Originally posted by Iron Monkey
or a bit of both? why is it that some people just can't hold a note, while others are competent singers (perhaps with training), and a few are truly great. can anybody improve with training or are some just doomed to be unable to sing? i'm talking about people with all the requisite anatomical bits (larynx etc) in good working order.
Everyone with an undamaged vocal apparatus and the capacity to hear can become a competent
singer. However, pitch sensitivity is learned at a young age; if you aren't around music as a
child, you'll have a tough time distinguishing amongst pitches as an adult. Children of singing
or musical parents invariably have good pitch sense.
Being an excellent
singer, however, requires natural talent (like being an excellent athlete).
If you're lucky enough to be born with the ideal vocal equipment and are taught general vocal
theory (through practice, of course), yes, you'll be a great singer.
But even most tone-deaf adults can be taught to sing, but it requires a lot of work largely involving
teaching them how to hear
. They need to be taught what it sounds like to match pitch,
and it's very difficult. Some people aren't even able to tell which of two pitches is higher if
they are too close together. Unfortunately, people have the misconception that singing is
easy and, when the tone-deaf adult is asked to do exercise, it sounds too much like work for
them and they abandon ship (or has been my experience).