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Rllink
05-21-2017, 04:52 AM
To start with, I know that there are a lot of people out there who don't sing and who don't go outside of their homes to play their ukuleles. That's fine, each to their own. In fact, I was at once one of them. But one of the reasons I took up the ukulele was to leave that person behind and to become one of those people who share their music with the world. That was, and still is, my motivation and it drove me. I know that isn't everybody though. I have recently acquired a student. Actually more of an apprentice, as I'm not much of a teacher. She won't sing. She is twelve years old and she was inspired by 21 Pilots' House of Gold. I have known her family for a long time. We have been working toward learning to play it. She will strum along with me while I sing it, but she will not sing. No offense meant to anyone who doesn't sing, but what is the point of learning to play a song that you like if you aren't going to sing it? Does anyone have any ideas how to gently push my young student out of her shell?

Along the same lines, a down town clothing store has asked my wife and I to perform for them during the Downtown Music Walk this fall. We've done that before. I think it would be a great opportunity for my young student to really experience the excitement and rush of performing in public. In that case, she might not even have to sing. Just stand there and play her ukulele. Maybe that is the next step for her, if I can get her to take it. So any advise would be appreciated. Perhaps there are people here who wouldn't sing or perform at first, but then were inspired and blossomed? Tell me about it. Let me learn from other's experiences.

Croaky Keith
05-21-2017, 05:31 AM
In general, I don't sing either, & when I do, it's only for the other Seasonistas on here, I prefer to play the melody.

Just let her find her own way, maybe she'll start to sing it at home once she feels confident enough in her playing, or, maybe she would like to play the melody line instead of the chords.

Some of us are just born shy, it takes a lot of nerve to put ourselves up in front of people that first time.
(Don't push her, if she wants to she will when the time is right for her.)

Choirguy
05-21-2017, 06:35 AM
Hey Rollie,

Welcome to my world. To anyone who doesn't know, I teach middle school choir, and it is messed up system where students HAVE to take a music class (very few exceptions, exceptions that are usually based on special education needs). We don't have general music, so students sign up for band, choir, or orchestra. It isn't an exaggeration to say that orchestra draws many of our best and brightest, and that both orchestra and band require more practice outside of school, and have a higher cost (instruments, supplies, and method books).

Therefore choir is made up of kids that want to sing (and I get kids that leave orchestra and band TO sing), and those that aren't in instrumental music. Numerically, I have well over 350 students, band has 140, and orchestra about 55. I'd say that if students didn't have to be in music, we would see those numbers drop to 200, 90, and 45. That means I am teaching at least 150 students that would rather be anywhere else.

Sadly, the mix between the climate of our building and the general trend for the current generation in secondary schools means that students simply won't participate if they don't want to. No one can make them--not me, not administration, and not parents (but, to be honest, there is usually a correlation between parent involvement and encouragement and participation).

So...I am left trying to make things work with choirs that have large numbers of kids that won't sing. Some of that is age appropriate--singing is one of the most intensely personal things you can do. You can quit trumpet if you are bad at it, and blame the trumpet. You can't rip your vocal folds out of your neck and blame your vocal folds. You are stuck with the voice that you have. So there is embarassment, puberty, al of those things combined. Added to the problem is the number of girls that sing at a male's range--thanks to popular music and tenors (I am a tenor) that sing too high for the general population. What we end up with is a large group of female students who can sing along with the radio, but avoid singing at their correct octave. Singing is a muscular function--and if you don't train the normal range of the singing voice, it is breathy and not pleasing to hear--and thus if you keep avoiding it, it doesn't get any better.

So, what do I do?

First, I added ukulele, thinking that some exposure to the instrument might give some of these students an opportunity to do something musical in place of singing. In reality, the kids that do nothing continue to do nothing. My guess this is true for those kids in anything that they are not passionate about. I have kids that complain, "I thought we were supposed to SING in this class, " but when we do sing, they don't. What the message really is: "I won't do anything I don't want to do."

I wasn't that kid growing up, and neither were my friends. I didn't see a lot of the other kids doing that when I grew up. I would guess that perhaps 10-20% of kids were like that when I was in school. Today is it more like 50-60%. So it is a generational shift.

