Monday, July 25, 2022

It’s good to fail as a singer (and you should do it more often)

Most singers starting out are terrified of getting it ‘wrong’. They hold back in all sorts of ways and approach singing hesitantly. 

But if you’re not ‘failing’ and getting it ‘wrong’, then you’ll never progress.

what might ‘failure’ mean?

It could mean singing the wrong note, coming in at the wrong time, forgetting the lyrics, not blending with the other singers, singing flat (or sharp), not remembering the structure of the song.

In fact, there are so many ways in which you can ‘fail’, that it’s certain that every singer will fail at some point.

what’s the opposite of ‘failure’?

It’s usually seen as some kind of perfection. Of getting everything ‘right’ (and not ‘wrong’) all the time. Of always doing things ‘properly’, never stepping out of line, never drawing attention to yourself, blending in with everybody else.

Of course, this raises the question of what ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are in the context of singing. A ‘wrong’ note could be ‘an interesting harmony choice’. A ‘correct’ interpretation of a song could be ‘soulless and without feeling’.

No matter. There are bound to be times when you ‘fail’. And if you’re not failing, then you’re not learning or trying or stepping out of your comfort zone or being a confident singer.

failure is good

It tells you when you’ve gone wrong so that you can correct it next time. It teaches you self-awareness and gives you the opportunity to reflect on why something has gone wrong.

It’s an inevitable part of the learning process. You will never discover what your true abilities are (for example, your vocal range, your maximum volume, you ability to be a soloist) unless you try something new for the first time.

You won’t nail it the first time, so it will be a ‘failure’ in some sense. It will give you information (“No, that note really is too high for me”) and help you develop your singing ability (“I nearly got it, I’ll try just one more time”). 

And what happens if you try to avoid failing? You end up not singing at all.

If you’re not failing as a singer, you’re not growing. So go out there and fail some more!

Chris Rowbury


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