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can the tone deaf sing - updated

25/08/2010

tone deafness seems to be rare - everyone can sing

 

In many years of leading my Everyone Can Sing voice workshop, many participants have attended who believed they are tone deaf or have been told they are tone deaf only to find out that they can sing perfectly well in tune, by following my process. Some have even had private voice tuition only for the tutor to have given up on them.

 

However, in all the years I’ve been leading this class I’ve yet to meet anyone who is actually tone deaf. ‘Tone deaf’ appears to be a phrase that we use casually but it would appear to be a very rare condition and I’ve not come across it.  Early on in the workshop we undertake some listening exercises, which sharpen up everyone’s awareness of sound. With the right kind of active listening, everyone can sing in tune and find they get can enjoy singing.

 

Howard Goodall update

 

In a recent interview on BBC Radio 4, the famous composer and presenter Howard Goodall explained that there are several skills to be acquired in order to be able to sing.  These include: awareness of rhythm, awareness of melody and awareness of pitch.  All of these skills can be acquired by everyone but we may not all learn them in the same order.  Children who learn about pitch last of these skills can be labeled as ‘tone deaf’ and may be asked to mime in school choirs.  This can have a long term damaging effect on the person’s musical confidence, right through to their elderly years.

 

Howard Goodall

 

Quite a number of students on my Everyone Can Sing course have been told they could not sing and were made to mime in the school choir.  Experiences like these have often caused them not so sing at all for up to sixty years of their lives.  Fortunately, the damage is normally easily undone with the listening exercises I use and the positive reinforcement process that I deploy on my voice workshops.



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