Second, I try to choose music they will sing. We sing non-religious holiday tunes for our Holiday Concert, and "safe" pop tunes for the Spring Concert. For our ukulele sessions, I am basing all of our work on pop-music play-Alongs on YouTube, such as those by Dr. Jill Reese, Dr. A, and Kevin Way. For the Spring Concert, I ask kids to suggest songs and choose some of them. For this concert, choirs are singing songs such as "I Don't Know My Name," "Clouds," "I Can't Help Falling in Love with You," and "House of Gold." I throw in some folk and classical songs, too, but let them choose which of the songs we learned to perform for the concert. On a positive note, even the folk and classical songs had students that wanted to learn them.

Anyway--choosing the music that appeals to them and lets them have SOME say at this age level works a little bit (at the high school level, you can usually just choose the music--but student choice somewhere in the year is still a good thing). In the end, I look around, and sometimes there are 5 or 6 more kids singing in class, even on a particular song--and that is a win. With the video play-Alongs, it is fun to see a number of them singing along--but it is really tricking them to do so.

So...it isn't easy, and it sounds like you are doing the right things. Don't make her perform publically unless she wants to.

Now...put this into adult culture, and people are just as reluctant to sing at ukulele jams that I have attended as my students are. Our leader encourages singing--as do I. But it all goes back to that personal nature of the voice, and the fact that someone might have told a person that they stink at singing--that is personal and it can stick FOREVER. I work hard to address problems with the voice by addressing the issue rather than labeling the voice itself as bad.

And I suppose it doesn't help sometimes to have a teacher (or fellow ukulele jam member) who isn't intimidated by singing and who just sings out no matter what.

On a similar note, churches seem awfully quiet during worship these days, too--a lot of churches have moved to rock-based worship that is almost more like a concert, where the audience watches, rather than having audiences actively participate. However--people seem to like that.

It's a big issue...one that I face daily. I'd just keep encouraging her to sing (even if she doesn't). She may be singing back home in her room when she practices. That's how you know they are hooked--when their parents come up to you and complain that they are locked in their room with their ukulele.

I just wish that was more of them!

Graham Greenbag
05-21-2017, 09:55 AM
I find it hard to follow Choirguy's excellent response above with much of value but hope that sharing my personal experience might help.

I'm a poor singer (limited range and poor pitch) and a poor ukulele player, but despite that I really enjoy playing and singing at 'club night'. During 'club sessions' my voice and playing is effectively unheard amongst the sound everyone else produces and so I just enjoy myself rather than embarrass myself: in that situation that no one judges me and I judge no one else.

I have yet to play out with my Ukulele Club, but that's purely a function of time available to me. However I do play other instruments and have played out to the public with them. It took me years before I felt comfortable about playing to an audience, I felt self conscious and continually worried about what I had played incorrectly or what I was about to play poorly. Eventually I became more hardened and stopped worrying about what other people might think of me, I decided that their adverse opinion (if that is what it was) didn't matter and that they could 'go take a walk'. If an adult man, and not a young one, struggles with such confidence then IMHO it's no wonder that a little girl does.

How do you get children to do things? Well I never managed with my own at that age but my wife did. Her secret was to ask for little things and praise anything done half well and to praise effort. For the Mall I suggest that the best you can possibly hope for is that she plays some of the pieces whilst nearly hiding behind you and your wife. For singing at home perhaps she might join in the choruses of some songs that you and your wife sing together (give the little one some cover under which to quietly grow in ability and confidence).

That's just my experience, as ever, your mileage might vary.

Mivo
05-21-2017, 10:10 AM
No offense meant to anyone who doesn't sing, but what is the point of learning to play a song that you like if you aren't going to sing it?

A song doesn't just consist of the vocal part. It's another "instrument", and while it works well together with a ukulele, it's a different skill altogether that appeals to a different group of people. Most bands only have one singer, but multiple musicians. Even if you are not in a group, and not accompanying a singer, you can still "think" the lyrics or hum them while playing. If it's enjoyable, then that's the point.

Even as a listener I enjoy instrumentals more than songs with singing.

acmespaceship
05-21-2017, 10:17 AM
Adolescence is hell. I wouldn't force a 12-year-old girl into doing anything outside her comfort zone. If you can get her to join you at the gig and just play along, that would be wonderful. No singing until she's ready. Remembering myself at that age, I think it's likely when she's alone in her room strumming uke, she's singing along. Too quietly for anyone to hear. And she'll deny it.

