Do You Need to Be Talented to Learn to Sing?

Updated: Sep 2

As a voice coach, the most common question I get asked is 'Do you need to be talented to learn to sing?'

New students ask me if they're good enough to learn. People I meet at events ask if singing can actually be taught. My friends ask what I do if I get a student who 'can't sing'.

The truth is you don't need talent to become a great singer. All you need is motivation and a willingness to learn.

There's an extremely common myth that you can only sing if you're born with that ability. This idea that there's a magical talent fairy that goes around and blesses people with musical ability is, frankly, just as ridiculous as it sounds. The magical talent fairy doesn't exist.

Now don't get me wrong, some people are naturally better at singing than others. That natural ability helps, but it's not the only thing that matters.

The best way to explain it is to think about learning to play a sport. Some people are naturally really good at sports. Other people (like me) aren't exactly natural athletes. Does that mean that you can't play sports? Of course not!

People who aren't naturally sporty can still learn to play. Working with a good coach, you learn to best way to move your body and strengthen your muscles to improve your sporting ability. The harder and longer you work, the better you get at your chosen sport.

Singing is exactly the same. A good coach will help you learn the correct techniques and how to use them to get the best result. If you listen to your coach's advice, and work at implementing the techniques they teach you, you'll be able to improve your singing voice. Regardless of your natural talent.

But what if I'm tone deaf?

I've met a lot of people who think they're tone deaf. As it turns out, most of them are wrong - there is nothing wrong with their pitch, they just need to improve their technique. If you do struggle with pitch, a good coach can help you with that, too!

The truth is, nearly everyone has a natural sense of pitch. Think about when babies cry - to most of us, it's just an annoying noise, but if you talk to the baby's parent, they can probably tell you exactly what the baby needs from the sound of that cry. This is because babies cry at a different pitch for different needs. An 'I'm hungry' cry sounds different from a cry for attention.

This suggests that all of us are born with perfect pitch, we just lose that ability once we learn to talk. (Unless you're one of the few who retain that ability, which you're much more likely to do if you're brought up in a musical family or have music lessons from a young age.) So what does all this mean? Unless you are physically deaf, you can learn to match a pitch. You've had the ability since before you learned to talk.

Want to find out how good your current singing voice is?

Southern Voice Studio offers a free introductory lesson to every student, so you can get an evaluation from a voice coach and learn what we can do to help improve your singing voice. We'd love to have you in studio!

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