Is It True People Believe This About Singing?

Singing

Is it really true? Please say it isn’t so. Help me out here.

Is it really true that people in this day and age believe this about singing? Here are some examples posted from people on Facebook:

“U can not teach anyone to sing! It is a gift!"

“If you aren't born singing, it is like art, you can't be taught.”

“If you can sing, you can. If you can’t, why pretend”

“You either have it or you don’t. No singing lessons will help you much”

Can it really be true that people really believe such nonsense? I'm afraid many really do. Far too many.

What makes people think developing their singing voice is any different from developing any other skill?

I’ve never heard anyone say “you either have it or you don’t” about playing tennis, playing guitar, writing, or cooking. Have what exactly? What is “it”?

See, if you are saying singing can’t be taught, you are also saying you cannot learn, develop, or improve at all.

  • Maria N. says:

    Singing, for me, has been a life-long journey. In the last two-and-a-half years, the increase in singing skill, confidence, and pleasure that came from lessons in The Singing Zone have made that journey worthwhile. What I could not do before, I was finally able to achieve. It all depends on the coaching skill and, yes, your openness to growth. But the right teacher is essential.

  • ron says:

    I know some people can improve their singing by practicing. I am not sure whether all can. You just have to try things out if you want to improve at anything.

  • George Collins says:

    Hello Per,

    The last paragraph of your note absolutely nails it, and that’s why I love “The Singing Zone” so much, as it is not only about becoming a better singer (and I have) but incorporating a philosophy of and commitment to improvement and development across all areas of life. Thank you!

    George Collins

  • Dean Steeves says:

    Per:

    The answer to the question you asked is: IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT PEOPLE BELIEVE OR DO NOT BELIEVE RELATIVE TO SINGING BEING A GIFT OR AN ACQUIRED SKILL.

    OPINIONS DO NOT WEIGH IN ON ANYTHING IN THE “COURT of REALITY” and in this particular inquiry it is hardly less than obvious and beyond a shadow of a doubt
    that millions of people worldwide have LEARNED TO SING. I am one.

    When I started out in 1965 I could not even carry a tune. Did I become one of the world’s top singers—NO!; however, I DID LEARN TO SING.

    I hope his is helpful

  • David Pullinger says:

    Per, thank you. I really got your passion in this blog – and couldn’t agree more with you. I have run choirs with people who have never sung before alongside trained choristers, those cannot read music alongside those who can sight-read complex harmony, and those who started by being out of tune alongside those with ‘perfect’ pitch. It is possible to teach vocal skills and give each person the possibility of expressing themselves so it is not only tuneful to themselves but considered quality by others. As you have said in previous blogs, it is the willingness to learn – and practice the very basic techniques that enable skill development to take place. It Incidentally exactly the same is said for math and dancing and so much else – and comments about these can be just as misguided and mis-guiding.
    Keep being passionate!

  • Marty Marchbanks says:

    About 45 years ago, I took a “voice culture” class in college. One of my classmates in the class came to the class barely able to sing much more than in a monotone. He said his parents had repeatedly told him “you can’t sing at all, etc.” With the encouragement he received in the class, by the end of the semester, he was found to have quite a nice singing voice. A large part of the drills we went through included singing scales. However, I believe it was the positive comments that he received in the class that brought about the transition, not any technical approaches that we learned.

    If we believe all the negative stuff, it becomes “true” for us.

  • Ana Blasco says:

    Yes, I agree. I wish I could train with you in person but following you from my country (Spain) is also fantastic.

  • Wes Wright says:

    I believe that every human being likes to improve. What constitutes ‘improvement’ varies from person to person and therefore defies any single definition.

  • Veena says:

    I agree with your opinion on most part of it. However, people who want to become good or great singers got to have passion and desire to become one before they spend a fortune on training, struggling to develop those skills just to become popular. I believe sometimes the genetic traits and born-gifs, such as in case of many child-prodigies, come in handy to put them in the spotlight and that kind of sudden “fame” makes them wanting more name & fame, and they become ardent devotees of music and kick-start training and become successful.
    I believe this since we have evidences of some toddlers perform like a highly matured and skilled musicians, that seems like many years of training put to work, with complete knowledge of complex music theory in that tiny-peanut brain ! !How is this possible in a practical world of space & time?

  • Mike Howley says:

    Hi Per. I am a member of a male a-cappella chorus, and during the past 4 years we have run 2 free ‘learn to sing’ courses. On both occasions we have had over 30 guys turn up, and as a result we have gained 18 – 20 new members. A few of those who came had been singing previously, but most had not. Numerous said ‘I would like to sing but don’t think I can,’ and a few had been told, when young, that they ‘would never sing.’ Obviously not all of them made it, but many of then did, and are so thrilled that they found, with help and training, they could sing.
    I think that,perhaps, those who say ‘you can’t teach anyone to sing’ have never really tried.