Choirguy, wow you have my sympathy. Some kids really don't get music and don't care. Others wish they could sing but are convinced they can't. Either way, the "this is dumb, I don't want to do it" reflex is self-protective. I was that way in gym class. There was nothing any gym teacher could have done to make me approach a vaulting horse with anything but a seething hatred of gym class, gym teachers, stupid jocks and life generally.

Finally I got a gym teacher in high school who said, look, I know you're not all athletes. I don't expect everyone to be good at this. I only ask you to make an honest effort and try to have fun. Well, that little pep talk made a big difference. The mopers stopped moping and the whole class seemed happier. You'd think that was obvious, but to the adolescent mind if they put you in a class, they expect you to excel at it. If you're in choir, you have to be a great singer or else you're a wretched failure. Giving the kids explicit permission to suck might seem counter-intuitive, but it takes the pressure off.

I don't lead choirs, but sometimes I direct plays. There are rehearsals where I ask the actors to deliberately overact. Be the worst actor you can possibly be. Master Thespian! Genius! Thank You! It gets the timid actors to open up and everybody has fun. Maybe a choir rehearsal where the objective is to sing as loudly and as badly as possible?

A classic first-day-of-improv-class exercise is for each student to stand onstage and sing his or her favorite song as loud as possible. All at the same time. No point in being self-conscious because nobody can hear you over the din. But now you've got them onstage, singing loud, and not afraid, which is step one.

Rllink
05-21-2017, 11:45 AM
I'm not going to make her sing. I mean how would one even do that? Also, I'm not one to go around telling people what to do. I suggest to her that she sing the songs instead of just playing the chords and she is too shy to do so. I acquired this student because I have known her mother since she herself was a kid and they looked for a real ukulele instructor in town everywhere and couldn't find one. They tried. But then my niece told her that I played the ukulele and she asked me to teach her daughter, and I said that I would do the best that I could. But I consider myself more a mentor than a ukulele instructor. But the thing is that I sing and play the ukulele. That is what I do. If she does not go that direction, eventually I will not be able to help her on her journey. But hey, that is a long way off. There is still a lot that I can show her. And who knows, maybe with some help I will get her to come along with me on my journey. That is why I posted this here. I'm just hoping to get some advice early, before we come to that crossroad. That's all.



Finally I got a gym teacher in high school who said, look, I know you're not all athletes. I don't expect everyone to be good at this. I only ask you to make an honest effort and try to have fun. Well, that little pep talk made a big difference. The mopers stopped moping and the whole class seemed happier. You'd think that was obvious, but to the adolescent mind if they put you in a class, they expect you to excel at it. If you're in choir, you have to be a great singer or else you're a wretched failure. Giving the kids explicit permission to suck might seem counter-intuitive, but it takes the pressure off.

I am not a particularly good singer. I'm okay, I don't embarrass myself. Most people that I know who perform are not great singers, or even great instrumentalists. They are great performers. I think that I'm a pretty good performer. At least people seem to enjoy it. So I'm not asking for anyone to be a great singer. But I think that you make a good point. Because I talk to a lot of people who set the bar so unrealistically high for themselves that they will ever be able to clear it. To me singing and performing is all about accepting yourself. I think that if I can show someone to do that through the ukulele, that would be cool.


A song doesn't just consist of the vocal part. It's another "instrument", and while it works well together with a ukulele, it's a different skill altogether that appeals to a different group of people. Most bands only have one singer, but multiple musicians. Even if you are not in a group, and not accompanying a singer, you can still "think" the lyrics or hum them while playing. If it's enjoyable, then that's the point.

Even as a listener I enjoy instrumentals more than songs with singing.

Mivo, it is okay with me if you don't sing, and I'm not telling you that you should. But if you were my protege I would want you to, because that is what I do. I mean, if you are doing your own thing, that's great. But if you come along with me and do my thing, it is good if you sing.

Sharpshin
05-21-2017, 01:49 PM
I think this is genius, acmespaceship! Bravo! That really could be a ice breaker! At least it would work on me....smile.
Adolescence is so difficult and it lasts a heck of a long time! Then if we are lucky, we get to experience not caring what others think quite so much and branch out a bit, but that can come late in life.
One reason I like the ukulele is the low barrier to entry, the low expectations etc. I do get weary of people trying to insist that I play for them. What? I play for my self, and not casual acquaintances. No, I won't play for you, just because music came up in our conversation.
It seems that people don't play or sing as much anymore and that is a loss. We are on our phones or computers and perhaps technology has lead us to somehow believe that unless we are American Idol or the The Voice quality that we should not try? I am not good at playing anything and have never taken lessons but I enjoy trying and discovering things musically.
I think be positive and encouraging of effort is the best we can do for each other sometimes.


