Who among us can sing?

I have no illusions of any sort of performing, but I would love to be able to achieve some level of competence.

I do have musical ability - can read music and play piano. And I am able to come up with a pleasant tone here and there that is on pitch, but not consistently. In other words, I can sing a song and maybe half of it sounds very good, but the other half is embarrassing.

If you are so blessed, how did you arrive at wherever you are, talent-wise? Were you born with it? Did you work hard? Have any of you done so without formal lessons (self-taught)?

I don’t want to take vocal lessons, but I would like to find some way to improve on my own.

I don’t sing, in my respect for that word, but I sell songs. Meaning, I can more or less sing in tune, have a bit of character and energy in my voice, and can do it while playing guitar. I have sung in many bands and get the “character” songs - e.g., Fred Schneider’s bit for Love Shack; the songs That’s What I Like About You or Blister in the Sun. You get the idea :wink:

There are a number of singers here, and there have been some threads about tips on singing. For me, my singing got somewhat better because of yoga. That is to say - the core of your success or failure as a singer is your breathing, and the interaction between your breathing system and your vocal system. I found, completely at random, that as I stuck with yoga over a few years and my breathing practice improved, I saw direct, obvious improvements in my singing. Makes sense, but I wasn’t looking for that, it just happened. Once I saw the connection, however, I embraced it and focus on my breathing.

So: understanding how to focus on your breathing, and how you use breath in your singing, is the most important thing. There are many ways to improve that understanding; turns out yoga helped me.

When I was in high school, I sang first soprano, and while I wasn’t the best singer in the choir, I didn’t embarrass myself. During my Navy days, I occasionally sang solo in church to lead the congregation, and when we’d have squadron parties or whatever, I’d have my guitar and was asked at times to sing certain songs.

As an adult, I sang in a community chorus but by then, my soprano days were over - I was definitely alto. I was even asked to sing with the tenors, but I never learned to “hear” their part, so I wasn’t very good at that.

I can still carry a tune, but it’s been years since I sang with any group. I’ve thought about joining another local chorus, but I don’t know if I want to give up the time required to rehearse and all. I’ve gotten lazy in my old age!

But, to answer the OP, I can sing well enough to blend but there’s nothing special about my voice, so I’ll never be a star! Your loss, world. :wink:

I do plays and musicals in community theater, and while nobody’s ever going to offer me a record contract, I can belt out a tune well enough. Like WordMan, I’m best on “character” songs. Songs that can be “acted,” that don’t always require spectacular vocal ability, but the ability to sell the song and often, to be funny with it.

I can also sing harmony parts pretty successfully, which is really useful in community theater, since they always need men’s voices in the chorus. I always say to guys who are interested in getting involved in community theater: audition for a musical. If you can even halfway carry a tune, you will probably get cast, because they always need male voices.

I am mostly self-taught, although I learned to read music back in elementary school (in the days when schools still taught that sort of thing), and that’s helped quite a bit. I think it also helps having a good ear for music. Not necessarily perfect pitch, but more “relative pitch,” being able to hear the relationship between two notes. If I sing a given note, can I know where, say, a major third above it is, and hit that with precision.

I don’t know how much of that is instinct and how much is practice, but this is where singing along with a piano is helpful. One thing you can practice is singing various intervals along with the piano, and hopefully develop a sense of how various intervals “feel.” I’m fairly sure that this is one of the things musicians study in school, so at least part of it can apparently be learned.

I am neither a music teacher nor a great singer, so I can’t give you any more solid advice than what’s helped me. I know that there are Doper professional musicians, and I believe at least one opera singer, who hopefully will notice this thread.

I can sing!
But no one wants to hear me. :frowning:

I used to sound pretty good. My three girlfriends and I used to sing together and we’d get applause and requests for encores.

But not anymore. All my singing is done in private now. I still love to sing though.

I used to have a good singing voice, but I haven’t sung anything in decades, so I’m out of practice. This song pretty much describes me now.

I can carry a tune, and the spouse (who really can sing) tells me I sound decent. But I’m way too shy to sing in front of anyone else. I’ll just continue singing in my car and to my cats. :slight_smile:

My mom used to say of one of my sisters: “She doesn’t sing the white keys and she doesn’t sing the black keys. She sings the cracks.” Despite having a mother who had a beautiful voice and a father who could play all sorts of instruments, my sister had zero musical talent. Naturally, she loved to sing loudly…

I can sing. Grew up taking lessons, singing in choir, singing in musicals. Still sing every day, but my audience is the kids and whoever might pass me on the freeway. I was born with good musical ability, and honed it with years of practice and coaching. If you are interested in being a “singer”, I would certainly encourage you to sign up for lessons (or the choir).

My sister also falls into the can’t-carry-a-tune-with-a-bucket camp. She finally learned how to sing, sorta, when she became a kindergarten teacher. She sings all the time to and with the little ones. If you want something more than the it’s-bitsy spider though, you’re out of luck.

The most I can say for my singing is that I have, occasionally, been asked to continue singing, rather than being asked to stop. I’ve got a pretty extensive musical background–piano and a number of wind instruments–but I’ve never been specifically a singer or had lessons related to it. Whatever singing ability I have was acquired by singing along–with the stereo, with groups on stage, in pub sings, wherever.

I don’t think I have a very good voice, but it’s pretty flexible. My range is okay, I shift registers easily, and I’ve got a few vocal tricks. I probably do best with comic songs, but I can do sweet or smoky, if it seems appropriate.

I used to sing reasonably competently (I got the occasional compliment, didn’t drive people away) in piano bars. But it took practice and some voice lessons, and I haven’t done it in over 20 years, so if I tried now it would be pretty wobbly.

I have probably the world’s worst singing voice.

Imagine Dennis Hopper doing a Stevie Nicks impression…

Arrendajo does! He has a great baritone voice.

I do OK as either low tenor or baritone. I’m not a solo-quality singer but I’ve got decent range, good volume, excellent pitch control (not perfect pitch but dependable relative pitch, good enough to sing a cappella), can read music just well enough to get by long enough to learn part by ear, excellent sustain and breath control.

I love my choir. We do some nice stuff!

Why don’t you want to take vocal lessons? Singing, like any other musical skill, is something you improve by learning and practicing, which is what voice lessons are all about.

Personally, voice lessons changed my life. I was one of the can’t-carry-a-tune-in-a-bucket squad up through my early 20’s, and while I always liked hearing songs, my pitch problems meant that I couldn’t join in singing them with any enjoyment to myself or anyone else. So one day I decided that I’d like to try learning to sing just to find out if I ever actually could achieve it.

It took at least ten years of lessons and practicing to work my way through breathing issues, vocal production issues, stage fright, and a bunch of other things that people who are gifted with singing talent just seem to master naturally or instinctively. But it worked, and it eventually turned me into a reasonably reliable choral singer who can solo a bit if necessary, harmonize a cappella, and all sorts of other fun stuff.

It wasn’t an easy process and I often screwed up rather embarrassingly and painfully, but remember that I was starting from absolute scratch as a complete vocal klutz and aiming for a fairly high level of competence as an amateur singer. And every moment of the struggle was absolutely so worth it. Being able to participate in everything from opera choruses to church choirs to impromptu sing-alongs to art song workshops to shape-note hymn sings to a cappella early music groups has added so much fun and joy over the years that I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without it. (Plus it also really deepens your appreciation of hearing truly gifted singers. Knowing what different voice types are like and what it really takes, physically and mentally, to produce a given sound opens up a whole new level as a music listener.)
Apologies for the lengthy proselytizing, but the short answer from my own experience is: If you want to sing, you absolutely should. If you want to sing better, you should absolutely invest the time and effort to study singing. You will never regret it.

I sing professionally and teach voice. Classical vocalist. I’ve been transitioning voice types over the past couple of years (from lyric baritone to dramatic tenor) so I haven’t been doing much in the way of solo singing, but I’m working my way back into the business.

To answer one of the OP’s questions, I worked my ass off. Still do.

I made the commitment to take singing lessons last year and am enjoying it. I’m a low tenor. Used to think I was a baritone but my teacher says no. I can’t hit all the low notes that a baritone reaches. The higher notes (in the tenor range) are much easier for me.

I hope to feel confidant about my singing in maybe in another year or so. I’m too old to have any illusions about perfecting my voice. I’ll be happy to carry a tune and not make a fool out of myself.

The only advice I can give is learn an instrument well enough to play the melody. It will help a lot in learning to sing it. I learn the melody on my guitar. Note for Note. Record myself. Then use that to practice singing. Other people might use a piano. Whatever works.

I can hit every note in Bohemian Rhapsody spot on…but if you’re more than five feet away you wont hear me.

I used to be able to sing, though I was too shy to do it professionally. After several ERCPs I find I can’t make my voice do what I want it to anymore. I think my larynx is permanently wrecked.