  • Carlos says:

    I would said something like…. “crying is the first natural thing we do when we come to this world,” and if nobody comes to your side to comfort you, then suddenly you get tired of cry an you will star singing, all this before you know a word. So to cry and to sing is natural in all human been.
    Many people find easier to cry than to sing.

  • Sam says:

    Very true, Per. I used to think I just didn’t have the talent … I had a decent vocal tone, but couldn’t carry a tune. Your course helped me realize that the vocal chords and surrounding muscles can actually be trained. (Only you train by relaxing, not straining.) I’ll never have perfect pitch, but with hours of practice I’ve made huge improvements.

    You’re the Charles Atlas of vocal teachers!

  • I imagine you have to have a pretty good ear-pitch wise. I have been a professional musician all of my life-but had to learn the proper technique to gain a good singing voice, versus having a natural feel for playing something by just listening to it, plus having perfect relative pitch. There is something known as perfect pitch also; where a person can hear one note away from an instrument, and tell what it is exactly. I know a lot of famous people are just fabulous natural singers. Astrologically, that is because of having a Taurus influence in their chart. ( I am also an astrologer also). Like Barbara Streisand-Perry Como, and countless others.

  • James Benson says:

    Sorry right now I do not have the money, but hope some day to get training from you , thank you so much .

  • Kaaren Stewart NZ says:

    I agree with what you have shared Per.
    We all have rhythm within us no matter who we are, young, old and in between 🙂
    The passion to express through song is something we can all share and do.
    It’s a matter of attitude and the desire within to improve what we already have through learning. That’s how we grow, change, develop.
    Unlocking the potential within comes from a willing spirit, time and the power to resist the restraints of people’s judgemental perceptions of who can and cannot sing.
    I say we can all create melody from the heart 🙂

  • Leo Smith says:

    I’m sure there are some extreme examples. Some people are just born able to sing well, others may have legitimate physiological problems that prevent them from singing.

    One big fallacy that probably feeds this is the idea that ‘practice makes perfect.’ Well… no it doesn’t. EFFECTIVE practice makes BETTER. It’s easy to invest countless hours in something and make no progress if you aren’t using effective strategies to reach your goals, and there are plenty of hack teachers (and students) out there. I practiced guitar every day for years and made no progress until I finally got a teacher who could show me what I needed to work on and how in order to reach my goals.

    For that matter, I did the same thing with voice before I bought some of your lessons and started developing an awareness of my voice, how it works, and how it should feel.

    And I don’t need to tell you about the power of the mind. Whatever a man tells himself he is, he will be. If someone tells me I can’t sing, and I believe it, it will be true.

  • Joan Romanoski says:

    I beleive that every one can sing, but alot of time people discourge someone with their remarks beause they don’t like the way they sound, In a child this can do alot of harm yet that child may have a beautiful voice yet never use it because of someone said the wrong thing. It is hurting to hear some of the things some peolpe say.

  • Anne McFaul says:

    I believe everyone is born with a voice, but only some of us are attracted to music. For those of us who are, I am very grateful to those who have helped me, appreciated me, and encouraged me to sing my heart out. That includes you, Per.
    Anne

  • Bob Lord says:

    I once attended a seminar on sound and learning where the leader asked was anyone tone deaf? A couple of volunteers were then asked to say which of 2 notes sung by the leader was higher. He chose a fair sized tonal gap and both our subjects could easily distinguish. He then proceeded to narrow the gap and they were still OK. His point was that their supposed tone deafness could well have been lack of tutoring and tension resulting from pre-programming their belief about their ability to sing.

  • L. J. Walker says:

    My inspiration came from listening to those who sings from their hearts. I decided to take private lessons that lasted only for half an hour once a week because of the expense Though, I was astounded to hear a beautiful sound coming from my mouth on my first lesson. So I joined my church choir but my expectations of the choir was nil as with my private lessons Will I be able to achieve that goal of sounding like an angel with your coaching. I can. Thanks Per

  • Richard P. says:

    It’s true – more or less everyone can be taught to sing and sing well – up to a point. But there’s something deep down inside – something spiritual or something physical – that gives those fortunate ones among us the ability to be truly brilliant singers. It’s the same with athletes; some people are just put together in such a way that gives them the ability to run faster or jump higher than others, regardless of training. A simple example is the classical guitarist, Segovia, who admitted that he was blessed with really strong nails and that, without them, he would never have been the master of his craft that he turned out to be. And the fact remains that some of our greatest singers were never taught at all. They WERE blessed with a God-given gift. However, that’s absolutely not to say that we cannot benefit from helpful guidance to help us improve whatever talents we’ve been born with.

