Break the "I can't sing - I am tone-deaf" cycle

So you think you are tone-deaf? So you can't sing, since you would not hit the notes. And since you can't sing, you probably think you never can hum a note and figure out what pitch it has.

I can't sing - I am tone-deaf cycle

Well, I assume you like music. This means you can appreciate the difference of the flow of individual tones. But, you do not know how to differentiate a note from a note which is an octave higher? You probably don't have a reference system, so you are unable to assign what you hear to something meaningful? How in the world should you know the naming convention used in music, if you never did use it and tried, or trained your listening skills, to recognize and categorize sounds according to pitch?

Singing provides the solution. Nearly every musician is able to sing or hum a short melody, because they need the musical memory for their daily work. Most people can only sing within a range of 2 ½ octaves. In this way singing two notes, which are an octave apart, is going already to your limits! This does not mean that it stresses you, but the difference is easy recognizable by your vocal cords. It is like holding an arm low or high.

But now you will tell me, that you don't know what pitch you are singing.

Here we will break the cycle:

Follow the visual feedback, hold and get comfortable with the new note

Sing just any note you feel comfortable with and get visual feedback on what note you have sung. The following section describes, how you can break the "I can't sing - I am tone-deaf" cycle with the program "Listening Singing Teacher". Here is a picture of the kind of feedback you get from listening singing teacher.

visual pitch curve feedback

Of course this feedback is in relation to a specific note. However, to break the cycle, you should not try to match a particular note. You should be free to sing any note you feel comfortable. Since Listening Singing Teacher always gives feedback to a particular note, you have to set some options first: After downloading the trial version of listening-singing-teacher, choose the lesson “sing 2 notes”, select “show options” and in the options dialog click “blind exercise” and set the voice assistance to "none". Click "Start" and begin singing after the countdown. You will be shown an empty screen with the pitch curve you sing. Ignore the color of the pitch curve, you are not interested in matching a particular pitch. Repeat this exercise until you get a more or less horizontal line. That is, you are able to hold a pitch.

This is the breaking point! You learned to control your voice muscles - keeping a steady pitch.

Now start the exercise again, but this time try to make the line go up or down. Do not stress your voice it is not necessary. What you do with this exercise is learn how to control your voice to produce a desired pitch. And if you practice a little bit, you will see that it gets easier and easier to control your voice. And most important you will learn how it feels when you want to go up or down. You will feel that you have to tighten your vocal cords to go up and to loosen them to go down. After a while you do not have to physically sing the notes, you can just imagine that you want to produce a high or a low note and you will automatically feel how to position your vocal cords to get the desired result. The more you practice the more precise you will be able to produce the desired sound. And since you can feel it, you now can listen to a note and try to imagine singing the note in your head. From the feeling you can tell if it is a high note or a low note.

This is the end of your "I can't sing - I am tone-deaf" cycle! You definitely broke the cycle.

Maybe at the beginning you can only differentiate notes, which are at the ends of your voice range. But that is the beginning. Practice will give you finer and finer control over your voice and improve at the same time your ear. Take your time, learn when you want, listening-singing-teacher is always ready and will give you the necessary feedback.

Start today and break the “I can’t sing – I am tone-deaf” cycle.


Still shy to start singing?

Fear of embarrassment? Throwing a kind of protective cloak over your self-consciousness? Singing is a natural form of expression. Not being able to express yourself correctly or even getting misunderstood lets you feel uncomfortable. No wonder you avoid singing. Uncertainty is an enemy. Ever heard a professional radio speaker making a slip? That is only speaking. Also professional singers make errors from time to time, or are not ready to start singing out of nowhere. They warm up behind the stage. You knew this, so this doesn't really help you. But this tells us that even professionals are allowed to make errors, but they learn techniques and prepare themselves to avoid errors. And that is your starting point: Learn! Learning has a lot to do with following a teacher (see: What is a teacher's task?).

The voice is very complex and personal. But people are forgiving, because they know they also had to learn and that nobody is prone to impeccability. By starting to learn to sing with Listening Singing Teacher you can explore the relationship between your desired pitch and the actual pitch. The pitch feedback curve shows you visually where you are. This learns you the mechanisms to control your voice. So you still will make errors from time to time, but with practice you will improve. So your self-consciousness will. You will be able to express yourself better and free from uncertainty. And if you are willing to learn, any choir or teacher will help you to get better. In this way, start with Listening Singing Teacher and proof yourself that you can make progress. And you do not have to be embarrassed if the program does not agree with you: Just blame the computer of having mis-interpreted your voice. This might even be true if the microphone is not picking up enough volume. But as you progress, you will see that you can better hold a note, and gain confidence and accept that the computer can guide you. Since you cannot really hear yourself, you depend on others to give you feedback, how it sounds "outside" you. An advantage of a computer is that the computer has no moods, he always analyzes your voice the same way. The disadvantage is, the computer can not cheat and cheer you up by giving you false feedback.

The voice has many different areas which you can improve: limited range, sing in tune, sing in rhythm, breath control, articulation, express emotions, learn to sing all vowels with the same loudness throughout your range, and many more. While many of these skills (e. g. articulation, express emotions, breath control, etc.) cannot be taught by computers, for the most important three - pitch, rhythm and loudness - the computer can give you feedback. Start with these feedbacks and gain confidence that you can develop coordination between your ear and throat. At the same time you will notice that your ear gets better and can listen and recognize tone differences easier. To have a good ear is a main skill for all musicians - and the voice is the best instrument to improve your ear. When you feel comfortable enough hitting the notes, join a choir or if you are serious take private lessons. There you will learn breath control, articulation, overcome stage fear, etc. Things, where only direct human feedback can bring you forward. Use the advantage to learn the important skills like pitch and rhythm control in your private home environment with your personal singing teacher: the program Listening Singing Teacher. See for yourself and download the free trial: If you make progress during the trial buy the full program.


Listening Singing Teacher, Listening Music Teacher, Listening Ear Trainer, The Red Pitch Dot, The Colored Pitch Line, The Counting Hints Line, The Half-Step Brackets, The Precision Listening Method, The Singing Funnel Method, The Octave Anchor Pitches Method,The Interval Overtone Method, The Pitch Keeper Method, Absolute Pitch Point, Same Pitch Please, Pitch Ability Method, Pitch Grid Test and PitchBlitz are trademarks of AlgorithmsAndDataStructures, F. Rudin. Macintosh and OS X are trademarks of Apple Computer Inc., IBM PC is trademark of International Business Machines Inc., Windows XP/Vista/7 is trademark of Microsoft Inc. All other company and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners