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They Said I couldn't Sing

Jerry Rasmussen 25 Jul 03 - 01:02 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 25 Jul 03 - 01:12 PM
KJ 25 Jul 03 - 01:17 PM
Shelley C 25 Jul 03 - 01:18 PM
GUEST,MMario 25 Jul 03 - 01:19 PM
Bill D 25 Jul 03 - 01:27 PM
John Hardly 25 Jul 03 - 01:35 PM
Jeri 25 Jul 03 - 01:50 PM
DonMeixner 25 Jul 03 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 25 Jul 03 - 02:04 PM
running.hare 25 Jul 03 - 02:08 PM
M.Ted 25 Jul 03 - 02:16 PM
Maryrrf 25 Jul 03 - 02:49 PM
PoppaGator 25 Jul 03 - 03:06 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 25 Jul 03 - 03:08 PM
alanabit 25 Jul 03 - 03:17 PM
kendall 25 Jul 03 - 03:31 PM
Deckman 25 Jul 03 - 03:59 PM
lady penelope 25 Jul 03 - 04:14 PM
Liz the Squeak 25 Jul 03 - 04:29 PM
Deckman 25 Jul 03 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,Wordless Woman 25 Jul 03 - 04:41 PM
Ferrara 25 Jul 03 - 04:54 PM
Deckman 25 Jul 03 - 05:19 PM
Burke 25 Jul 03 - 05:41 PM
madwaff 25 Jul 03 - 06:48 PM
pixieofdoom 25 Jul 03 - 07:26 PM
Deckman 25 Jul 03 - 07:53 PM
GUEST 25 Jul 03 - 08:47 PM
Morticia 25 Jul 03 - 08:58 PM
Deckman 25 Jul 03 - 10:47 PM
Ely 25 Jul 03 - 11:46 PM
Willa 26 Jul 03 - 09:01 AM
GUEST 26 Jul 03 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,Frankham 26 Jul 03 - 09:23 AM
kendall 26 Jul 03 - 09:46 AM
Morticia 26 Jul 03 - 12:46 PM
Ferrara 27 Jul 03 - 08:05 AM
kendall 27 Jul 03 - 08:27 AM
running.hare 27 Jul 03 - 08:32 AM
JennyO 27 Jul 03 - 10:29 AM
kendall 27 Jul 03 - 01:01 PM
Ferrara 27 Jul 03 - 10:00 PM
bflat 27 Jul 03 - 11:17 PM
JennyO 27 Jul 03 - 11:34 PM
Amergin 28 Jul 03 - 12:20 AM
Roger the Skiffler 28 Jul 03 - 04:03 AM
GUEST,KB 28 Jul 03 - 04:46 AM
GUEST,noddy 28 Jul 03 - 04:52 AM
Hrothgar 28 Jul 03 - 05:07 AM
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Subject: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 01:02 PM

Deckman asked me to start this thread, as he is busy building decks.
When he was a kid, someone told him that he couldn't sing. He wondered if there are any other Mudcatters who experienced the same thing.

No one ever told me I couldn't sing (although I was told there were other things that I'd never be able to do, that I did.) But, a good friend of mine who is a very revered folk singer and songwriter with many albums to his credit was told the same thing when he was a kid.
The choir director asked him just to mouth the words, because he couldn't sing, and never would be able to.

My oldest son was told by his third grade teacher that he would never be able to write legibly, and that he might as well get used to using a typewriter. By the time he was in 5th or 6th grade, his penmanship was better than the teacher's.

There's a moral here... don't ever let anyone else tell you that you can't do something, whether it's singing, going to school, learning to play an instrument, or anything else. Thank them for their advice, and express your sympathy for their lack of vision, and go ahead and try it.

I had a roommate in college who really wanted to learn to play guitar.
And sing. Problem was, he not only couldn't hit a note, he couldn't even graze it. He asked me if I thought it was stupid for him to learn guitar and sing, recognizing that he was a terrible singer. I told him that if he enjoyed doing it, to go ahead, and just do it for his own enjoyment. The bible says "make a joyful noise unto the Lord." There was no mention of being able to sing well... just sing with joy.

I was thinking of calling this thread... "Oh yeah!, who sez!" Feel free to share any experiences you've had when people told you you'd never be able to do something, and you proved them wrong..

