Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Anyone can sing. Trust me!

by: Joelle Charbonneau

Anyone can sing.  Yeah, I can hear a lot of you shaking your head in my direction and thinking about whatever family member can’t carry a tune.  Trust me on this, though.  I’m a voice teacher and a stage performer, so I’m supposed to know these things.  If you don’t have a paralyzed vocal chord or you aren’t tone deaf – you can sing.  I’m not talking about becoming the next Broadway star or American Idol.   But if you have trouble carrying a tune and think you can’t do it – you can.  Keep reading because I’m going to tell you how.

When you sing, your brain tells your vocal chords to stretch to the perfect length and width to create the note you want.  Cool, right?  If you want to see a demonstration of the different sizes and widths required to make specific notes, go look inside a piano.  Each wire, different in length and width, creates a specific note.  The only different between the piano and the voice is you.  Yes – you.  When you play the piano, the piano is the instrument.  A key is pressed and a little hammer inside hits the right string and the correct note is played.  When you sing there is nothing to hide behind.  The instrument is you.  Your brain tells your vocal chords to create the right size for the note you want and they do it.  Or they should.  If they don’t there is a reason why and the reason is – yep, you guessed it - you.

One thing most people lack when singing is confidence.  They worry that they aren’t going to sound good or might hit the wrong note.  And guess what?  Once you think you aren’t going to hit the note – you won’t.  Your brain will send mixed signals to your vocal chords and more often than not, you won’t be thrilled with the outcome.  However, if you try the same thing again with confidence, I’m certain you will appreciate the difference.  Sure there are things like breathing and vocal placement and all that jazz that make a singer more polished and a tone more beautiful.  But those things don’t add up to much if there isn’t any confidence.  If you tell yourself you can do it – you can.  Maybe not the first time or the second, but I bet if you keep trying you’ll hear the difference. 

Confidence is an amazing thing.  It can move mountains or in this case help you carry a tune.  Of course, that begs the question – if simply acting with confidence can help you sing, what else can it help you accomplish?  As a writer, I’ve learned that confidence helps me get from page to page – chapter to chapter.  If I doubt the story I am telling – the story never has a chance.  I get hung up revising the opening or I agonize over little details that don’t matter in my first draft.  So I pretend that I know what I’m doing and go for it.  Yeah, I’ve learned lots of important techniques to telling a story, but, like singing, confidence pulls those things together and makes them work.

So today, I challenge everyone to sing.  Sing loud.  Sing as if you belonged on the Metropolitan Opera or American Idol stage.  And then look around and see what else you can achieve if only you believe you can. 

What song are you going to sing today?


  1. Maggie BarbieriMay 8, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    What a fantastic post, Joelle! I feel like you're speaking to me even though I'm one of those people who think they can sing but really can't. But I belt it out regardless, which is a good metaphor for living, right? Belt it out all the time and you'll never disappoint yourself or others. Maggie

  2. LOL Joelle all this reminds me of is the music teacher at Johnson she would tell me smile you have a pretty smile and it was years before I realized that was cord for Dear Lord child please don't sing just smile! :) I can't carry a tune in a bucket!!!
    Shannon Johnson

  3. What a lovely post. My voice isn't great, but I can carry a tune, and a couple of us sing together when we're in the same room. but obviously, this message applies to many other pursuits, and I really like that.

  4. Yes!!! Thanks for the reminder and encouragement. I sing more than I used to, having learned a few basics in the Singing for People Who've Been Asked Not To class at COCA.
    The biblical invitation is to "make a joyful noise" isn't it? so . . .
    "Getting to Know You . . . getting to know all about you . . . ."