Adolescence is hell. I wouldn't force a 12-year-old girl into doing anything outside her comfort zone. If you can get her to join you at the gig and just play along, that would be wonderful. No singing until she's ready. Remembering myself at that age, I think it's likely when she's alone in her room strumming uke, she's singing along. Too quietly for anyone to hear. And she'll deny it.

Choirguy, wow you have my sympathy. Some kids really don't get music and don't care. Others wish they could sing but are convinced they can't. Either way, the "this is dumb, I don't want to do it" reflex is self-protective. I was that way in gym class. There was nothing any gym teacher could have done to make me approach a vaulting horse with anything but a seething hatred of gym class, gym teachers, stupid jocks and life generally.

Finally I got a gym teacher in high school who said, look, I know you're not all athletes. I don't expect everyone to be good at this. I only ask you to make an honest effort and try to have fun. Well, that little pep talk made a big difference. The mopers stopped moping and the whole class seemed happier. You'd think that was obvious, but to the adolescent mind if they put you in a class, they expect you to excel at it. If you're in choir, you have to be a great singer or else you're a wretched failure. Giving the kids explicit permission to suck might seem counter-intuitive, but it takes the pressure off.

I don't lead choirs, but sometimes I direct plays. There are rehearsals where I ask the actors to deliberately overact. Be the worst actor you can possibly be. Master Thespian! Genius! Thank You! It gets the timid actors to open up and everybody has fun. Maybe a choir rehearsal where the objective is to sing as loudly and as badly as possible?

A classic first-day-of-improv-class exercise is for each student to stand onstage and sing his or her favorite song as loud as possible. All at the same time. No point in being self-conscious because nobody can hear you over the din. But now you've got them onstage, singing loud, and not afraid, which is step one.

Graham Greenbag
05-21-2017, 09:25 PM
Choirguy, wow you have my sympathy. Some kids really don't get music and don't care. Others wish they could sing but are convinced they can't. Either way, the "this is dumb, I don't want to do it" reflex is self-protective. I was that way in gym class. There was nothing any gym teacher could have done to make me approach a vaulting horse with anything but a seething hatred of gym class, gym teachers, stupid jocks and life generally.

Finally I got a gym teacher in high school who said, look, I know you're not all athletes. I don't expect everyone to be good at this. I only ask you to make an honest effort and try to have fun. Well, that little pep talk made a big difference. The mopers stopped moping and the whole class seemed happier. You'd think that was obvious, but to the adolescent mind if they put you in a class, they expect you to excel at it. If you're in choir, you have to be a great singer or else you're a wretched failure. Giving the kids explicit permission to suck might seem counter-intuitive, but it takes the pressure off.





Thankyou for sharing this insight, IMHO it is an absolute gem - a liberating and empowering mindset to copy, to explore and to promote. How I wish that more folk took the attitude of that teacher, we'd all be a lot happier and end up more fulfilled too.

Apologies to the OP if I in anyway divert the thread.

kkimura
05-22-2017, 03:57 AM
Tell her you're not sure how some part of the song should sound. Then ask her to help.

Booksniffer
05-28-2017, 10:06 PM
Maybe this can help?
http://www.bulletproofmusician.com/dogs-musicians-best-friend/

igorthebarbarian
05-29-2017, 07:52 AM
For karaoke, I usually need two drinks to get the confidence up. That probably won't work here! Haha!
Good luck though seriously. If she actually physically shows up and participates in public, that would be a gigantic step and success.

igorthebarbarian
05-29-2017, 08:00 AM
Maybe this can help?
http://www.bulletproofmusician.com/dogs-musicians-best-friend/

Good article - thanks for posting!

bratsche
05-29-2017, 11:18 AM
You can't rip your vocal folds out of your neck and blame your vocal folds. You are stuck with the voice that you have. So there is embarassment, puberty, al of those things combined. Added to the problem is the number of girls that sing at a male's range--thanks to popular music and tenors (I am a tenor) that sing too high for the general population. What we end up with is a large group of female students who can sing along with the radio, but avoid singing at their correct octave. Singing is a muscular function--and if you don't train the normal range of the singing voice, it is breathy and not pleasing to hear--and thus if you keep avoiding it, it doesn't get any better.