Deckman and I would love to hear your story (and he'll elaborate on his on a rainy day when he can't be building decks..)

Jerry


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 01:12 PM

I'm sure we've all been told at some point in time that we can't sing.

I may not sing pretty, but I know I can sing with gusto.

It makes it fun for me. I've encouraged others who may not sing well, but want to sing. As time goes on, practice will help. Hearing yourself is key to helping make yourself sound better.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: KJ
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 01:17 PM

When I was six my music teacher said I couldn't be in the school choir because I'd got a voice like a frog! I wish she could hear me now!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Shelley C
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 01:18 PM

Sadly, I had the experience the other way round. As an indulged only child, I was told I could sing and encouraged to do party pieces.
But later I realised my voice sounded a bit naff! Not out of tune, just feeble. So I never sing solos now. Joining in with others is still fun, though.

Shelley


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 01:19 PM

the constant refarin of my family was "Shut up! you sound like a dying cow!"

The "nicest" comment re: my singing was - "It has a really annoying quality"

took me a LONG time to get past that...


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 01:27 PM

before this thread ends, you will read MANY ideas & suggestions,,,here are a few from a guy who doesn't sing often enough, but is surrounded by good singing and has followed it for almost 40 years...
------------------------------------------------

'almost' anyone can learn to sing if they want to enough. There are a VERY few who have some serious problem hearing the notes, etc...but it is mostly practice and attention....and perhaps some guidance from those who study 'how to'.

I am not a 'good' singer, but I do not work hard on it...and when I really try, it starts to work.

I remember a quote about writing which asks "Do you want to be a writer, or do you just wish you had written a book"? ...same goes for singing...if you ONLY read from books, and go to sings, having barely practiced a song, and stumble thru it, you (and others) will think "I can't do this"...

singing wellis more than remembering the words--and more than hitting all the notes....but these are kinda important. (yes...you CAN read the words, like in church choir, if you must, but obviously, it is nice if you can sing without sheets)...but hitting the notes is essential, and using a tape recorder to hear yourself helps.

You probably know someone who CAN sing well...ask them for ideas and, if you REALLY want to sing with people, sing to yourself constantly when you are alone! 729 repetitions of a song *grin* do help to get it in your head and train your vocal cords!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: John Hardly
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 01:35 PM

I never thought I couldn't sing until a fellow teenager expressed disbelief that I thought I could ably handle some singing chore (either a talent show or something -- I forget the details). I had sung in school choir -- even singing harmony from 4th grade on.

Wow. One little comment in passing and I have never stopped second guessing myself and my abilities.

But this is a subject about which I am SO sensitive because there are few things about which I am more frustrated in this life than the fact that I have a really common voice -- not a voice that can't carry a tune (I can still even sing harmonies), but a voice that sounds so UNmusical, so uninteresting, so weak, that I am to singing what, say, Joe Lieberman is to oratory.

If there's a happy ending to this it isn't in the ability to prove other's judgement of my abilities wrong, it's that I have found a circle of people, a style of music, and a level of performance that still allows me to share the joy of singing.

I am still crushed from time to time at having a HUGE limitation when it comes to participating in the one thing I most enjoy in life -- music. I guess I sing like a wheelchair basketball player plays basketball. If you asked him he'd probably say that he enjoys the sport...
.....but I'll betcha he'd tell you that he'd rather be playing the runnin' 'roung kinda hoops.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Jeri
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 01:50 PM

Shelley, 'feeble' voices can become strong. Trust me!

Singing was never a problem, however...
When I was old enough to play an instrument in our school orchestra, my mom took me to a music teacher to select the instrument. I thought violin looked and sounded interesting. I liked things with strings. I liked flute. The teacher took one look at my 2/3 of a left index finger and pronounced the entire hand unworthy of doing anything except grasping. The finger was too short, too fat at the end, and possibly he wrongly imagined it would be painful to play with.

I got a cornet. I psyched myself up for it, but it didn't last. I think it was about 9 years later when I got a dulcimer, then a banjo, then a fiddle, and a year and a half ago, a guitar.

It's HARD to give something a shot after believing you couldn't do it for most of your life. You can, though. I think telling a child they can't without letting them even try is terrible. Then again, if the drive is strong enough, they'll find a way with or without encouragement.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: DonMeixner
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 02:01 PM

For my story search out the "Why We Sing" threads. There are many others who share this insult.

