• Maisie Loh

Is Singing A Natural Talent Or Can It Be Learnt?



When you turn on the TV to watch reality show contests such as “American Idol” to “The Voice”, you might think that singing comes naturally to some lucky few. You might have tried your hand at singing in live events such as your best friend’s wedding to karaoke night out with co-workers. Somehow, you feel you just can’t reach a certain pitch or match the music tones required to sound at least pleasant. This might cause doubt in your mind whether singing is a natural innate talent or if it can be learnt?


Do You Suffer From Congenital Amusia?


About 1 out of 75 people in the world suffer from this disorder known as congenital amusia. Congenital amusia is a condition that prevents the sufferer from hearing a difference in pitch, tone, and rhythm. In colloquial terms, congenital amusia is simply known as being tone-deaf. A research has found that 9 out of 11 amusics made poor singers. 11 amusic individuals and 11 matched controls were asked to sing a familiar tune with lyrics and on the syllable. They made an anomalously high number of pitch interval and contour errors since the disorder is a perceptual pitch deficit in the brain. More than half sang in-time while two amusic individuals, despite having impoverished pitch perception, were able to sing proficiently.


The research is encouraging because it showed that singing is a learnt skill. Almost anyone can learn to sing well with practice. You may not emerge from your singing lessons sounding like Adele, but you might be surprised at how singing on pitch can come easy for you.


What You Need To Be Successful In Singing


For those who shun singing, it could be due to early remarks from teachers or friends. Being labeled as ‘tone-deaf’ can be really discouraging and could have a long-lasting negative impact on childhood, especially for aspiring singers. A well-intentioned comment can leave a scar on a budding vocalist. It is important, if you are an aspiring vocalist, to discard discouraging remarks made on your pitch and tone in the past and look forward to starting learning vocals. A poor musical self-image obstructs you from taking the first steps to learning to sing.


Practice makes perfect. As Malcolm Gladwell, a journalist and social science author found, 10,000 hours put into practicing a skill could make you an Outlier. Outliers are those who achieved high levels of success by practicing the 10,000-Hour rule correctly and they included Bill Gates and The Beatles.


Practice Is Key


Parents who find their kids open to learning singing may want to consider placing them in vocal lessons. Research found that considerable improvement is made when children learn to sing when they start in pre-school and continue with the lessons till late into elementary school.


When students drop out of mandatory music classes, so will their singing ability. College students, who had music training as children but stopped and did not sing much except for karaoke nights out, reverted to pre-school level in their singing ability. Just like learning a musical instrument, singing isn’t a skill that can be mastered on the first try.


Keen to take vocal lessons in Singapore? Ritmo Music studio offers a variety of music programs for children and adults. We are located near Chinatown MRT station.



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