A Work in Progress

I regard everyone here at the studio, including myself, as a work in progress. Forget what you have heard, no-one just has a voice. Singers need to sing and the more you train the better you will get. It may come more naturally for some people but that’s life and we all have to be realistic about our limitations.

Which brings me to another point: I will never tell anyone that they cannot sing! Exactly the same thing happened to me as has happened to a number of students before coming to this studio. When I was in junior primary in the UK I was in the Welsh border schools choir and performed as a soloist. Upon arriving in Johannesburg at age 10 I was told by Mrs Impson (obviously I still remember her name) not only that I couldn’t sing but that my voice was hurting her ears. No doubt my immigrant version of Die Stem offended her musical sensibilities but I was mortified nonetheless. Music teachers can be very quick to dismiss a child’s voice and make them reluctant to sing at all. Beware also of jealous “best friends” or family members who undermine your child’s or your efforts. I will help everyone here to sing better than they currently do or help to show them what they can realistically be expected to achieve. It takes me at least 3 lessons to properly evaluate a voice. The truth is that not many children sing perfectly in key. Some can more or less hold a tune but their voices tend to be unstable, particularly as teenagers – that goes for boys and girls. They typically do better when singing along with someone else, in a choir for example. We also all have days when we struggle with our voices and others when we are in particularly good voice.

So don’t be alarmed if you or your child lets loose with a few bum notes from time to time … it’s OK to make mistakes. And do remember that those voices you hear on the radio and TV have often had a lot of post – production during the recording process to make them sound the way they do. So just sing and be the best singer you can be. I promise to be honest about everyone’s capabilities because not everyone has the talent to make this their profession, but most people can get some enjoyment out of a singalong!

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