Don


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 02:04 PM

When I was in primary school( about 8/9 years old ), my class was split up into singers and non-singers ! I was in the "non-singers" group. I remember being very upset about this. Anyway, in secondary school I redeemed myself by being choosen to sing in the school choir.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: running.hare
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 02:08 PM

as a young teenager my friends & brother were always telling me to shut up because I "couldn't sing". & Yes I was making mistakes, I knew I was missing notes I could hear, & feel it when I did. Only I never Got the chance to go back & correct it cos I was told to shut up. I therefor didn't practice & never got better. Only I'm stubbon so it diddn't last, but it had made me sensive.

The first memory of being told I couldn't sing however had nothing to do with my voice. When I was 8 I'd been in the nativity play choir all term, right from the point the teacher called a handfull of us in to test out a couple of songs. That year I was Gabrial (long blond hair meant I'd always been cast as an Angel, but that year I was promoted!) When it Got to the Dress rehersal I came forward as also to join the choir at the appropriate moment & another teacher came forward & had a go at me, saying that Gabrile couldn't possibly be in the choir!!! I was devestated! now I'd proberbly replie "what, Angels don't sing???" But when your little you get walked all over.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 02:16 PM

In fifth grade, three other classmates and I were pulled out of the chorus of ninety other fourth and fifth graders and told that we would not be singing in the Christmas pagent because our voices were "bad". After that, I didn't sing anymore, not in class, not in church--when friends and family went carolling, I stayed home.

I learned to play guitar, but only to accompany others. One day, strickly for laughs, an aquaintance and I worked up the Fugs"I Feel Like Homemade Shit" to sing in a Folksong society circle--it was well received, and later someone told me how much fun it had been to hear the song sung seriously, by real singers. I haven't stopped singing since--

Now the thing I wonder is, how much damage could three "bad" voices done in a chorus of 90 elementary school kids at an elementary christmas pagent?


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Maryrrf
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 02:49 PM

I was told I couldn't sing by the choir director when I was in fourth grade. I wasn't interested in choir singing anyway and kept up my folk singing. I'm fortunate that my Dad loved to hear me sing and encouraged me a lot.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: PoppaGator
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 03:06 PM

As a young kid I was usually in a choir, did perfectly OK if not exceptionally, and took it for granted that singing was something that most people, including myself, could do.

As a teenager, after taking up the guitar, my mother would hear me practicing songs and complain, "That's sounds terrible -- almost as bad as that Bob Dylan." Really!

Fortunately, I didn't take my mother's criticism seriously.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 03:08 PM

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR It makes me so angry to hear so many stories about folks being told they can't sing! I hear this story time after time in my career- from parents of my students at school, and from women who would love to sing in my chorus, "but you see, I can't sing, my third grade teacher told me so!"
It's gotten so that I'm convinced that the past generations of music teachers saw it as their task to eliminate as many potential musicians as possible! What damage they did!
I begin my work with children and adults with the assumption that of course you can sing! Very rarely have I been proven wrong. Only twice have I ever worked with adults who really, truly, in spite of all their (and my) attempts, could not match pitch. They are rare exceptions, and I bet if I (or someone) had gotten to them early enough, they'd be singing, too. Singing has a lot to do technically with the ability to hear, and process, and listen, but it is so important to one's health and well-being to be able to let loose and sing, without fear of condemnation!
So y'all just sing, dammit! OK?

*whew* end of rant. Thanks, I feel better. Jerry, thanks for this thread!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: alanabit
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 03:17 PM

Exactly the opposite story here Maryrrf. My Mum cheerfully told anyone who would listen that I had "a voice like a foghorn" - and expected me to agree. My father once told me that I was obviously wasting my time playing music: "I don't believe you have got any music in you." I have been told often that I can't sing, can't play and that I am not funny. I guess that's up to the audience to judge. One thing I'm not though is unlucky. I have been on the radio in the UK, Germany, Austria and the USA and on TV all over Europe and to my surprise - some of Northern Africa. A little self belief and a lot of luck can help you on your way!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: kendall
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 03:31 PM

It's amazing how much damage teachers are allowed to get away with. Make me wonder why they get to be called teachers.
Jerry, my best friend in the world was told the same thing; I'll bet it's the same guy!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Deckman
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 03:59 PM

