What does „talented“ mean in this context?

Many a singing teacher will blithely claim that absolutely anybody can learn to sing. In my opinion, if you allege such a thing, either you don’t have a clue, or you are hoping to make money from those who believe you.

The truth is: There are people who are dyslexic, there are people who have dyscalculia and there are people who cannot learn to sing, e.g., because they aren’t able to reproduce the correct pitches. They just don’t have a talent for it.

My friend, who had a go anyway

I had a friend who just didn’t want to accept that. He is a brilliant craftsman and engineer, by the way – he began building motorcycles when he was only 11, and has now registered several patents for various technical devices.

But he went through a phase of also wanting to be a singer. His problem was a common one: He couldn’t reproduce a single note correctly. He blamed it on a lack of musical education in early childhood and now wanted to catch up on everything, all at once.

Little by little, he actually succeeded: Sometimes he hit the right note! But even after about 3 years of regular singing lessons, it was still only “sometimes”. (Incidentally, he was also dyslexic.)

I wouldn’t say he was completely unmusical: He had a very good sense of rhythm and was quite a decent drummer. But for singing, that’s just not sufficient.

Lack of musicality is one of the reasons why some people will never learn to sing.

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What kind of talent?

The essence of singing is „speaking music with the voice.“ So you need three kinds of talent: Speaking, musicality and voice. I already touched on this when I was describing the „essence of singing“.

Talent for speaking

The talent for speaking is closely related to an affinity for acting, but also to the ability to articulate and present speech aesthetically.

Musicality

Musicality is a combination of melodic and rhythmic talent. Melodic talent describes the ability to sing in tune, while rhythmic talent refers to the capacity to exactly maintain a rhythm, in other words, to perceive regular time intervals.

Vocal talent

Finally, I would divide vocal talent into a basic ability to vocalize aesthetically, avoiding strangulated, shrill, nasal or „retching“ sounds, and the additional ability to use the voice economically and securely in all its registers and using the full spectrum of dynamics.

Whereas for a pop singer, the first component is more important, an opera singer wanting to make career primarily requires the second. Because being able to sing melodiously in a comfortable range doesn’t mean you necessarily have a well-functioning, “open” voice. I myself had no problem with the first aspect, right from the start, but I needed more than 20 years to master the second.

In the opera, especially, you come across extraordinarily talented people who have fantastically voluminous, open voices, but who are not really able to sing a simple song pleasingly, even in a comfortable range.

Even great singers can have „no voice”

And there are great pop singers who have “no voice”; singers you wouldn’t hear even at a distance of 2 meters without an amplifier. But I don’t think that matters, because „loud“, of itself, is not a sign of talent, and the volume of the voice in the studio and/or with a microphone is not important anyway..

It is also utter nonsense to accuse such singers of being only studio singers, just because they’re not loud. The „live“ situation in which it can be effective to sing without an amplifier is where one person sings to another in a small room, such as a mother singing a lullaby to her child.

Conclusion

My answer to the question „can anyone sing well?” is an emphatic „no“. With some people, it may take several years to know for sure, unless they really can’t hit any of the notes that are played or sung to them.

Other than that, you will need to bear in mind all the talents you need to become a singer, while at the same time keeping your focus on your vocal goal. The demands on an opera singer are „slightly different“ to those exerted on a pop, rock, jazz or musical singer.

Either way: No! Anyone CAN’T sing well!

Product release: 02/13/2015, 17:20

Can anyone sing well?

If you are inexperienced, it might take some time before you can answer this question with any certainty. If you want to save yourself the time, send me a link to a recording of your singing (just a link, please – and no audio files via email)! I will give you my honest opinion.

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You want to learn how to make a perfect recording of yourself?

… then get my course „Recording Vocals Professionally“ and start right away.

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