Why do people think I can't sing?

Help, I'm singing wrong!

Can you really learn to sing right now?

What is proprioception and what it has to do with singing

(Teaser photo by: Shutterstock, photo by Sambur Roman)

Have you ever asked yourself why some people are totally easy and others maybe just can't hit a note at all while singing? Or how does it come that many singing teachers assert with conviction that really everyone can learn to sing? In this article we will enlighten you and demystify the myth of the "talented singer".

In principle, everyone has a disposition to be able to make music. Very few people have an innate tone deafness, the so-called Amusia. This means that although you have normal hearing, you cannot recognize melodies or reproduce them correctly. That is why we assume at this point that we are not talking about people who suffer from this dysfunction in the brain, but about all the other "normal" people who sing "normal" badly crooked. So why do some people find it difficult to sing?

How a sound is made

To understand why one can learn to sing, we need to know how a sound is created in the first place. Whether on the guitar, in the saxophone or in the human body: When a sound is produced, the air vibrates at a certain frequency. For us singers, this means, to put it simply, the faster our vocal cords vibrate, the higher the tone we sing. A deep tone, on the other hand, occurs when our vocal cords vibrate more slowly. Depending on how tight the vocal cords are, we sing a higher or lower note. In order to generate correct pitches, i.e. to hit a note, we have to learn to use our body correctly at the right moment.

Only in the second step does our hearing come into play - our ears give us feedback within a very short time as to whether we have "adjusted" our vocal apparatus correctly to produce the desired tone or not.


The technical term for the perception of one's own body and its mechanisms is called Proprioception. Anyone who learns an instrument, whether guitar, drums or singing, also learns to internalize and automate motor processes. Actually, this can even be transferred to sports and all other possible movement sequences. The body is trained to do the right thing or the desired thing at the right moment. Here on Bonedo you will find some articles on the subject of "practicing correctly" or a workshop on how to practice intonation. (https://www.bonedo.de/artikel/einzelansicht/intonation-beim-singen-wie-kann-man-das-ueben.html).

Finally, for singing, as for any other instrument, one can say: Repetition is king! And regularity when practicing too! So that our brain internalizes movement sequences, we should train them regularly. Every instrumentalist who does blunt technical exercises is used to it. In the context of singing, technical exercises tend to seem a little ungrateful to us, to put it bluntly: You quickly feel crazy when you make strange noises and train your vocal apparatus.


In order for us to be able to sing beautifully, our body does proper teamwork and juggles a complex interplay of tension in the vocal cords, the right one Breathing technique and of course the sound shaping in the mouth, the so-called clay seat. Coordinating all of this is easier for some than for others. People who started singing as a child tend to have less difficulty getting it all right than someone who doesn't want to sing for the first time until they are in their mid-thirties.

But here we would like to encourage you: Don't be discouraged if you are not one of those people who make practice quick and easy. Stay tuned and above all have fun making music. If you keep practicing, you will definitely feel success in the short or long term!


In addition to motor training, there is a completely different factor that leads to the fact that you do not present yourself in the best light when singing: fear.
Singing is incredibly personal. Our voice is part of our personality, our being and each of you singers will know what it means to feel a song and perform it accordingly. Whoever stands on a stage always reveals something of his personality and makes himself vulnerable. It takes courage to stand on a stage.

And this is where the crux of the matter lies: a lot of people are afraid to sing in front of others. They fear that they may be embarrassed, that others will laugh at them, or that they may simply feel uncomfortable with the attention being directed towards them. If you also sing amplified and through a microphone, it is doubly unusual for many, as the voice in your own body sounds different to that of our fellow human beings. Of course, all of this does not favor singing with an upright cross and full of fervor. In many cases, the body language will be rather reserved and you will certainly not dare to sing out loud.

In concrete terms, this means: You don't support yourself properly when singing, you don't pay attention to the sound of the sound and you probably adopt a posture that is a hindrance to an optimal sound result. As in so many other situations in life, fear is a bad advisor, with whom one does not do himself or his singing a favor, but rather does the opposite.

An experienced singing teacher will try to quickly relieve their own students of this fear in class and create a protected space to try things out

Wrong technique

If no notes are made, there may be other causes as well. In addition to the arbitrarily hit notes (sometimes too high, sometimes too low), it can be a sign of a wrong singing technique if you constantly sing too high or too low. For example: Too much pressure in the chest voice = constant flat (too low) in the highs. Sometimes excitement and a tense posture can also lead to the fact that we no longer have the control over our bodies that we need to hit the right pitch. In this case it helps to have a singing teacher take a look at your technique.

I hope we were able to dispel some of the myths and show that singing has a lot less to do with innate talent than some casting shows would like us to believe.

Have fun practicing!