  • Eve Ruddock says:

    Unfortunately, it is ‘true’ that many people feel you need a ‘gift’ to sing – especially to sing where others might hear. It is this perception that has driven me to research this damaging notion and now I’m writing up a thesis that has attempted to get to the heart of this phenomenon in our crazy culture. Fortunately, there are people like Per who understand that this belief is far from true – and have developed the understanding and skill to do much to counter it…many, many best wishes for your continuing influence:-)

  • Dennis G. says:

    Hi Per, There will always be those that would rather ” heckle” from the stands at their ‘sons,’ daughters’ coach at sporting events, same with school activities, but, once you spend 3 minutes or less with this “heckler” you realize its not worth the time to convert or try to convert a person who can not possibly understand the wonderful world of doing something “you truly love” and making progress everyday on not only your passion, whether its, singing, playing an instrument or playing a sport you love, you are an “wonderful and inspiration to us all. Keep the belief folks! Learning is and making progress is great stuff. Dennis, Massachusetts

  • Janet Betts says:

    Today I recieved your four CD’s. Today I wept after listening to the first one. I’m 80 years old and going strong; I had not sung since teen years and found that I had “lost my voice” when I decided to sing again after I became a widow. Today I know I can regain the joy of singing with wholehearted passion; I just need to work on it. I’m radiantly happy! Thank you.

  • BRETT says:

    Hi Per,
    I am 52 years old. Just resigned from my job. Always
    wanted to get into acting. And play the saxaphone. I am now
    training at the gym.I want to be in as best condition, when i
    start acting. I have been learning the Saxaphone for 5 months.
    It has its ups and downs, but i think i am coming along okay.
    I have always sung. Not for an audience, but at home, in the
    car, in the shower even when i am in bed. I have also taken
    up singing lessons. So at 52 I have taken up 3 activities I have
    always wanted to do. And in the next couple of years, I want to
    make a living out of one or three of them. Never too old. I will also purchase your singing program. Any one interested in following my journey. I believe I can do it.
    BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND

  • Norm Haslop says:

    This problem comes from the idea that the current “stars” are the standard. If you don’t sing or dance like they do, you don’t have it… and that’s also why so many musicians are only mimicking the stars. It’s like “Art by the yard.”
    Singing (and dancing) is fun – so is any form of art. Why rob others of the joy of expressing oneself just because it doesn’t match what’s on TV.

  • Everald Porter says:

    singing is a skill you learn and a craft you perfect

  • Anita Thrower says:

    Per, I can say that you have in fact been gifted to sing, teach and motivate others to improve, correct or learn how to use there singing voice. I have always had a voice to sing. When I was just 6 years old I would sing alone when no one was around, but was overheard one day by my family and have been singing ever since. I know that it is a gift that was given to me by God. I have been specifically anointed to sing and be a blessing and bring joy to others who hear me. I was afflicted with a viral infection when I was in my early thirties (I am now 51) and my right vocal chord was damaged. I have been singing as they say with a limp. However I was able to develop in all of the key ranges. Soprano which I always was, Alto and Tenor. I just recently went to the doctor to see what my vocal chords looked like and get some direction in how to heal. They helped me tremendously, however I bought your “Singing with Freedom” CD’s and now believe that I am really on my way back to singing with freedom again. You are truly a blessing but I do believe that some people just have the gift and others can develop it.

  • Bruce Howlett says:

    I don’t think the “belief” matters, other than if you really want to sing, and find that you have a problem singing in tune. It is not really about singing, it is about hearing. Even professional singers use monitors and ear pieces so they can hear their own voice above the sounds of the band or orchestra. If you can’t hear what your voice is doing, then there will not be anything happening “in tune”. It is a scientific fact that some people cannot distinguish between different tones. It is called amusia, tune deafness, dysmelodia or dysmusia, depending on the various culture you are from. If you are one of those people, being able to sing in tune is not possible. Some of the scientific community involved in this research think that there is a genetic component at work here. However, it appears to be a fairly random thing, in my family, both my parents and myself can sing in tune, and my brother is totally tone deaf. In the neurology field, it has been established that 9 out of 10 tone deaf people have a specific brain dysfunction, where the “superior arcuate fasciculus in the right hemisphere could not be detected, suggesting a disconnection between the posterior superior temporal gyrus and the posterior inferior frontal gyrus. Researchers suggested the posterior superior temporal gyrus was the origin of the disorder”. (Quote from Wikipedia). Two main classifications of amusia exist: acquired amusia, which occurs as a result of brain damage, and congenital amusia, which results from a music processing anomaly at birth, (probably genetic). Studies have shown that congenital amusia is a deficit in fine-grained pitch discrimination and that 4% of the population suffers from this disorder. Acquired amusia, on the other hand, may take several forms. People with brain damage may experience the loss of ability to produce musical sounds while sparing speech, much like aphasics lose speech selectively but can sometimes still sing. (Ain’t that interesting!) (Aphasia means “speechless” but can range from mild to chronic states). Other forms of amusia may affect specific sub-processes of music processing. Current research has demonstrated dissociations between rhythm, melody, and emotional processing of music, and amusia may include impairment of any combination of these skill sets. (again paraphrased from Wikipedia). Many other things can cause tone deafness, from injury, tumours, stroke, brain damage from illness or oxygen deprivation, and even some psychological problems. I have not been able to find any specific data on the ratio of tone deafness to tone normal, but from several workplace opportunities, which included 10 years as a school teacher, I have estimated that probably 1 in every 4 people (25%) have some level of tone deafness. There are people who have great tone perception, but sadly, not very pleasant sounding singing voice. Many of those would benefit greatly from voice training.