Hi Jerry ... great thread idea ... thanks for starting it! Yes, I also was a frightened third grader (9 years old) when "Miss Spaulding" brought me to the front of the class, had me stand in the crook of the piano, and try to sing the notes she played on the keys. I couldn't. I didn't learn for another year that I had a severe, and temporary hearing loss at that time in my life. After the ridicule of my classmates, she also riduculed me and told me to shut up and sit down as I "couldn't carry a tune in a basket." I was humiliated, of course. But, and here's the happy part of the story, I was also "saved" by another public school teacher some seven years later. He was a jewell, Mr. Harry Lemon (may he continue to be happy in Heaven and still leading the choir)! When I tried out for High School Choir, he did nothing but ENCOURAGE me. Quite wonderful really. I've always compared him to Teddy Roosevelt: huge man, bombastic, wouldn't take "no" for an answer. His thrust was ... "Of course you can sing. What's the matter with you? You don't believe that stupid Miss Spaudling, do you? She's the one that carry a tune in a basket! I know, I gave her singing lessons!"

The capper on this story is that the Summer I graduated from High School, Harry Lemon contacted me. He had a Summer job (teachers are always poor) as a leader of group singing around the campfire at a local State park. He asked me to bring my guitar and we sang together for many Saturday evenings. Bless that man! CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson ... and, thanks again Jerry.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: lady penelope
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 04:14 PM

From one who was always shoved foward at family gatherings and harrassed into to singing ("she's got a lovely voice......") I am always furious at people being told they can't sing ( at least then someone else would get shoved forward and told to sing, misery loves company you know......)    : )

I have only ever met two people who really can't sing. Both of them simply couldn't reproduce any note sung to them, they couldn't pitch at all. But both of them played instruments (one piano, the other guitar).

A very good friend of mine finds it almost impossible to sing in tune unless some one else is singing along ( something to do with the way she's partially deaf ). She sings in at least 3 choirs!

I am always amazed at people who will dismiss a voice simply because it doesn't sound the way they like. This does not mean you can't sing. It's like Parker and kilts. It took me years to figure out that I didn't look horrible in a kilt. Parker just hates kilts. He doesn't care who's wearing them. Some people are the same with voices.

Most people who think they can't sing sound out of tune because they so rarely use their singing voices, practice sorts that out. Practice applies to those born with lovely voices too. I sound flat if I leave it too long between practice sessions. The rest is confidence and a small dollop of bravery.

Remember, when violinists first learn to play, they sound like strangled cats to a player. It's only through practice and no one throwing shoes at them that they ever get better!

Gee it sum!!!!

TTFN Lady P.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 04:29 PM

Shelley - I was a quiet singer. I used to just about whisper in tune.

Ask Willa how loud I am now.

It was all down to a teacher called Sonia Hewitt - who most of the time was a complete bitch, but she once said to me that although I had the loudest voice in the class, I sang like a startled rabbit, and I should try and deafen her. Ever see 'Sister Act' where Whoopi Goldberg turns a whispering nun into Tina Turner? It was a bit like that, and yes, I deafened her. That was when I was 8.

I've never been told I can't sing, just that I didn't sing loudly.

One thing that really did insult me though, was after nearly 30 years singing in various choirs, to be told by the musical director of my church that 'we've got lots of new stuff, how about you sit this one out seeing as you didn't make (an unadvertised) practice'. It may have been new to him, but I'd seen most of it at least once or twice before and was singing some of it before he'd started school.

Makes me even more proud of the fact that I sight read 2 choral pieces I'd never seen or heard before, and was considered good enough to sing in St Martin in the Fields, from cold to concert, in 3 weeks.

LTS


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Deckman
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 04:29 PM

Alanabit ... I loved your phrase ... "a little self belief." Well said! However, the problem is that when you are little, a "little self belief" is beyond comprehension, eh? CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST,Wordless Woman
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 04:41 PM

A co-worker told me that as a child a teacher told him he had a terrible voice. He became so self-conscious that he never sang again. Even now, some fifty years later, he will not even sing Happy Birthday at a family gathering. Very sad.

I, on the other hand, will sing with gusto every chance I get – despite not being able to carry a tune. I'm looking for a voice teacher (and the dosh to pay for said lessons) to improve.