I read your interesting post, but am confused by what you mean here. specifically about "girls that sing at a male's range" and "avoid singing at their correct octave". And what is "the normal range of the singing voice"? Isn't that a huge generalization? What if the girls just have low voices and/or short ranges? That describes me, although I haven't been called a "girl" in quite a few decades... but it applied to me then, as well. Girls' voices can change at puberty, too. Mine definitely did. I sang soprano in elementary school, but that was about as long as it lasted. I became a low alto rather quickly, but was always more at home in the orchestra, anyway. ;-)

For the record, I'm a non-singer now, except very rarely in church, but usually I'm up front playing the melody on my viola (much to the relief of the congregation, I'm sure). When I do sing (we do traditional hymns, as it's a mostly older crowd), I notice I'm an octave below most of the females, because I could never sing up there, even if I wanted to..

I've always been into playing, not singing, as musical instruments fascinate me most, but I've heard my voice, and judging from the perspective of a professional instrumentalist, I know it's not a pretty one. But I know also that even if it were, playing and singing simultaneously is a multitasking feat that is quite beyond me, as I even have to stop playing in order to speak a few words if spoken to, because there is no way I could reply coherently and still stay on track playing. (This is something I've tried repeatedly to overcome over the years, to no avail).

Anyway, just some random observations from a deeper-voiced gal.

bratsche

Choirguy
05-29-2017, 04:52 PM
I read your interesting post, but am confused by what you mean here. specifically about "girls that sing at a male's range" and "avoid singing at their correct octave". And what is "the normal range of the singing voice"? Isn't that a huge generalization? What if the girls just have low voices and/or short ranges? That describes me, although I haven't been called a "girl" in quite a few decades... but it applied to me then, as well. Girls' voices can change at puberty, too. Mine definitely did. I sang soprano in elementary school, but that was about as long as it lasted. I became a low alto rather quickly, but was always more at home in the orchestra, anyway. ;-)

Okay...

Imagine the bell curve or Gaussian curve for a moment. Roughly 10% of the population will be on the extreme high end, 10% on the extreme low end. Considering the curve again, another 20% might be considered "high" and another 20% considered low. But 60% of the singers will be in moderate ranges (baritone for men, mezzo soprano for women) if they sing with a normal, healthy production. And perhaps a good percentage of the "extremes" can sing all those notes, too.

There are going to be exceptions: there will be those that only can sing low (amazingly, we don't find people that can only sing high) which often comes down to a number of reasons. Some are genetic in nature, others by abuse (smoking/drinking), injury, or by repeated practice only in that area. So, there are REAL contraltos, and REAL sopranos--just as there are REAL basses and REAL tenors. The problem for choir directors is that there are a whole lot of people in the middle--and these ranges typically don't settle until our 20s (and may change again--for many women, after childbirth). So choir directors have to try to put people on the side of the curve that fits better for them--when really, a middle range would be ideal.

Most women should be able to sing from an A below Middle C (A4) to the D above Middle C (D5), although the range between G above middle C (G4) and the C above that (C5) might be airy and breathy and not sound very nice. Men have a similar situation roughly (not quite an octave lower).

That middle range--called the "break"--also turns a lot of singers away because they don't like "cracking" and they don't like the airy sound. But just like a muscle, you can train the voice so it gets better.

My guess is that you very well might have notes an octave higher than you sing...and if you were my student, I would work with you to find those notes and to develop your whole voice. That doesn't mean that you would sing there forever--or like it--but like a physical trainer who wants you to focus on all of your body's muscle groups, my task is looking at the entire voice.

We have some challenges in our (global) culture--we speak lower than we should (all of us), we worship male tenors on the radio (meaning that most men can't sing along and women sing too low), and even public singing forums (think church worship) focus on songs that are higher than the average person should attempt to sing (or, put another way, too low). On a related note, too many of the Daily 365 Songs are written to be easy to play--but are in wicked ranges to sing. But until you become an intermediate player, you likely wouldn't dare to play songs in keys that are unfriendly on the ukulele fretboard.

I am really passionate about this issue. One of the reasons I love the ukulele is that it gets people to sing--and I am NOT judging anyone. I do want them to be able to sing joyfully and boldly--but the voice teacher in me also wants people to be able to sing in a healthy manner and in a range that is appropriate for their voice.