  • peter says:

    Its just what we tell our self, when I’m practicing singing
    I notice how many counter productive thoughts are popping up and preventing me from singing freely.
    When I become aware of these thoughts and put them aside
    my voice improves immediately.

  • Nicolas Massu says:

    Hi there Per:

    I don’t know how to start. Well I joined your website with the aim to be able to sing better. It has taken me time an effort to do that. And even making a demo of my music has not made me a good singer but by relaitives in Chile liked the demo of me singing not because I am good or am not a good singer. It’s because they know that it took me time to come up with the demo and writting songs as it were so that I can improve on my singing.

    Now I (since October 2006) want to walk from Perth to Sydney close to 5000 km. I have done several walks including walking 3 times from Rockingham to Perth in 12 hours and 30 minutes close to 50 KM and also the bibbulmun track walk in Western Austraia close to 965 km. I am proud of every walk I have done which are from 2.5 hours walks to the other ones I just mentioned. It takes time and effort and I know that by walking every day and effortly train every day. Like you said about singing. I doubt there be anyone trying to walk 5000 km in 6 months. I have to prepeare myself hard to be able to Conquer Australia like 3 other people including a woman from Cananda and I am from Chile.

    Thanks Per for your article and I know you will always be the right kind of person that helps other getting what they are seeking even if is not just singing.

    BTW: I suffer from ADHD and BIpolar Disorder and I comented on those things because I am speedy Gonzales at speaking and I would love Per if people like me with ADHD tend to develop the tendency to speak fast and what do you recomend for reading out loud like I do with the bible, with my BIble teacher.

    Thanks Per

    NICOLAS SEBASTIAN MASSU DE LA CARRERA

  • Frank Eward Comolli says:

    Singing is a physical activity. Vocal chords are muscles. Like any other muscle in your body, it has to be exercised in order to function in the manner you wish it to. This has NOTHING to do with a gift or talent, or being blessed by some divine matrix.
    The size of vocal chords vary, as do the physical attributes from person to person giving a variety of different voices, which is why anyone can be successful if they have the fire in their belly to do so.
    Don’t concern yourself about what people think about you..you have absolutely no control over this, whatever they say is not necessarily what they think.. so leave it out!
    Focus rather on what you want and believe.. WHERE YOUR INTENTION IS ..SO SHOULD YOUR ATTENTION BE!! and don’t gripe about what you don’t have…rather give joy and enjoy what you have and doors will open for you.
    You have a unique voice like no other. Have respect for it, nurture it. It is the tool you need to express all the passion you have in you to share with others.
    When you do it right your voice will make people feel what you are feeling as you feel it in the same instant. I know of NO better way to communicate with a multitude of whom have never met , or spoken to me,, yet we all feel the same in that instant! Don’t let anything take this away from you..enjoy your learning curve.. small steps lead to giant leaps and nothing can stop you.. you don’t make mistakes… you only have happy accidents!!.
    By listening to perfect singing, it will inspire you to push your envelope and as long as you keep trying you WILL improve. Per Bristow knows what he is talking about.. so pay attention.. I look forward to hearing all you new mega stars…receiving grammies, vocalist of the year, etc..Bless you all

  • Calvin R. says:

    I have had times in my life when I thought I could sing and then then others when I thought I couldn’t. Now I realize I just didn’t know what I was doing.
    The same thing happened when I was fishing. I’d go out fishing and catch nothing or very few fish. Very seldom did I get into those hot spots and catch a bunch of fish.
    Then I got this magazine on fishing. I started using the technique’s they taught and had instant success. I was actually catching fish where people were fishing and weren’t catching anything.
    I’ve really enjoyed the Singing with Freedom course. It’s like the fishing magazine only it requires a bit more effort. Nice part is you can do both at the same time. That is if you don’t scare the fish.

  • Raymond Olley says:

    I am ninety years old. I love to sing. I canter a mass every Tuesday at the Manteno State Vet. Home, and sing for patriotic and social functions in town.At my age it is difficult to practice enough to keep up my confidence. No matter what your methods are, the secret is practice, practice,PRACTICE .