It may be noise but at least it's joyful.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Ferrara
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 04:54 PM

John Hardly -- "so weak, that I am to singing what, say, Joe Lieberman is to oratory." -- LOL, in fact you had me shouting with laughter!

It's funny. Just this morning I said something to Bill about how my parents always said "Rita is artistic, but her sister is the one with the musical talent." It left a nervousness about music, a feeling that I'll-never-be-good-enough, that still gets in my way when I sing in front of strangers.

And what is it about third grade? (Or third grade music teachers?) I couldn't hear differences in pitch, so when the music teacher said to sing "higher" I sang louder. I just could NOT get it. They kept me after class to try to teach me to reach the high notes, I think we were singing "America the Beautiful." This was not bad teaching or criticism. She really wanted to help me understand and find the notes.

Luckily my parents had us take piano lessons and somehow I learned to hear and reproduce pitch, I think the piano playing helped. I won't ever have perfect pitch but I don't make people wince too obviously, either.

I had a big loud Italian voice, too, and was asked not to sing in at least one chorus because (among other things) I was too darned loud. Didn't know how not to sing loudly back then. Now the big voice is an advantage because I'm going to shantey sings in pubs, you have to make some noise to be heard at all.

One thing we all have in common, besides having been criticized or "put down" early in life; we all kept on singing. Good for us.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Deckman
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 05:19 PM

" We all keep on singing!" You got that right, and just ask Bride Judy and she'll probably add something like .... "and he never shuts up!" CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Burke
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 05:41 PM

I actually started out quite confident of my singing ability. In imitating one of those pseudoopera sopranos in church from a pretty young age, I also learned to belt it out as well. I picked up 3 chord guitar & did some song leading at Girl Scout day camps along the way.

When I got to high school choir, suddenly I was being told I was singing flat. A new choir director my Senior year shuttled me off to the alto section. My confidence plummeted. I tried out for choir in college & was the only one I knew who did not even make the duffers choir. I spent my college years with very little singing, while attending an institution known for its music program.

I'm not sure of what my problem was, but weak sight singing ability was certainly part of it.

After college I got back into church choir singing. I have picked up a lot here & there about vocal production & do manage to be in tune nowadays.

I'm deeply involved in Sacred Harp singing, which has a certain kind of music education built right into it. We have many singers with school experiences similar to those mentioned here. As a consequence of my involvement I've developed lots of opinions about music education. My strongest opinion is that short of majoring in music singers are just left alone to figure it out on their own & this is wrong. That 'it' includes vocal production, reading music, following the conductor, understanding timing, singing harmony, blending, being 'in tune,' ... you name it. A lot of this has to do with learning to listen, but just telling someone to listen is not enough if you don't know what to listen for.

It took me about 20 years to realize how really angry I feel about my high school and, more importantly, college experiences. In what other area is someone not quite good enough, left alone to just try again later with no help at all? How was I supposed to get any better? Even one semester of voice lessons only had me working on particular songs, not any good overall understanding or ways to make the choir. I understand my alma mater later changed its choirs so that anyone who wanted to be in a choir was.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: madwaff
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 06:48 PM

I was damned from an early age, being female with a VERY low voice (turns out (35 years on) I'm a natural tenor, dropping lower on a good day!) Our music teacher 'graded' us all for the choir by doing scales, and started at middle 'c', going up - naturally I ran out fairly quickly, not having hacked falsetto by then, so she said, snottily, 'very limited alto'. I was relegated to the back row, and spent years mouthing soundlessly and wondering what was wrong with me. I spent ages trying to sing alto, and failing miserably, although I began to find tunes I could sing if I went along with the guys. It took until a couple of years ago, when a very good friend with musical training figured out what was really going on - and I'm having a great time and making a decent noise at last! Don't give up, anyone, it may just be you haven't found your voice yet!

madwaff


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: pixieofdoom
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 07:26 PM

I was told at school that I couldn't sing. Now, I can sing reasonably by myself but as soon as I think anyone else can hear I get nervous and sing out of tune. Though sometimes being told you can't do something increases your determination, I've got a severely dyslexic friend who was told repeatedly by teachers, friends and family that he'd never succeed academically. He wanted to prove them wrong so badly that he's now doing a Ph.d in molecular physics


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Deckman
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 07:53 PM

My wonderful "Bride Judy" got her vocal paranoia from her CHILDREN! That's backwards. We're supposed to be intimidated by our elders, not our youngsters! By the time I met her, fell in love (still am), and married her, there was not enough money in the world to get her to sing at a hoot. Yet, I occasionally hear her humming, or singing lightly when she thinks she's alone, and I am totally charmed. (did I mention that I'm still in love?) Go figure?


