So BGT’s just finished, and at the end of summer we have another run of the X factor to look forward to whilst scouts up and down the country are no doubt sourcing the next winner of ‘The Voice’ (can you tell I’m not the biggest fan?).
Reality TV show contestants, however, whether by their own admission or after being fed a well-recycled script often spout these immortal words – ‘I was born to sing’.
It’s at this point I would press my button and the hypothetical cross above their head would go red.
Getting down to the facts
Emotion and ambition aside, biologically-speaking we are all born to survive via the intake of oxygen, food and water.
All of these processes involve our larynx whose primary function is (drum roll please), to SWALLOW. Singing, physiologically-speaking, doesn’t get a look-in.
But why is this relevant to healthy singing technique?
Swallowing is an ‘innate trait’ which healthy babies around the world can do from the moment they first suckle.
Another example of an innate trait is the ‘startle reflex’ – that wide-eyed face we all sport upon being surprised, scared or shocked.
Singing is a learned trait
Singing, however, is a ‘learned trait’ which requires time, culture and experience in order to fully develop.
The ability to speak, phonate and control various parts of our larynx in synchrony in order to produce a song, for example, is therefore an extremely delicate and pain-staking process, and that’s just on a technical level.
Once we have learned to distinguish kinaesthetically and isolate these very slight movements in our laryngeal structure, try throwing emotion, adrenalin and the all-important aspect of performance on top of that! Singing well is HARD!
The few fortunate ‘natural singers’
Now, don’t get me wrong, some folk in this world are blessed with naturally beautiful voices. But to maintain and improve those voices, and most importantly, to do so in a healthy and sustainable manner, it’s time ‘good singers’ or ‘born-naturals’ stopped resting on their proverbial laurels and instead engaged in some serious vocal technique homework in the theoretical and practical sense.
So, aspiring singers, beginners, current professionals, training students, karaoke-gymnasts – take heed.
Learning to sing is a never-ending and ongoing process. You were not born to sing; you were born with the ability to learn, hone and create a voice, your voice, and a happy one at that.
Would you like to get involved in singing?
I also provide one-to-one vocal coaching and singing lessons in Glasgow that really can take you to the next level by following a fun programme that I have developed.