  • kenny says:

    Hi PER,
    It is sad but true that people even in my neck of the woods also have that view. I however agree with you 100%. Life indeed is a growth process and people are only limited by the thoughts they choose to hold on to. Continue the good work you’re doing.

  • Scott Smith says:

    I think it is a test and challenge on how much you believe in
    yourself. I’m learning with Per that subtle changes, can make
    a big difference. Like relaxing the jaw and tongue etc.
    When you find your true voice, you can build from there.

  • Patric Lehnen says:

    Very true words spoken.
    I believe that I am one of those who has no sinigng talent and I could be wrong here, too.
    Came up with this opinion about myself because everybody (family, friends, music teacher in school, and my band colleagues) told me I should stop singing because I cannot sing.
    And they follow the myth that no singing lessons would improve my voice.
    That is why it took me so long (50 years in my life) to get to singing. After taking Pers lessons I knew that all people who told me ‘I cannot sing’ in the past were totally wrong. because I improved a lot. Now I am fine tuning my voice and extending my range with Pers lessons to sing songs I could not sing before.
    All music teacher in my home town only teach German folk music and let their students sing scales. That was another reason why I didnt get into singing because I hate German folk music and singing scales.
    I work hard on me to improve in singing because I love it now and won’t miss it again.

  • Oskar Einarsson says:

    Thanks Per for a fine article. I think people who want to be negative and judging like that are stuck in fear. Because they are afraid to try and check things out the easiest way is just to reject the possibilities. Singing may be a sensitive issue for many people as it represents our expression in life. Many people are afraid to express themselves. So let´s do our best to embrace their negativity with understanding.
    In such a great number of families we are not taught to grow. We come from such families thinking that it takes some magic trick to become happy in life. And as we get older so many of us stop believing in the magic and instead we become stuck in anger and fear… acting it out whenever possible.
    Enjoy singing everybody 🙂

  • Br Chris Pritchard says:

    I second all the previous comments, Per. Yes, there are those who are jealous because someone else is having fun, enjoying singing, even in the shower or bath, and living life to the full. “If music be the food of love, play/sing on.”

  • Lenora Hernandez says:

    Hi Per,
    Thanks to all the help you’ve given in your lessons. You are right on in this article.

  • Rawiri says:

    Well a little history. My schooling days many moons gone i never realized what being able to sing was really all about.
    I can remember that my college days in school morning assemblies i would sing with gusto but without knowledge of the need to practice and sing with controlled power and confidence.The birth of singing in local bars has refined the desire to sing with confidence yet again inclusive while attending a local church fellowship for the last 28 years.
    I couldn’t hold my desired level of voice power because what i felt was a reduced lung capacity and a ongoing sore throat issues. Now i am in my early sixties and am looking forward to training myself with others for help to sing with power and pleasure. This is where i am in this moment of time. and in 1 year i want to see and feel a improved singer.

  • Les Harrison says:

    Les Harrison – Sourhampton, England, UK

    People who make these comments have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.
    When we are born we are all, hopefully, given a gift, OUR VOICE, that’s the gift, what we do with it is up to us. Some of us will develop it and can become great singers, others good singers and some will not use it at all.
    I have been singing since I was about 3/4 years old, after puberty I became a Basso Profundo, I have had various voice coaches over the years, my voice improved but I took up the Bristow Method when I was 69 years old, my voice is better than ever for which I amazed and very thankful.
    Saying you can either sing or you can’t is just being naive, I can give you the Gift of a Violin but unless you are trained in how to use it, it sounds atrocious, the VOICE is the gift , it to needs to be trained.
    People who make comments like this need to be ignored, they are usually the type who never do anything.
    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK !!

  • DOROTHY MULANDA says:

    Thanks Per,
    First of all I would like to extend my appreciation of your generosity in sharing what you have both in singing and general life. I have enjoyed singing from my childhood till now and even dared to write songs which I am currently recording to be out soon although many believe I can’t sing. Applying the principles in your lessons and extra material to my whole life has made a big change. Giving yourself freedom to learn without fear of failure takes lot of pressure of whatever you set yourself to learn remembering success is not lack of failure but the ability to learn from the mistakes and have confidence to try again. I connected with your approach because it resonated with my line of thinking as I wrote a book ” Marriage Why bother?” coming out soon in which I urge married couples to take pressure off themselves of obsession with perfection.

    to me as a christian singing is part of worshiping God and songs carry messages covering all issues in our human life like in seasons of joy, peace, grief, loss, success, failure etc. songs connect me with God and other people. however having a message is not enough if I can not communicate it to the intended recipients in songs through singing effectively.. that is where sing with freedom training fits in. it is true we all may sing, have the gift of the voice and passion to use it and desire to improve our ability
    but all this will make no difference if there is no one to guide us. Singing lessons will certainly improve the quality of singing because even talents need to be developed through learning relevant skills in order to reach full potential. I therefore have these comments to make:

    1. The world is constantly changing and so is the music industry. to deliver the world standard of your chosen music you have to move a way from being average. Vocal training is a necessity and not a luxury for two reasons: to develop and care for your voice (instrument) and to give the best you possibly can to the intended audience.