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 08:47 PM

Madwaff, as the tallest female in my school, I sang not just tenor but BASS in the choir. It did get me a bit of ragging but it also let me learn a good deal about harmony since we basses never carried the main melody line. My range, or perhaps my ability to tap into it, expanded in maturity, and during junior year I moved up to tenor. Now I take the higher or lower part depending on with whom I am singing. One of my favorite folks to sing with is a man with a pure sweet tenor and I take the low end.
Like several on this thread, I have no trouble singing along well and truly but my voice suddenly goes weak or wobbly if I take a solo. I used to act in summer stock musicals and of course was always the lead's comic relief friend. Some law states the leads must be sopranos and must wind up with the most decorative guy, but fortunately the compensatory rule gives the "comic relief" friend the fun character songs and the interesting guys!
At a song circle in Co. Clare one time, a kindly elderly woman said to me, "Keep singing. You will find your voice." I was 52 at the time.
For years I thought it my luck to be born with the love of the song and the voice of an audience.
Now I have taught all my kids and rentakids and anyone else who will listen, "If you can walk, you dance. If you can talk, you sing."


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Morticia
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 08:58 PM

I was told I can't sing......and for years I believed that, until some sweet person in a folk festival said that she thought I had a terrific voice and why wasn't I singing solo? It still took a year or so but I got there.....and I don't think I sing too badly, and oh my goodness, how I love to do it.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Deckman
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 10:47 PM

"If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing." Quite true and how wonderful. Early on, I understood the concept that singing is just exrended speaking. CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Ely
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 11:46 PM

Several people told me I couldn't sing (it was true--I couldn't stay on key to save my life). I'm still not a GOOD singer but at least I can stay on key.

My brother was always told that I was the artistic one, so he never tried anything artistic. Turns out, the kid can draw, he just never did because it was "his sister's thing".


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Willa
Date: 26 Jul 03 - 09:01 AM

Me too! I'm glad KJ, Morticia and LTS didn't let others put them off, otherwise I'd never have got to enjoy their singing.

My music teacher put me in the non-singers group at 12, and there I stayed all through school. (Didn't dare question a teacher's authority then, and certainly didn't tell my parents.) The one thing I do thank Miss M for is that we sound through a song book (wish I could remember the title) full of what I now know were folk songs.

My son started taking me to Cottingham Live about five years ago, and there I first got the buzz of singing solo. Now I'm hooked!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jul 03 - 09:20 AM

With masses of hard work and practice I can be an indifferent singer - as opposed to a bloody awful one. Considering how many boring floor singers there are on the folk scene it doesn't seem worth the effort to add to their number.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST,Frankham
Date: 26 Jul 03 - 09:23 AM

Unless there is something organically wrong with the vocal cords or impairment of the mechanism, any one can learn to sing well. Be very cautious about a voice teacher, though. Do the research. Get good lessons and you will be rewarded.

I was told to mouth the words in a choir. I have never liked singing in choirs since. I've made my living as a singer and player for some time now.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: kendall
Date: 26 Jul 03 - 09:46 AM

"She found a station that played that stuff,
some call country, that was bad enough, then she started
singing along! Had a voice that would shatter Tupperware..." (It sure as hell aint country)


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Morticia
Date: 26 Jul 03 - 12:46 PM

Gosh, I'm very glad it didn't put you off either Willa, imagine anyone saying that about a wonderful voice like yours!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Ferrara
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 08:05 AM

You know, these experiences aren't too different from those of people whose metabolism, mental processes or whatever are a little off the beaten track. They get ignored, neglected and put down, too.

Was talking with a friend this morning who has been told over and over again that "she's crazy" because her medical problems are both severe and hard to diagnose. For that matter, my weakness due to chronic iron deficiency was treated as psychosomatic until after I had my heart transplant, when suddenly the doctors had to pay a whole lot of attention to my various problems....

