You may have seen many singers singing their hearts out at a musical audition, only to receive disappointing marks from the judges at the end of their seemingly “best” performance. Why does this happen? Why do some bad singers think they’re actually good?
Bad singers always have the wrong idea of their abilities due to dishonest feedback from friends and family, as well as themselves. People don’t generally tell you that you sing badly, and acting on the feedback from friends will only give you the wrong idea of your singing skills.
If you’re a singer worried about your singing skills, you may want to check if you’re a good singer, or if you’re tone-deaf. In this article, you’ll learn the basics of assessing your singing prowess accurately and how to improve your musical skills.
How to Know If You’re a Good Singer
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Take this hypothetical scenario: if a friend comes to you, asking for your honest opinion on their singing ability, can you tell them they have a really bad voice, even if that’s your honest opinion?
If you think you can, then it has never happened to you. It’s easier said than done. I bet, if anyone asks you how well they sing, you’ll almost certainly tell them: “Uh, yeah. Your really good.”
This is exactly what happens when you ask your friends how well you sing. Your friends should always encourage you; it would be counter-intuitive if they tell you that you sound like a hungry ape (you don’t sound like a hungry ape; I promise).
The point is that your friends are the worst set of people you can ask to appraise your singing voice and prowess. If you want to know how well you sing, the best person to figure that out is you.
However, it’s important to note that this section only shows you how to determine if you’re tone-deaf. The good news is that tone-deafness doesn’t always translate to a poor musician. Almost every tone-deaf person can correct it by following some of the tips we’ll mention in this article unless the tone-deafness is a result of an ear-damaging accident.
That said, here is a way to test and know for sure if you’re tone-deaf (aka Amusia) or a natural.
Check For Tone Deafness at ToneDeafTest.com
ToneDeafTest.com is one of the most popular sites to test for tone-deafness on the internet. The interface is simple, and the test is pretty reliable.
The site plays a series of notes and gives you instructions on what to do to pass each test. The first section of the test involves differentiating between tones, and the second and third sections have to do with telling if a vocal tone is high or low.
Even if you fail the tone-deaf test initially, you can correct your tone-deafness if you’re willing to work on it. Remember, about 5% of people are reportedly tone-deaf, but music schools report almost no tone-deafness in students after their first few months of study.
How to Improve Your Singing Skills
Singing beautifully is more of a skill than a talent. And like every other skill that exists in the universe, you can surely improve your singing skills with constant practice.
While a certain proportion of people are tone-deaf, most of these people aren’t naturally tone-deaf. It may be they weren’t exposed to music as a kid or they’re simply not inclined to correct their tone-deafness. Most of the time, you can always correct your tone-deafness relatively easily.
If you think (or know) you’re a relatively bad singer, ending your musical career may be the worst move. Even if you’re tone-deaf, you can learn to enjoy your singing hobby by following the simple tips below.
1. Play an Instrument
If you want to correct your tone-deafness, you may want to learn to play a musical instrument. To play a musical instrument effectively, you need to be able to perceive different tones, making it a helpful way to correct tone-deafness.
The first step to mastering a musical instrument is knowing how to tell the different pitches and melodies apart, and that’s exactly the first step to correcting tone-deafness.
Once you’re very comfortable with mimicking melodies with a musical instrument, you can start working on doing the same thing with your singing voice this time, in place of the instrument.
2. Listen to Yourself
This is helpful for all singers, but it’s even more helpful if you play a musical instrument. The more you improve with playing a musical instrument, the better you can differentiate between tone and pitch.
Now, play different tones on your favorite musical instrument, record yourself singing the tune, and listen to see how close you are to mimicking the tone.
You may not be very proficient with this when you start, but the more you keep listening, the better you get at it. In no time, you’ll notice improvements in how you hear music, which will translate to a direct improvement in how you sing.
3. Use an Electronic Tuner
An electronic tuner (Amazon) is simply a device that’s used in detecting the pitch of musical notes. Electronic tuners have insanely high accuracy, about 50 times better than humans in telling musical pitch. It’s mostly used in tuning musical instruments, but it can also be used to help you sing better.
Working with a tuner can be tasking at first, as you’ll realize how difficult it is to get everything right while singing. However, with consistent practice and time, you’ll improve your singing skills to be just as good as you want.
4. Be Confident
Confidence won’t magically make you good at something you’re objectively bad at, and it’s important to get that out of the way. However, it will ensure that you don’t make unnecessary blunders while performing what you’ve desperately trained for.
If you follow musical auditions as much as you should do as an artist, you must have seen someone stop singing in the middle of a potential award-winning performance due to a lack of confidence.
If you spend a lot of time trying to improve your voice, your efforts are pointless if you can’t show the lessons learned from your practice in the real world.
The best way to build positive confidence is to place no expectations on yourself whatsoever. If you think you’re the best singer in the world, you’ll be disappointed whenever you’re rejected in an audition, and if you think otherwise, you won’t be motivated to put up your best performance in the first place.
5. Get a Vocal Coach
Another way to improve if you think you have a bad singing voice is to have a singing lesson or two with a voice coach. A vocal teacher can help you improve your vocal tone and vocal range. They can give you honest feedback on your singing voice and help you to correct bad singing.
Whether you think you are a great singer or a terrible singer a voice teacher can help you out and provide you with a vocal exercise or two that will allow you to improve your breathing and singing technique. You’ll be a musical superstar in no time!
Why Bad Singers Think They’re Good
Now that you know something about tone-deafness and how to correct it to sing better, you may think, why do some awful singers show up on music auditions without working on their defects first?
It appears that most bad singers don’t think they’re good simply because they’re tone-deaf. While a good number of these singers haven’t worked on correcting their tone-deafness, the defect, in and of itself, isn’t the reason why they sing so poorly.
Instead, bad singers think they’re good because they can’t properly evaluate themselves. People tend to overblow their strengths and suppress their weaknesses to make themselves look better, which is a variation of the Dunning-Kruger effect.
The fact that they think they can sing doesn’t help, because they won’t be willing to put in the work required to make them good singers.
Looking at this, you may be thinking: singers shouldn’t rely on feedback from their head then. They should ask friends and family what they think about their music to avoid false assumptions about their abilities.
Sadly, asking your friends how well you sing is even worse than trying to evaluate it yourself. It’s almost impossible to give or get negative feedback or constructive criticism to or from a friend, as humans were created to be that way.
Your friends will always describe your song as “good” or “great” without any real justification as to how they came to that conclusion.
If you want honest and negative criticism of your songs, it’s best to conduct tone-deaf tests on your own, attend musical classes, and try to improve on your own.
Asking your friends if you sing well will only set you on the path of becoming that singer who doesn’t understand why the judges in an audition can’t understand that they’re the best singer in the world.