Rllink
05-30-2017, 07:08 AM
Okay...




My guess is that you very well might have notes an octave higher than you sing...and if you were my student, I would work with you to find those notes and to develop your whole voice. That doesn't mean that you would sing there forever--or like it--but like a physical trainer who wants you to focus on all of your body's muscle groups, my task is looking at the entire voice.

We have some challenges in our (global) culture--we speak lower than we should (all of us), we worship male tenors on the radio (meaning that most men can't sing along and women sing too low), and even public singing forums (think church worship) focus on songs that are higher than the average person should attempt to sing (or, put another way, too low). On a related note, too many of the Daily 365 Songs are written to be easy to play--but are in wicked ranges to sing. But until you become an intermediate player, you likely wouldn't dare to play songs in keys that are unfriendly on the ukulele fretboard.

I am really passionate about this issue. One of the reasons I love the ukulele is that it gets people to sing--and I am NOT judging anyone. I do want them to be able to sing joyfully and boldly--but the voice teacher in me also wants people to be able to sing in a healthy manner and in a range that is appropriate for their voice.I think that a lot of people have misconceptions about their own singing. I absolutely was not a singer before taking up the ukulele. I didn't even sing the hymns during church services. I was convinced that I did not have a full octave of range. This is what I told everyone and anyone before I took singing lessons, and I believed it. With just a little work from my voice coach during the first lesson, we discovered that I had two and a half octaves of range. If anyone had told me that I might have that much range before then, I would have stood my ground and denied it.

bratsche
05-30-2017, 07:11 PM
Most women should be able to sing from an A below Middle C (A4) to the D above Middle C (D5), although the range between G above middle C (G4) and the C above that (C5) might be airy and breathy and not sound very nice. Men have a similar situation roughly (not quite an octave lower).

That middle range--called the "break"--also turns a lot of singers away because they don't like "cracking" and they don't like the airy sound. But just like a muscle, you can train the voice so it gets better.

My guess is that you very well might have notes an octave higher than you sing...and if you were my student, I would work with you to find those notes and to develop your whole voice. That doesn't mean that you would sing there forever--or like it--but like a physical trainer who wants you to focus on all of your body's muscle groups, my task is looking at the entire voice.

I'd be shocked if that were the case, frankly. I can sing up to G4 on a good day (and must be well warmed-up) but always crack at A, that is just not doable, "breathy" or otherwise, though I can parody it in a half-assed falsetto if I try hard. ;) I can go down to A2 easily, though.

bratsche

Graham Greenbag
05-31-2017, 12:19 AM
I think it best not too get too hung on detail or what this gender or that gender are supposed to be able to do. In practical life it is normal not to be able to do some things that our friends can regardless of their and our gender. It seems to me that Choirguy was dealing in generalities and using his experience of what changes in voice training he had been able to achieve with some students.

The nature of 'normal distribution' means that there must be results that are (distributed) well away from the typical. Some folk are less strong than others and some are less clever than others, with good teaching we make the best of what we have but whatever help I might get I'm never going to be able to run a four minute mile or gain a PHD in Astro-physics. For me the same would apply with singing, the raw material isn't that great but a good teacher might be able to make something of it. How much improvement or change is actually possible must surely vary between individuals and the outcome might not always fit particularly comfortably with one or other traditional pitch grouping - normal distribution (variation) does include small percentages of non-typical values.

Sorry if my points pull away from the original post. I've found this a most interesting thread and note how it touches on both ability to perform capably and performance anxiety.

S11LKO
07-13-2017, 02:01 PM
I love to play, and I love to sing, and I've been doing both since I was a kid (I'm 60 now), but nature sadly didn't endow me with either great playing talent OR a good voice. I do both because I ENOY doing them; and I derive a great deal of pleasure from both activites - even if my 'audiences' don't!

It'll be difficult for her at only 12 years of age I know, but I've always found the secret is to just do it BECAUSE you enjoy doing it, and not really worry about what others think. All of the top stars in any musical genre have fans that love them, and others who don't like them at all.

Most people improve a little the more they do; and if anyone so interested can obtain a good vocal tutor (I've sadly never had one) I'm sure it'd help immensely. In the short couple of days I've been a member of UU I've watched videos of members of very wide and varying talents; many of whom I can only one day hope to emulate. But the one thing they all have in common is that they're enjoying themselves - and that, surely, is what our music should all be about?