    2. vocal training improvement is measured by each person individually because you will always have people better than you or worse than you. for instance within this extremes I feel i benefited from the singing zone and sing with freedom lessons. I can sing longer with greater range without cracking my voice like previously. it may be little to you but to me its progress. in other words don’t use others to determine your progress.

    3.need for improvement is a universal need but most people leave it as an intention and never act on it for various reason eg lack of knowledge of how and where to go for help, lack of finances, negativity of others.
    whatever your status in singing there is room for improvement and personally the singing zone is my preference. take person responsibility to invest in your vocal improvement and support others. Beware people are always ready to give reasons why what you want to do will not be successful but never offer an alternative. they are happy when you do nothing so walk a way from the crowd and make a new mark in your singing.

    Per, you definitely do a good job keep it up.

  • Abraham says:

    Per, I agree with what you are saying. Just, it is hard to convince a generation that has been brought up on these beliefs, overnight. Well I guess it’s kind of good to be introverted sometimes.

  • Don says:

    Some like to sing, some like doing other things, the most important is, DO THEY WANT TOO. You can have a passion and not do it, for fear or other reasons. The important reason to do anything, is do you want to. Anything is possible if you want to do better, whether you sing, play an instrument, of fly etc,etc. The main thing is do they have the desire to do better. There are no short cuts to being better at a anything you do. You only get better by trying.

  • Patsy Cooke says:

    Many, many good observations on this blog! I particularly agree with Susanne Friedlander’s comments re fear of failure and self-protection. Self-consciousness is such an inhibiting factor! It creates stress which causes tension, often most noticeable in the neck and shoulder muscles. Our breathing suffers (generally without us noticing!), and so it’s no surprise that our voices and pitching abilities are affected under those circumstances – something that I was totally unaware of until ‘meeting’ you, Per ..!!
    At the start of your programme, your coaching majors on letting go of the fear of failure. You teach us to give ourselves permission to less than perfect .. to relax, and to have fun without worrying about pitch. Then, somehow, you lead us to the point where ‘magic’ happens for us .. and “hey-presto”, we find that we CAN sing on pitch, just by doing your exercises! So my own belief-system says that, yes, everyone can sing if they want to put the time in, and if they can ditch their self-limiting beliefs. It’s working for me 🙂

  • Grace Hunter says:

    I believe that one can learn to sing at any age, once there is the desire. Per, continue with your encouragement.

  • Baiding says:

    The statements are obvious incorrect, or more precisely, inaccurate. Those of us who have done or are doing lessons with Per all found Per’s lessons are not only very useful, but the usefulness is almost immediate. The statement would be correct if it were “no one can teach you to become Pavarotti” becasue your teacher, in our case, Per, only teaches you how to teach yourself with techniques, such as, development of awareness.

  • Name (required) says:

    Per
    Yes i’m sure your on the ball with your comments and the other responses ring true. It is allso true that many people who are gifted and have been able to give insperation to others as you have with your possative teaching skills as a child i was very poorly, and missed out on all my schooling my mum (lucky for me tuaght me how to read and write) which was a life saver i started to play the
    accordian by ear and then organ and jaz piano I’m 75 now and on the advice of my youngest son Robert started Lessons on the tennor Sax i find that having contacted your program it has been helpfull OK i’m noTony Bennett or Soony Rollins! butt Had my first gig last Saturday and it went down very well please give me your veiw’s
    I think singing and Sax playing are very musicaly related??
    crittic’s can be cruel thats life and we learn how to rise above that.
    Brgrds
    Ray Dainton ; Bolton Lancashire England

  • Pedro J Rosa-Rivera says:

    It’s true that natural talent is very important in anything you do; but if you don’t train or/and practice your singing you will not get any better. All that I know is that with your method I am not afraid anymore to sing in public. I enjoy what I’m doing, and many people tell me , “Wow, you really sing !!”. I practice and train with your method every day…that’s really the difference for my improving. So, thank you…very much, Per; your method works !!

  • Kevin Tenney says:

    Interesting. I’ve always said that everyone can sing. Singing wellis relative. Just depends upon who you compare yourself to.

