What if I can’t carry a tune?

Very few people are actually tone deaf. If you can hear the difference between a statement and a question, and can tell an interesting story, I believe I can teach you to carry a tune.
If you mean that you sing wrong notes sometimes, so do I. Really. Even in public. It doesn’t mean you don’t have talent.
Or, maybe you empathize with Mr. B, a hospice patient I met a few years ago at the San Francisco VA Hospital.
“How about we sing a song together?”
Mr. B says, “I can’t carry a tune in a bucket!”
He was humming when I walked in the room, so I challenge him to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
We sing it all the way to the end.
And then Jingle Bells.
And then Deck the Hall.
He carries the tunes well.
“But that’s not singing…” he says.
That is singing. Singing, according to the dictionary, is making musical sounds with the voice, esp. words to a set tune.
What I learn is that Mr. B thinks he can’t carry a tune because he can’t sing songs that he doesn’t know. The finest opera singer in the world cannot sing a song he doesn’t know.
What I learn is that Mr. B thinks it’s not singing when it’s a song you learned as a child. Some of the best songs are the ones we learned as children.
Sing the songs you know. Sing with other people. Ask for help. Choose a song that speaks to you and begin to learn it.
I hear a lot of people get so hung up on whether their singing is any good that they don’t allow themselves to sing at all. Every singer I know makes not so good sounds every time they sing. Everyone’s voice needs to warm up. I can show you how.


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