Tone Deafness

Yeah.  A lot of beginners come in saying they are tone deaf.  Generally, if you love singing and music you tend not to be tone deaf.  Tone deaf people really have a hard time enjoying music because it sounds like noise to them.  Sometimes they dig the rhythm part a lot, but the melodic part tends to be unpleasant to them.

Another way to tell if you might be tone deaf is this: Can you tell you’re off key?  Some people who are not tone deaf cannot tell because they’re not used to listening for that but if you CAN tell you’re off-key, that pretty much means you’re not tone deaf.

If You Like Music, You Can Be Taught To Sing

So if you enjoy music and singing, that means you’re not tone deaf.  And if you’re not tone deaf, then you can learn to sing, even if you totally suck right this second.  I totally sucked at one time so I feel your pain!

A lot of times people who are frustrated or weird will tell other people they are tone deaf.  And when that happens, generally a person who was told they are tone deaf stops singing and then they forget how to use their voice.  This especially used to happen a long time ago but it still goes on and it really makes me mad.  You don’t get to take away someone’s love and access to music because you are frustrated with your teaching abilities!  I mean, right?  WTF! People who are told they are tone deaf generally don’t continue to sing.  They tend to feel very sad and anxious about their singing and close up.  Sometimes they don’t even sing privately.  This kills me a little inside because singing is so awesome and the need and desire to sing remains with people annd it’s just generally a terrible situation that requires them to be very brave to start to sing again.

Being Told You’re Tone Deaf Makes You Sing Off Key

When you stop singing, your pitch gets worse so you start singing more off-key than before because it takes experience to control your voice.  So then people will tell you you’re off key and it reinforces this and you want to sing even less.  It can become a cycle.

The first thing I do with someone who comes in with bad pitch problems or who has been told they are tone deaf is to try to get them to start making sounds.  Even if they are off-key, if they can start to gain experience with their singing voice, they start getting better.

Singing A Pitch From an Instrument/Computer Is Harder

Another thing that is interesting, but can be very frustrating for people is that it is very hard to replicate a pitch given on an instrument compared to a pitch given with a voice.  It’s a pretty abstract thing – hearing an instrumental pitch and singing it.  When someone sings the note, you can kinda hear how it lays in their voice and it’s much easier to replicate that pitch..

I’ve Been Called Tone Deaf Too – Just Not To My Face

Funny story, MY mother actually used to think I was tone deaf.  I mean, she was awesome about it and never told me she thought this, but she actually used to tell me she “had a hedache” and woud I please not sing.  Well, this was Los Angeles in the 1970s and it was smoggy and people often DID have headaches due to the pollution, so it seems feasible.

But after I passed the audition to get into the school advanced choir and she heard me soloing and I was on pitch, she finally did tell me and we had a laugh about it  Yay, mom!

Nowadays, my pitch is obnoxiously good.  Verging on “perfect pitch” which they also used to think was genetic.  So it can be done, kids.  The important thing is your love of music.  Do you love music?  What is talent if not a deep and abiding love of music?