  • Wally says:

    Hey Per,

    To answer your question, “Do people believe this about singing ?”…YES, they do. I’m not one of them, neither are the people in this blog. In my small circle of experience, as a tennis tutor, and wherever one’s skills are measured relative to their peers, or a seasoned pro, etc…many people would rather believe that their faults (no tennis pun intended) are the cause of failure to improve. And that those who succeed are most definitely gifted individuals.
    I once read that human beings rely on a very primal/emotional decision making process when confronted with “life threatening” choices. Especially the choices we make under pressure to be good, or successful, or just to avoid embarrassment.
    So, in a sense, some hard wiring exists, in my opinion, which stands in the way of reaching people. On the other hand, we all have a thinking part of the brain, which once engaged, can override all emotional fear, and doubt. This process can take some time…hours, days, months, years…
    The genius of Per Bristow lies in the fact that he can open your eyes intellectually, and also give one an almost instantaneous result, so as to dispel fear and doubt in one single blow. Maybe I exxagerate..lol..but it’s a rare thing !
    Another point that I see quite often is the misunderstood “in the moment” phrase. It stands to reason that many of us have moments where we experience (however false) utter failure, or the feeling that we cannot improve any further despite the obvious track record of improvement. I am careful not to confuse “in the moment” with the realities of improvement.
    I found George Leonard’s book “Mastery” to be helpful in avoiding delusion about failure and success.
    Anyway, very interesting stuff, Per, and keep up the good work…I am enjoying every moment !

  • L J Walker says:

    I am new with all this an yet I have the desire to sing. The choir is a safe place to exercise my vocal sounds. I’m given a singing part in the hymns for the mass, but together we must sound like angels in the choir loft. I need the coaching and coaxing to hit that high and low and long note with confidence. I’m not afraid to learn more,

  • Tasha says:

    I’ve always thought that everyone can sing it’s just some need to work on it more than others and there’s ALWAYS room for improvement. I entered a singing competition (The You Generation: Female Soloists) and in my description I put “I hope you at least like it, if you don’t, Oh well… I just need to keep practicing…” And despite the fact that I didn’t even get runner-up, I am partnering with Base79 and The You Generation (Simon Cowell is over the entire thing) so I guess they liked it. I’m still going to practice… On that note, when the results were released, someone actually said that, apparently, you can’t sing unless you’re pretty and thin. Or something along those lines… Sorry for rambling.

  • Carol Ciancutti says:

    “See, if you are saying singing can’t be taught, you are also saying you cannot learn, develop, or improve at all.”

    I think this is so important what you have stated here because it goes with the passion or the “heart” that one has for improving on a skill or a talent. I alway want to improve my voice because I have never been the one that someone would go to when they needed a soloist. I am not a bad singer but I think sometimes I have never been worked to my full potential.
    What is important here is that if you want to improve your voice or whatever skill, talent, genetic trait, that it is possible. People should not be so judgmental and I know that is why I decided to take the “safe” path and not pursue what I really love as a profession. I have sang in choirs all my life and for a short time had a couple of voice coaches and those have kept me somewhat satisfied. However, I am so glad to read that all is not lost if you are not considered a “premier” singer.

  • Kaitlyn Smith says:

    Per, to answer the question ….. yes people belive it all the time I’m not one to do that but most people think its about the judgment that makes a performer good. I have a different theory to that. I believe that every single person has a song a note and a key to their extent that defines who they are as singers,song writers, or musicians. If people who believe that singing is unteachable would use their heart instead of their thoughts then more people could learn and learn to love it from the heart. Deep down I belive that everyone has a talent but this world is so full if judgement for anyone to see that. Yes, your life you are going to fail and people are going to judge but something that just a couple of people say shouldn’t bog u down just as long as you know that you have potential in your own way and are happy about what you do. I am a 13 year old performer and have used these words to get by horrible rejections. They have helped me get to where I am. I hope others find this helpful and give them a different theory to live out what they love.

  • Marion Dunkerley says:

    I think there are those few certain individuals in any discipline who have a natural talent, and for these people it comes easily, whether is is teaching, nursing, engineering, sports or music. I would suspect that Per is one of these. For most of us ,we can aspire to become the best we can be. Years ago there were two pianist/organists at a church I was part of. One had a natural talent. The other worked hard to get where she was, but you could not really tell a difference between the quality of their playing. If we are willing to do what it takes to develop the skills and abilities and learn to do what it takes to grow and improve, there is no reason why anyone who aspires to do so cannot sing

  • Birgitta Kovalenko says:

