• North Coast Harmony

Why is singing so hard? Part 1

Updated: Nov 28, 2018

Why is singing so hard?

Actually, it’s not. It’s the easiest thing in the world. If you can talk, you can sing. Open your mouth now and sing a couple of lines from a song you love – see, you can sing.

OK, so let’s rephrase the question.

Why is singing well so hard?

Same answer; it’s not. Aside from using your ears to hear the notes, it’s essentially just knowing how to breathe properly (and who can’t breathe?), and learning to control the muscles involved in singing. There are lots of skills involved with both of these elements, but none are particularly difficult to learn. Yes they take a little time to master, and yes you have to practice, but nothing is hard. What can be challenging is remembering to utilize all the physical skills at the same time. But, over time and with practice, muscle memory kicks in, and things that were initially challenging become second nature.

Remember learning to drive? Remember how you had to remember to steer, and put the clutch down, and change gear, and indicate, and look in your mirrors, and keep and eye on your speed, and change lanes, and remember what all the road signs mean, and think about where you’re going, and look out for other drivers, and be aware of hazards ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

Remember how you used to be 100% consciously aware of every single action you had to take to move the car forward, not crash, and get to your destination?

But at some point, autopilot takes over, and you can do all the physical things you need to do (steer, clutch, gear, break etc), without really thinking about it, and driving suddenly becomes much, much easier. Think back to your last journey. You’ll probably remember your route from A to B, but do you remember every single action you took to get there? Do you remember exactly when you changed gear, or when you braked, or what degree you turned the steering wheel? Unlikely.

That’s muscle memory.

When you consciously carry out an action, repeatedly and over time, eventually your muscles will remember what it is they’re supposed to be doing, without you having to give it too much thought.

And that’s exactly how singing well works.

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