We're all different in the way we feel inside about what we want to do in music, but I'm sure she'll sing one day if, as and when she feels the time is right for her...and I feel sure that with YOUR continued guidance Rllink, that day WILL come...

Rllink
07-14-2017, 07:09 AM
I think it best not too get too hung on detail or what this gender or that gender are supposed to be able to do. In practical life it is normal not to be able to do some things that our friends can regardless of their and our gender. It seems to me that Choirguy was dealing in generalities and using his experience of what changes in voice training he had been able to achieve with some students.

The nature of 'normal distribution' means that there must be results that are (distributed) well away from the typical. Some folk are less strong than others and some are less clever than others, with good teaching we make the best of what we have but whatever help I might get I'm never going to be able to run a four minute mile or gain a PHD in Astro-physics. For me the same would apply with singing, the raw material isn't that great but a good teacher might be able to make something of it. How much improvement or change is actually possible must surely vary between individuals and the outcome might not always fit particularly comfortably with one or other traditional pitch grouping - normal distribution (variation) does include small percentages of non-typical values.

Sorry if my points pull away from the original post. I've found this a most interesting thread and note how it touches on both ability to perform capably and performance anxiety.My young ukulele student still isn't singing. I'm a patient person, so I'm not too worried about it. As far as the singing and running comparison, I'm not a fast runner. I've never won a race. But I go out several times a month, pay my fifteen or twenty dollars, and go out there with hundreds of others who have never won a race, and run 3.1 miles for a t shirt. Each and every one of us are running against ourselves, working toward our personal best. No one is self conscious about the spectators along the route thinking that we are slow. Too bad people can't go after their music with that same perspective. I ask her every week where she wants to go with her ukulele, and she doesn't know. I tell her that I am on my journey, and my journey takes us to a street corner singing and playing for tips, or in a coffee shop singing and playing for nothing. Anyway, she seems to be happy strumming away while I sing. I've actually started working on my song list for gigs while she strums along. Her mother stays and listens. I told her mother that I'm more than happy to sing songs while her daughter strums along with me. I told her that I was going to be doing that anyway, so I might as well get paid to practice. The mother says that her daughter looks forward to it every week, so I guess we are good. Everyone seems happy with the arrangement, so why change? Maybe someday she will sing.


I love to play, and I love to sing, and I've been doing both since I was a kid (I'm 60 now), but nature sadly didn't endow me with either great playing talent OR a good voice. I do both because I ENOY doing them; and I derive a great deal of pleasure from both activites - even if my 'audiences' don't!

It'll be difficult for her at only 12 years of age I know, but I've always found the secret is to just do it BECAUSE you enjoy doing it, and not really worry about what others think. All of the top stars in any musical genre have fans that love them, and others who don't like them at all.

Most people improve a little the more they do; and if anyone so interested can obtain a good vocal tutor (I've sadly never had one) I'm sure it'd help immensely. In the short couple of days I've been a member of UU I've watched videos of members of very wide and varying talents; many of whom I can only one day hope to emulate. But the one thing they all have in common is that they're enjoying themselves - and that, surely, is what our music should all be about?

We're all different in the way we feel inside about what we want to do in music, but I'm sure she'll sing one day if, as and when she feels the time is right for her...and I feel sure that with YOUR continued guidance Rllink, that day WILL come...Yep, we're having a good time with it. I think that more than anything she likes to plug into the amp. I let her use my uke and I play her's. It is all going fine.

CaptRedbeard
05-27-2018, 07:24 PM
When you are singing a song and she is playing along, you might suggest that she hum along. This is a great was for her to try and find her voice. I have used this method when I gave guitar lessons.

Rllink
05-28-2018, 10:24 AM
Thanks CaptRedbeard. That is a good idea. My one and only student is no longer taking lessons from me. Last winter we parted when I went down to PR. When I came back to Iowa I contacted her mother and said that I was available and never got anything back. I'm assuming she quit, or she figured out how to pursue it without me. Either way is fine with me, as I am not a ukulele teacher.

Ukecaster
05-28-2018, 12:39 PM
Maybe show her this video of Heidi Swedberg, and as Heidi says, you just gotta be shameless!


https://youtu.be/RSn92d-WwTs