    I very much enjoy reading your e-mails and blogs. I’d like to tell you an experience I had in Stockholm, Sweden, about 18-20 years ago in the summer. A friend invited me to attend an all-night singathong-like program arranged by something like a municiipal adult education program funded by the government for adults who needed to finish or continue their education. The performers that night had attend a special course given in the previous year for people who, one reason or another, had thought they couldn’t sing but really wanted to be able to sing. It was one of the most wonderful consert experiences I have ever had . Each performer came on stage and told the story of why he or she had never dared to sing. They had been laughed at or ridiculed as children because they sounded funny when they had tried to sing, or they had been told by a teacher that they could not be in the Christmas-program choir because they didn’t sing well enouch or couldn’t hold the pitch. Some of these people were already retirement age. All the performers were thrilled to now dare to sing and some of them sang remarkably well. Especially one man moved me greatly. At age six in first grade he was not allowed to be in the Lucia procession because his voice “wasn’t good enough”, but he did get to walk behind the Lucia attendants carrying a pale of water to be on hand in case the natural candles carried by the attendants caused a fire. Anyway, this man was now a middle-aged travelling salesman, He had attended the singing course for two senesters but had never had the courage to sing a solo in front of the class. However, some days after the course ended he was in his car on a sales trip and began singing his favorite song “O Holy Night”. Since he was alone, he could let loose and what he had learned in class kicked in and he sang and sang. The night of the consert, at 3 o’clock in the summer morning, he stood on stage in front of several hundred people and sang beautifully with full voice the whole ‘O Holy Night”. I couldn’t hold my tears back. Neither could a lot of other people.

  • Alex Tounge says:

    Per, you are fantastic. Your program is superb. I am 50 years old and from the age of 10 I’ve been interested in music and the performing arts. Over the years, slowly but surely (and through many bouts with depression and other obsticals, including having to listen to negative comments that contain the word “Can’t” in them), have learned to play the piano – eighth grade practical AMEB (Australian Music Examination Board) and AMEB 5th grade theory. Your program is ideal, I practise and listen to the lessons everyday, and can confirm noticeable improvement. I’m by no means of the calibre of the likes of Micheal Bulbe, Robbie Williams, Rick Springfield or Roy Obison, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra os Josh Grobin etc. but when I sing Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Women” on one our bands gig night at the local. I’m proud and grateful of the applause I recieve for that one song that I’m able to sing because of your program. I’ve never sung in my life until I stumbled across your web site just over two years ago. There is a long way to go for me yet but, I’m going to put the effort in because of the Singing Zone.To all the people who don’t believe in “being able to learn how to sing”, you don’t understand the potential of the human mind and the will to achieve. Per Bristow, you have helped me acquire a confidence I never would have believed through your “Singing with freedom program, THANK YOU.

    All the best, Alex Tounge, Melbourne Australia.

  • John Ng says:

    Some say if you are tone or pitch deaf, then you cannot learn to sing. My wife tells me I’m such a deaf person, tfore no point learning to improve singing?

  • Richard Ouellette says:

    I have been singing since I was 3 years old ( according to my mother ). I learned to sing by emulating other singers. When I heard a singer do something with their voice that I liked, I would buy the record, learn the song, and then practice until I could also do with my voice what they did with theirs. I am now 67 years old, and whenever I met a person who after hearing me sing would tell me that they wish they could sing; I would tell them that the only people that can’t sing are people who have vocal chords that have been damaged to an extent that would prevent them from doing so. All it really takes for anyone to learn to sing well is to practice without straining. Vocal chords are muscle and like any muscle need to be properly exercised to work well. If your singing voice doesn’t sound well, it is because it hasn’t been used, and most likely your vocal chords are weak, As a person properly practices, their vocal chords develop strength and flexibility and then will begin to sound good. Also, the person can then start playing with their voice making various sounds which will help them to learn to use their voice in different ways. The only other thing they would need to practice is ways of breathing and they are on their way to becoming a singer. Anyone can learn to sing !
    I applaud Per Bristow for his methods which I only vaguely know by his explanations since I cannot afford to join; but being self taught using methods other than those that are taught by teachers, I believe his methods are the ones to use.

  • Ray says:

    If your singing for pleasure, why would you care what others think? If your singing to entertain others, then you ought to be able to hold a tune pretty well, and expect some criticism regardless of how well you sing. Either way, just get on and enjoy it.

    What, and how, Per teaches will help both sorts of singers.

  • Lynne du Preez says:

    I am astounded at what my voice is doing with the “right” training. Thank you Per. I was locked into the belief that I too culd not sing…….! But you have proved me wrong.

  • Carl inWis says:

    After developing a nearly 3 octave range, flu in the army ruined it. Now 60yrs later you gave me back confidence to sing! It is surely true ‘people perish for lack of a vision’ [goal]. Hey! Odie was right! You can do almost anything if you dont know you cant! 90yr old counselor.

  • Ken Kell says:

    I have been looking for a vocal program that I could use with my high school show choir. They are a talented group, however, I would love to be able to take them to another level. I’ve always thought the more you warm up with scales and other exercises, the better you will become. I’m anxious to try your program to see where it can take me and my choir.

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