good singer.
  4. Robpar89

    Robpar89 New Member

    It seems awful to tell a child that they cannot sing, it may damage their self esteem and discourage them from persuing creative musical outlets and hobbies later in life.
  5. kay17

    kay17 New Member

    A child should never be told that they cannot sing. This stage is crucial for children because everything they are told stays with them and shapes them into adults. If children are told they cannot sing, they may grow up feeling self-consious about it. If children are told they aren't smart, they will always think that they aren't good enough and won't even try in school. These types of situations are more serious, but it still applies. Children are full of capabilities for learning, even if they may not be, in someone's opinion, the best.
  6. Sarah T

    Sarah T New Member

    I echo many of the sentiments of previous posters, and will encapsulate what they have said in my comments. We all need to feel loved, to feel appreciated, and to be supported in whatever endeavours we choose during our life. Having said this, as we mature and experience more, we begin to learn how to be constructively critical with ourselves and (hopefully) can come to the proper conclusion about how talented we might be in a particular area. It is always disappointing to see the looks on grown peoples faces when Simon Cowell or the like looks them in the eye and tells them to keep their day job because they cannot sing worth beans. As someone who has a talent in this area, I can hear someone sing, and know if they are on key or not, and while they might not be on key, they might have a true passion for singing, which, as long as nobody complains, they should keep doing!
  7. Jemanai

    Jemanai New Member

    Never!! Never tell a child they can't sing. Let them be. Some famous singers can't sing but they still make it. Maybe it's just they way their voice is right now. Maybe later when they grow up and hit puberty they will have a Demi Lovato voice. I was lucky enough to be born to sing. No one has ever told me I can't but I have been told I can't dance. It broke my heart since I wanted to be a performer. Don't shoot down a kids dream.
  8. musanna akanda

    musanna akanda New Member

    If you are honest then I would first ask you that question. Imagine you are that child and imagine somebody tell you that you can not sing. Will you have a good impression inside you about that person? Will it motive you with such thing in the future? Sometimes if you motive your child and give them courage on such thing even if they couldn't fulfill your expectations. Such encouragement may and will help that child to reach particular goal in the future.
  9. chadwilliams808

    chadwilliams808 New Member

    As a voice teacher I get this question quite often and as most responses here will attest, the answer is a resounding NO! Early childhood music education is vital for so many developmental reasons, the least of which is teaching a child how to use their very first instrument, the one that is attached to them where ever they go; their voice. Your voice is a muscle, and just like every other muscle in your body that you have control over, you have to train it in order for it to work properly. Telling a child they can't sing is like telling a child they aren't a good athlete. Perhaps they aren't going to be the best football player or soccer player, but that doesn't mean they can't go out and enjoy a game with everyone else. Granted, when it comes to someone choosing music as a professional career, there comes a point when some honesty is needed. But the music industry is so cut-throat anyway, one has to go through endless auditions where you aren't what they are looking for before you find the few that you can shine in. Add to that the issue that today's "pop" artist are judged more on whether or not they can give a good show rather than the fact that they have any real talent or not. That's not to say there aren't some amazingly talented people in pop music, but when you consider how many pop stars are more famous because of how they look or dance than how they can sing, the question answers itself. Not everyone may love opera, but one can't deny that opera singers are at the top of their instruments ability in both expression and technique. Try having beyonce or Justin Bieber on stage without a microphone trying to sing over a 60 piece orchestra, usually in a foreign language. One is not necessarily better than other in terms of what people want to hear, but one can't deny there are vastly different skill sets involved.

    Here in the US, we have this strange phenomenon where we love music, and most people like to sing. But there is always someone ready to jump in and say someone else can't sing. That kills a love of music that is crucial to our society's understanding of what "good" music really is.

    A long time a go a man by the name of Zoltan Kodaly recognized a similar fate in his country. He made it a point to bring teachers together to teach music technique and theory by utilizing folk songs children already knew. Most pre-school programs today have music as an essential element of their day to day program. But too often that's where it stops. Children are taught to enjoy music, but not make it part of their lives. Countries where music education is more integrated into the overall education of each student produce students that have a higher level of musical understanding, and therefore appreciation, than we see here in the US. That starts with having each child know that they can learn to sing by using their voice just like they use their legs. Practice a little each day on exercises that are designed to teach you how to sing, not just make noise, and everyone benefits.

    No matter what instrument one chooses to play, the lessons learned in singing play a role. Phrases and expression are first learned through singing. Great instrumentalists simply sing with their instrument instead of their voice.

    True tone deafness does occur. But it is so rare that most people will go their whole lives without ever meeting someone truly tone deaf. What most people experience is tonal atrophy. Either because they haven't learned how to hear, or because they haven't learned how to reproduce what they've heard. Boys in particular have a tough time with this when they go through the voice change. Many music teachers making the mistake of telling boys not to sing through their voice change. Nothing could do more damage than possibly intentionally injuring their vocal cords. What would happen if we told kids that because their legs are growing, they shouldn't use them until they are done growing? How much harder would it be for them to have to learn to walk all over again on legs that no longer support their body. They would have to retrain their bodies to relearn how to walk and coordinate all those larger muscles. The voice is no different. Research shows that boys who sing through their change are not only better able to sing, but their range and abilities are far superior to those who did not sing through the change.

    Any adult who tells a child they should not sing should never teach music, to anyone. Their lack of understanding of both the physiological and psychological damage they are doing is atrocious.
  10. XLS

    XLS New Member

    A child should never be told that they cannot sing. First and foremost children learn through song, if you tell a young child they cannot sing they are clearly not going to recite the songs that are used in schools across the globe as PROVEN learning methods. Secondly, you're telling that child that no matter how hard they try they won't succeed. Music heals and many children use this as a portal for doing so.
  11. Kwoodard902

    Kwoodard902 New Member

    A child should never be told they can not do anything. I believe anyone can do anything they put their minds to. It is our jobs to encourage the little ones. If we don't, who will? A child should always hear "You can do anything, as long as you believe you can do it." Music does wonders for the mind, it can bring out the best of anyone. Children are looking for encouragement and acceptance. If my kids want to sing all day and all night I'll gladly listen.

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