There is a certain middle-of-the-road mentality that just devalues anything that's a little difficult to deal with (such as someone needing to learn to stay on pitch) or a little unusual (such as a woman with a bass or tenor voice.) People with this mentality don't want to be bothered with anyone or anything complex, or that takes a little extra effort or intelligence to understand and work with.

One thing that makes the folk music community so incredibly rewarding for me is that most of us value and respect individual differences, rather than ignoring, excluding, neglecting, or putting down the people who aren't standing squarely in the middle of the herd.

Rita F


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: kendall
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 08:27 AM

Anyone who has been around chickens will tell you that if a chicken starts acting just a bit different, it will be killed by the others. It's nature. Sad that we humans, so highly evolved, still think like chickens. It's that reptilian part of our brains that make us react to "different" people.
I think of Rose, in the movie, AFRICAN QUEEN, when she said, "Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we were put on earth to rise above"


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: running.hare
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 08:32 AM

Rita has a good point. Through out my teen years I suffered from ME. Was hard enough to get people to except it, and me, once I knew thats what the probem was, before it was imposible!!!!


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: JennyO
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 10:29 AM

Ferrara, what you said about the folk music community rings very true for me, too. It means a lot for me to feel accepted for who I am, even though I am not exactly conventional. I have a wonderful support network of folkie friends who nourish my soul every day.

I grew up in a very religious, judgmental family which had pretty rigid ideas about what my life should look like. There was a lot of music, but it was church music and went hand in hand with all the guilt and alienation that I felt from the church. I was not just encouraged to sing, I was ordered to sing - at eisteddfods and in front of my mother's friends, even though I was shy and didn't want to. I also sang in church choirs and but fortunately I liked that.

Thanks to my mother's pushiness, it was a long time before I managed to get past feelings of embarrassment to be comfortable singing solo. When I finally found enough courage to stand up to my family, I lost contact with most of them, and have no desire to ever place myself within striking distance again. My brother stuck by me however, and I have my two wonderful children and now a grandson.

Very importantly, I have found my folk family. I finally am able to get up and perform - sing, MC a folk club, recite poetry, and laugh if I make a mistake, and not wish the ground would swallow me up. I am free now to present a song for the sake of the song - get lost in it - instead of always having to worry whether I am good enough. I know others have better voices than me, but that doesn't matter so much now. The main thing is I am enjoying singing!

Jenny


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: kendall
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 01:01 PM

What is ME,? Lizabee


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Ferrara
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 10:00 PM

Even more important that being accepted, I think, is the fact that people in the folk community are likely to value, appreciate and even admire many of the very qualities that may make another person seem "unconventional."

Lizabee, I was also wondering about ME.... Didn't recognize the term.

Rita F


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: bflat
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 11:17 PM

Everybody has a voice in the choir. Sing if you love it and the heck with the naysayers.

Ellen


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: JennyO
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 11:34 PM

Yes Ferrara, you've hit the nail on the head - I do feel valued for my unusual qualities. I think there are a lot of people like me in the folk community, who have been through some hard times, and have learned and grown from their experiences, and these are the kind of thinking people who can see past conventional standards to what is really important. I love 'em and I value them very much as friends.

Jenny


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Amergin
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 12:20 AM

i grea up listening to my mom go on about how i cannot sing because I cannot hear real well...whether that is true or not I leave to those who I suffer through my singing... ;)


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 04:03 AM

They said I couldn't sing at school as well, they're still saying it, 50+ years on. I still can't but I DO!!! (My Greek friend says "Roger sings not good but with feeling".)

RtS


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST,KB
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 04:46 AM

Try here for a link to information about ME, which is a horrible debilitating condition that makes people feel like wet dishrags, but which is one of those things that is not very well understood & people tend to think that sufferers should just pull themselves together. A friend's wife suffers with it, and it sounds just aweful - everyone that has it has my sympathy.
here


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: GUEST,noddy
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 04:52 AM

I can sing ..its just that the notes I chose are different from everyone else. And of course it always sounds best when no-one is listening.


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Subject: RE: They Said I couldn't Sing
From: Hrothgar
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 05:07 AM

There is no corner of hell hot enough for somebody who tells a child that he or she cannot sing.


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